Drug testing

The Seven Keys of Being a Father

Is there a fathering instinct?

Celebrated child development expert Erik Erikson maintains 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 recognise this desire in women as the maternal instinct. Men's strong desire to look after the next generation is best recognised through their protective instincts. Man as hunter and gatherer has always had the survival of his family and community as a motivating force.

But the generative notion of fathering extends way beyond protection of children. Generative fathering means that men help the next generation not just to survive, but to thrive and grow. It is in the wellbeing of the next generation that traditionally men have left their mark.

This generative or instinctive notion of fathering has been lost in recent years as men have spent less time around their children. Fathers may be born to the task of raising children but they need to be around children so they can nudge fathering out them.

Too often fathers see themselves as playing a role, when the essence of fathering is actually embedded in their own psyche and linked to their child's development. According to Erikson there are seven tasks that a father carries out to ensure the well-being of the next generation. It is a brilliant framework that helps men move away from playing roles and gets them to focus on the needs of their children. The seven tasks of fathering, also known as fatherwork, are:

1. Ethical work: Men commit to acting in a child's best interests. Research shows that when men make a strong commitment to look after the well-being of their baby then they will sustain long-term involvement and support for their child. Ethical work is shown when men make decisions about work and careers with their children's best interests in mind.

2. Stewardship work: This aspect of fathering involves men providing for children and also helping them develop the resources and independence to look after themselves. In many ways this shows itself when dads take on a teaching role, which tend to do when they spend time with kids. Listen to a man when he interacts with his son and inevitably he will be showing him how to do something, even if it is how to kick a football.

3. Developmental work: This aspect of fathering refers to the notion of helping children deal with either sudden change, such as a death in the family, or normal developmental changes, such as moving into adolescence. Dads who do this work well support their children though difficulties and respond with understanding to changes in children's development.

4. Recreational work: This aspect refers to men's promotion of relaxation and learning for their children through play. This aspect of fathering tends to be a strong point for many dads, who are the kings of play. It is well-recognised that men play differently with children than mothers, which is fixed in the biological matrix. Men's domain is rough play, sometimes destructive play and often involves a challenge whether intellectual (e.g chess) or physical.

5. Spiritual work: This aspect of fathering involves men helping children develop values and a set of beliefs that will act as a compass as they move through adolescence and beyond. This involves counselling, teaching and advising. Many readers may remember their own fathers delivering stern lectures, which comes from this aspect of fathering. Good intentions, but poor delivery.

6. Relationship work: This aspect of fathering involves men helping children and young people form relationships and friendships. We do this by sharing our love and thoughts, by displaying empathy and understanding for a child and also by facilitating a child's relationships with others. In recent times men have stayed out of this area but it is a part of fatherwork.

7. Mentoring: We complete the cycle by ensuring that we support our own children in their own generative work. This involves giving help, support and ideas for our own children when they move into adulthood. In recent years men have fallen down badly in this area as too many men have shallow relationships with their own fathers.

This framework for fathering has depth and breadth. It works on an instinctive level, but many influences come to bear to prevent this instinct and intuition from informing our action. Often it is useful to ask yourself ? "What does this situation with my child require of me?" If a child is having friendship issues at school then relationship work is needed. If a child is feeling stressed and needs to relax then it is time for recreational work. If a child gets worked up through play then it is important to do some stewardship work and ensure a child calms down and regains control before bed. If a child is changing schools then it time for some developmental work, to help him or her cope with change.

If you are a father (mothers can do the same thing), reflect on some of the interactions that you have with children, and determine in which area of fatherwork do they fit. You will find that there is an area for each situation. As you respond to children's needs think about the type of fatherwork you are doing. You will soon discover that you are involved in a variety of very important work. And it will change the way you think about fathering and provide a strong guide to how you should respond to children's future needs.

Michael Grose

Michael Grose is a popular parenting educator and parent coach. He is the director of Parent Coaching Australia, the author of six books for parents and a popular presenter who speaks to audiences in Australian Singapore and the USA. For free courses and resources to help you raise happy kids and resilient teenagers visit http://www.parentingideas.com.au

In The News:

The USS San Diego was the only major warship the U.S. lost during World War I. Now, nearly 100 years after it sank, and countless theories as to what caused the wreck, researchers believe they have determined the cause of it — a German submarine in conjunction with a mine.
WASHINGTON (AP) — Scientists are seeing surprising melting in Earth's polar regions at times they don't expect, like winter, and in places they don't expect, like eastern Antarctica.
When Judie Johnson of Hahei, New Zealand, recently took a dip in the waters off the coast of Coromandel, she never expected to be surrounded by a pod of playful orca whales.
There’s a new fastest animal on Earth and it’s … an ant.
The man who was behind the mission that discovered the Titanic on the North Atlantic Ocean floor in 1985 has revealed what led to the stunning find.
Research has shown that time in space can increase the risk of cancer and trigger gene mutations. But a new study has found that one crucial part of the human body remains unaffected by zero-gravity.
Say "cheese!" NASA’s InSight Mars Lander has snapped its first selfie from the surface of the Red Planet.
Life on Earth takes billions of shapes , but to see most of them you'll have to dig deep below the planet's surface.
Robert Ballard, the man who found the remains of the Titanic, said in a recent report that his discovery was part of a "top secret" deal made with the U.S. Navy in order to help elude Russia in the 1980s.
Scientists have made a fascinating discovery on asteroid Bennu thanks to NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft.

Hurting from the Outside - In: The Rise of Self-harming

Ask any teacher or adolescent counselor what the most disturbing... Read More

Managing Sibling Rivalry

It is human nature to feel competitive and envious toward... Read More

Americas Public School System --- Brutal and Spartan

The public school system in America has become a dismal... Read More

Caretaking Parents, Entitled Kids

Demanding children ? children who have entitlement issues ? seem... Read More

The Secrets To Improving Childrens Behaviour

Most parents at some stage are driven to distraction by... Read More

Nothing Like a Mothers Love

Travel is a common theme in my life -- probably... Read More

Labor of Love

The small, lilac colored hexagonal box, with Winnie the Pooh... Read More

Parenting Your Teenager: 6 Things to Stop Doing Right Away

1. STOP focusing on what you are going to make... Read More

Would You Hire This Teacher?

Imagine you were the principal of the school that your... Read More

How Effective is the Nutraceutical ATTEND with ADHD?

I really like all natural remedy for Attention Deficit Disorder... Read More

7 Ways Busy Families Can Volunteer

Volunteering together is a fantastic way to spend time as... Read More

End Babysitter Abuse

Not many things are more upsetting than discovering that your... Read More

Effective Troubled Teen Programs

Not all parents subscribe to the notion of "tough love,"... Read More

Are You Addicted to Your Children?

Is it possible to be using our children addictively?Anything that... Read More

The Homeopathic Nutraceutical Attend as an Alternative to Ritalin

You no longer have to use Ritalin or other stimulants... Read More

Illegal and Legal Drug Usage in the United States

How bad is the illegal drug problem here in the... Read More

Reading, Writing, Rithmetic -- and Recess!

Recess has begun disappearing in states all around the country.... Read More

The Mystery of Picky Eaters

If you were to ask 100 parents why they think... Read More

Grandparents --- Homeschool Your Grandchildren and Feel Younger

Grandparents, what better way to stay close to your grown... Read More

How to Make Kids More Likeable?

Nothing touches the heartstrings of a parent more than the... Read More

When Time Out Dont Work

Joey steps away from his time out chair "I won't... Read More

Parenting Your Teenager: Ask Questions

Many parents seem to be more than a little confused... Read More

Adderall and Its Side-Effects

Adderall is a stimulant medication used in the treatment of... Read More

Got To, Get To ? Change The Way Your Family Thinks

I recently heard a story that has literally changed the... Read More

Eye-Opening Questions for Working Parents to Ask

I remember watching my 18-month-old son eat a big frosted... Read More

street lighting uk street lighting led Pete's produce ..