How Old Can A Boy Be To Father A Child The Seven Keys of Being a Father

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The Seven Keys of Being a Father

Is there a paternal instinct?

Celebrated child development expert Erik Erikson argues that adults have a fierce desire to protect and nurture the next generation. This is the generative nature of parenting – to nurture and protect the next generation

We recognize this desire in women as a maternal instinct. Men’s strong desire to care for the next generation is best recognized through their protective instincts. Man as a hunter and gatherer has always had the survival of his family and community as a driving force.

But the generative notion of fatherhood goes far beyond protecting children. Generative fatherhood means that men help the next generation not only to survive, but to thrive and grow. Traditionally, men leave their mark on the well-being of the next generation.

This generative or instinctive notion of fatherhood has been lost in recent years as men spend less time around their children. Fathers may be born with the task of raising children, but they need to be around children in order to encourage their fatherhood.

Too often fathers see themselves as playing a role, when the essence of fatherhood is actually embedded in their own psyche and connected to their child’s development. According to Erikson, there are seven tasks that a father performs to ensure the well-being of the next generation. It’s a great framework that helps men step away from role-playing and forces them to focus on their children’s needs. The seven tasks of fatherhood, also known as fatherwork, are:

1. Ethical work: Men undertake to act in the best interest of the child. Research shows that when men make a strong commitment to their baby’s well-being, they will maintain long-term involvement and support for their child. Ethical work is demonstrated when men make work and career decisions with the best interests of their children in mind.

2. Management work: This aspect of fatherhood involves men caring for children and also helping them develop the resources and independence to care for themselves. In many ways this is demonstrated when dads take on a teaching role, which they usually do when spending time with children. Listen to the man when he’s communicating with his son and he’ll inevitably show him how to do something, even if it’s how to kick a ball.

3. Developmental work: This aspect of fatherhood refers to the notion of helping children cope with sudden changes, such as a death in the family, or normal developmental changes, such as the transition to adolescence. Dads who do this job well support their children in difficulties and respond to changes in children’s development with understanding.

4. Recreational work: This aspect refers to men’s promotion of relaxation and learning for their children through play. This aspect of fatherhood tends to be a strong point for many dads, who are the kings of the game. It is well known that men play with children differently than mothers, which is fixed in the biological matrix. The male domain is rough play, sometimes destructive play, and often involves a challenge, either intellectual (eg chess) or physical.

5. Spiritual Work: This aspect of fatherhood involves men helping children develop values ​​and a set of beliefs that will serve as a compass as they navigate through adolescence and beyond. This includes counselling, coaching and mentoring. Many readers may remember their fathers giving stern lectures, which come from this aspect of fatherhood. Good intentions, but poor delivery.

6. Relationship work: This aspect of fatherhood involves men helping children and youth establish relationships and friendships. We do this by sharing our love and thoughts, showing empathy and understanding towards the child and facilitating the child’s relationships with others. Lately men have been shying away from this area, but it’s part of being a father.

7. Mentoring: We complete the cycle by ensuring that our own children are supported in their own generative work. This includes providing help, support and ideas for our own children when they grow up. In recent years, men have declined greatly in this area because too many men have shallow relationships with their own fathers.

This paternity framework has depth and breadth. It operates on an instinctual level, but many influences arise to prevent this instinct and intuition from informing our actions. It is often useful to ask yourself – “What does this situation with my child require of me?” If a child has problems with friendships at school then relationship work is needed. If the child feels stressed and needs to relax, then it is time for recreational work. If the child becomes agitated through play, then it is important to do some management work and ensure that the child calms down and regains control before bedtime. If the child is changing schools, then it is time for some developmental work, which will help him cope with the change.

If you’re a father (moms can do the same thing), think about some of the interactions you have with your children and determine what area of ​​fathering they fit into. You will find that there is an area for every situation. As you respond to the children’s needs, consider the type of fathering work you do. You will soon find that you are involved in various very important jobs. And it will change the way you think about fatherhood and provide a strong guide for how you should respond to the future needs of children.

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