When father's art


In June 2013, I experienced a very wonderful thing – the first Father's Day after my father. Being a father can be a brilliant challenge: I have to get up at 4 in the morning to feed my child, take him to see a doctor, sleep with him for a long nap, and watch his mouth soaked in my favorite casual shirt. I think I will receive the first gift of Father's Day soon, nothing more than a soapy rope or a cheesy tie. So far, the role of the father has made me very satisfied, maybe everything is hormonal. Usually, people do not associate fathers with hormones, but more and more studies have shown that the identity of the father will trigger the same physiological response as the mother. For example, many people know that the level of oxytocin in the new mother, something that is commonly known as the “hormone of love”, will rise; medical researchers have discovered through research that this hormone level in the new father’s body. It will also rise.

I have read a report that the level of oxytocin is closely related to the special communication between parents and children. When mothers look after their children with full maternal love, the level of oxytocin in the body will rise. These maternal loves are expressed in loving eyes, lovely teasing, and gentle caress. For dads, when they play with their children, encourage their children to explore the world, or try to divert their attention, their levels of oxytocin will also increase. In response to this phenomenon, Dr. John Cristal, editor-in-chief of Biological Psychiatry, commented: “Although the levels of oxytocin in the couple are interrelated, it is interesting to note that the level of hormones in the parents is the same. The elevation is linked to different categories of parental behavior. This distinction may reflect the different expectations of culture for gender roles, but it also reflects the different loop effects of oxytocin in male and female brains."

On the day of Father's Day, a piece of news from NBC (National Broadcasting Corporation) also reported this new discovery very well:

Researchers have found that emotionally motivated fathers can also experience other types of hormonal effects: stimulating invasive levels of testosterone; elevated levels of lactating stimulating hormone, a hormone triggered by desire, usually in lactating women And in men who experience orgasm; and elevated levels of vasopressin, a hormone associated with social and maternal stress. It seems that when they are parents, fathers produce as many impulses as mothers, but the results are still determined by the degree of closeness and communication. For example, the above effects only occur when the child sleeps with the parents, the father recognizes and responds to the child's crying, and the father plays with the child. If the father and the child are not close enough, the above effects are not so strong. An anthropologist, Li Butler, who studies leprosy in the University of Notre Dame, said: "When fathers and children interact, a basic social/neurobiological framework will come into play."

Fathers may not realize that their input and care are very important. An article in Scientific American explores the role of fathers in helping children develop language skills:

In addition to emotionally helping children prepare for the challenges they are about to face, fathers can also encourage children to develop cognitive skills—especially their language skills. In a 2006 study, Lynn Feigens, a psychologist at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and her colleagues studied a three-person family consisting of two-year-old children and parents. In which the child is free to play with his parents. They found that compared with their mothers, fathers and children get along less, use fewer words, and rarely open conversations. But the researchers found that the use of language by fathers determines the language development ability of their children at the age of three. The more types of roots that fathers and 2-year-olds use, the higher the scores they will score in the standard language expression test for the following year. The mother's vocabulary does not seem to have any effect on the child's score.

Fathers also played a key role in forcing children out of the “safe zone”:

Fathers often prefer to train their children to be physically stronger and more courageous, which makes researchers realize that it is this approach that gives children a new experience and helps them prepare for future challenges in their lives. A series of studies conducted since 1965 summarize this point. In a study of the behavior of some parents who took their 1-year-old children to take a swimming lesson, the investigators found that the father usually hugged the children and made them face the water, while the mother stood in front of the children and communicated face-to-face with them.

In the same article, the author made a great summary of the importance of the father:

Children who have a calm, willing father will perform better in almost all cognitive, social, and emotional aspects that researchers can think of. For example, having a father who is willing to invest in emotions will make the child sociable, confident, and self-controlling. He will not be out of school and will not behave in adulthood.

I also read another interesting article about the importance of fathers and the differences in parenting styles between parents. The survey looked at families with overweight children and trying to determine which of their parents might help the child lose more weight. The biggest lesson we get from it is that only those discussions about healthy eating are effective and can only be counterproductive for weight loss and dieting. Another conclusion is interesting: no matter what the father and the child say, the child's weight does not change at all.

The conversations of fathers about dieting and healthy eating are more valued by researchers. Although most parents or caregivers who have such conversations with women are women, the researchers have documented how about half of the fathers discussed the topic with their children. If fathers and teenagers talk about weight loss or dieting, they are usually more likely to suggest some unhealthy ways to lose weight. The results show that parents should avoid talking to their children about weight or weight loss but should focus on a healthy diet. As for the fathers, regardless of whether their children are overweight, they should choose to shut up. It is best to tell fathers that they should avoid any weight-related conversations with their children.

This study made me feel a little uneasy. I think if my child is overweight, I will not let it go, and I will not give him health advice. But at least we have another study that proves to us the unique influence of the father in raising children. In general, reading more well-founded research reports is beneficial to parents, which makes me even more eager to participate in the growth of Little Alex. With such a responsibility, I am both humbled and proud.


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