Mother- father, mummy-papa, maa- baba, aai-baba, mom-dad, everywhere these two words go together, forming a family. Although mother is always written before father, it does not reduce the importance of father’s role in the child’s life. Nature has a very efficient system of division of labor, so that both the parents have an equally important role in the upbringing of children. The responsibilities of the father have in fact increased due to the increased responsibilities of the educated, working women, and nuclear family system.
Fathers symbolize masculine strength needed for the family’s material security, whereas mothers provide emotional strength and security. However independent women may become, a child needs father’s presence too as a way of nature. Infants and toddlers are more dependant on their mother, but as they grow they become more and more attached to their father. Due to the Oedipus factor, fathers are very fond of daughters and mothers are fond of sons.
But as the boys grow, they naturally start relating and comparing themselves to their father. Father is an important role model for boys, as boys unconsciously begin copying their father from the age of about four years. They become restless if papa does not arrive home on time. They may love listening stories from their mother, but want their father to play outdoor games with them. (My son is never happy with my bowling!!!) They enjoy watching sports on televisions and climbing the monkey bar together. Whenever little boys see their father doing something technical like opening the mobile phone or oiling the hinges of doors, they naturally get attracted and start learning simple household jobs. If they see their father cooking, they will know cooking is not necessarily a woman’s duty. Same for the daughters. They too observe and absorb certain traits of their father. Many girls take up their father’s profession and follow the ideologies of their father to attain success in whatever they do.
Children love running, gossiping, playing mischief and driving around with father. The more they see their father, the more they bond with them. This love and bonding not only ensures a happy family, but the happiness also indirectly reflects in the encouraging results in the professional life, as children are great God-gifted stress busters.
Society and nature, both survives by balancing the opposites. As the child grows, mother and father is his/her first picture of gender difference. They imbibe values from both the parents. The personality and outlook of the child when he grows up into an adult depends on the type of relationship between his parents. If both the parents treat each other equally and respectfully, the children will grow up into adults who respect their opposite sex. The greater the presence and involvement of the father, the greater will be the bonding as a family. A child relates more to the sense of family. For a child father and mother mean family and not two separate entities. See the expression on a child’s face, whose father is mostly away, when he/she is sitting amidst a discussion of what other children do with their father! Obviously children love to have their father around and feel the emptiness when they are not there. The more the father invests his time for the family, the more the chances of the children growing up into sensible, responsible people with a stable family.