For many fathers who were shifted to work from home arrangements during the pandemic, this was the longest time they spent at home with their families. The situation revealed to them many experiences they never had before with their children.
Fathers’ Pandemic Discoveries with Their Children
The Guardian reports that the Office for National Statistics found in May 2020 that the first COVID-19 lockdown alone already increased childcare by men to 58 percent. The Lockdown Fathers report of the Fatherhood Institute shows that after the spring 2020 lockdown, 78 percent of fathers spent more time with their children, and 65 percent stated that this improved their relationship with their child or children. Fatherhood Institute joint chief executive Adrienne Burgess stated that fathers have become much more involved and more positive about being fathers in the pandemic.
According to Oxfam, fathers in Sweden living with their children found caregiving to be more meaningful. They stated that they were less likely to feel stressed or depressed during the pandemic lockdowns.
Two 2020 surveys by the Making Caring Common project of Harvard University showed that two-thirds of fathers said they felt closer to their children and appreciate them more since the start of the pandemic. Because they are near their children even when they are working, there are more opportunities to have many unplanned interactions.
Many fathers stated that they treasure these despite pandemic pressures. They said that they got to know their children better by having deeper and more meaningful conversations with them while sharing more about their own lives. They discovered shared interests with their children.
They talked to the children more about important things and paid closer attention to their children’s feelings. They played and did more creative activities with their children that revolved around their children’s interests. A father stated that it reinforced the importance of family.
The Wall Street Journal cites the experience of Fort Lauderdale dispute mediator Larry Schooler who often missed family dinners before the pandemic. One night in the pandemic, he stated he felt total bliss just watching his six-year-old and nine-year-old sons chasing each other around the kitchen table. He said he felt like he did not want to be anywhere else.
The Special Role of Fathers for Daughters
In the Harvard studies, a father stated that his bond with his little girl improved remarkably when he worked from home in the pandemic. It brought them closer, and he has become her partner in playing games together. Because of this, she now freely shares her thoughts with him, including her interests and what she wants from him. This is important because an article on the Institute of Family Studies (IFS) shows the pivotal role of fathers in their daughters’ lives well into their future.
Fathers who engaged with their daughters throughout childhood, fostering assertiveness, and promoting achievements, have daughters who are more likely to become college graduates. Their children can enter more demanding and higher-paying jobs traditionally held by men.
A relationship with her father that is secure, supportive, communicative leads to a girl’s self-confidence to say no to boys and peer pressure. She will be less likely to develop clinical depression and eating disorders and be more at ease with her appearance and body weight. With better emotional and mental health, she will have relationship skills and attitudes that will make her future relationships with men more stable, emotionally intimate, and fulfilling. She will also tend to have a more satisfying, more long-lasting marriage.
A father can show a daughter how much she means to him by giving her a “to my daughter” necklace. This is one of the many ways he can enhance this special relationship.
The Special Roles of Fathers for Sons
Fathers also have a special role in their sons’ lives and upbringing, according to Focus on the Family. The rough play that fathers and sons often engage in fosters independence and competition and encourages risk-taking. Fathers must also teach and model through their example the importance of respect between the sexes and appropriate boundaries in male-female relationships.
How a father lives his life gives his sons insights into diverse social experiences and various methods of dealing with the challenges of life. This includes the consequences of right and wrong, hard work, discipline, duty, justice, and fairness. A father can show compassion towards people regardless of age, race, condition, or status in life.
Fatherhood Will Never Be the Same for Many
The pandemic has opened a door that many fathers will never want to close again. Now that they have lived a complete experience of fatherhood, being a parent will never be the same for them.