From teaching your child everything about the world to tending to your child’s smallest needs, a father’s role in his child’s life evolves as the child grows. What stays constant, however, is the respect and adoration a child has for Dad, and the devotion and dedication as a Dad fulfils his fatherly duties. Here’s a look at the four main stages of fatherhood.
1. A Guardian
When your children are still crawling around in their diapers without a care in the world, your role as a father is to act as their protector. Whether you’re protecting them from illness, or the older kids at the playground, you are the shield that stands between them and the troubles that may come their way.
At this age, children are unable to make wise decisions on their own either, so it is up to you to prescribe what TV shows they should watch or who they should play with. As they would consistently look up to you for answers, being a constant presence in your child’s life from these early years can go on to build a strong and lasting bond between the two of you.
2. An Instructor
As children grow into their teenage years and become more independent, they seek to face and fight their battles alone. At this stage, beyond protecting or sheltering them, fathers play an important role in helping them distinguish right from wrong.
Preparing children for the responsibilities of adulthood is a task that can begin from their teenage years. From initially giving children direction, you would now be encouraging them to discover their own path. For instance, if your child is naturally inclined towards certain activities or interests, encourage and build on them. Doing so will allow your child to develop a healthy personality while maintaining a good relationship with Dad.
3. A Mentor
By the time your little one grows into a young adult, they would be able to make most of their decisions on their own. But they would still turn to you for guidance when they find themselves in unfamiliar and difficult situations.
This stage may also be emotionally confusing and frightening for you as you watch your child prepare for adult life. But seeing them grow into confident and independent young adults would be a joyful and proud moment for you too. Your main responsibility during this period, hence, would be to counsel them on matters of work, study or relationships when required. Speaking to them as adults and not as children can encourage them to see you as a friend and confidant.
4. A Consultant
Your children are all grown up now, and probably have children of their own too. But your role as a parent never ends; it evolves into that of a consultant. Having gained much wisdom over the years, your children may turn to you for your thoughtful opinion.
As they transit into parenthood, they will seek your advice in overcoming the challenges in parenting. Moreover, being a part of your grandchildren’s lives sets you off into a new phase and journey altogether. As a grandfather, you would have few rules to establish or responsibilities to fulfil, but plenty of affection to shower upon and receive from the little ones.
A role model, an inspiration and a constant source of love and support — the place that a father holds in a child’s heart is truly irreplaceable. No matter how old, wise, or tall a child grows up to be, Dad will always be a person to look up to.