She adds that there is little agreement about how an “ideal father” should behave. “It doesn’t seem to matter (in terms of the mental health of children) whether fathers work out of the home or stay home with the kids. It doesn’t seem to matter what job a dad has or how much money a dad makes, as long as he is doing his best. It doesn’t seem to matter what his interests and skills are, as long as he shares them with his children. It doesn’t seem to matter whether a father is very physically affectionate or loves more quietly as long as the kids know that he most certainly cares about them. What matters is for fathers to be committed to their children and involved with them over time. When fathers take that responsibility seriously, their children are more likely to do well and the fathers have few regrets.”

Kids want to know their dads. Let’s encourage and support more men in becoming nurturing and involved fathers.

Happy Father’s Day!

Nikki Bush is a parenting expert in South Africa. Read more parenting advice here.

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