lifenow

Being a dad can be difficult but so rewarding

Story by Stacie Gaetz

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Photos by iStock

As Father’s Day (June 21) approaches and we get ready to thank our amazing dads for all they do, it’s time we were honest – being a dad can be difficult.

As a dad, you are not a babysitter, you are not “mom’s helper” and you are not just the biggest toy in the room.

Your impact on your children’s lives and involvement in their upbringing is incredibly important.

According to familiesmatter.ca, research has confirmed that dedicated father involvement is critical to the healthy development of children.

With increased father involvement, outcomes for children include:

  • Increased self esteem
  • Increased emotional well-being and trusting relationships with others
  • Increased success in school
  • Fewer behavioural problems

However, it is not always easy for dads. Finding other parents to connect with can be especially challenging for some dads as there are many well-advertised ‘mom’ groups designed to bring women together to chat about their kids either in-person or virtually, but not as many for fathers.

“Being a stay at home dad is absolutely isolating,” said Michael Radziwon, a father of three girls aged 11 and two six-year-old twins.

“When there is a group of moms, I’m often ignored. I feel like my opinion is not needed or wanted.”

He added he has received the same treatment when bringing his children to appointments.

“They seem to look right through me and talk to my wife, like I wouldn’t know the answers,” he said.

“I’m the one who’s there every day. A parent is a parent, it doesn’t matter if they are male or female.”

He said connecting with other parents is made even harder by the fact that it can be awkward for a man to ask a mother for her phone number or email address to connect for a play date.

“There shouldn’t be that stigma, we need to grow more as a society,” he added.

Dr. Soraya Lakhani, registered psychologist and director of Yellow Kite Child Psychology, said it can be harder for dads since many parent-child activities are catered toward and attended by mothers.

“We tend to pursue relationships with people we perceive to be similar to us,” she said.

“Two moms might feel like there’s a more natural connection than a mom and dad. I’d still encourage dads to try out the strategies above. Hopefully there are more opportunities for dads to connect especially as kids approach school age.”

If you are a father looking for support services in Airdrie or the surrounding area, contact Airdrie Community Links by calling 403-945-3900 or clicking here.