Although we should celebrate our parents and our spouses everyday, this weekend is an excuse to give the men in our life more appreciation than normal: Father’s Day!
The History Behind Father's Day
Sonora Dodd founded Father’s Day in Spokane, Washington in 1910. Dodd was the daughter of a civil war veteran, who had raised Sonora and her five siblings by himself. After hearing the Mother’s Day sermon at church, Sonora told her pastor that fathers should have a similar day to celebrate their own role in their children’s lives.
At first, it wasn’t as successful as Dodd hoped it to be, as it faded into obscurity even in Spokane soon after it was founded. In 1916, President Woodrow Wilson went to Spokane to give a speech for Father’s Day, but was met with Congressional resistance. The holiday wasn’t taken seriously by Americans because they believed that it was an attempt by industries to recreate the successful commercialization of Mother’s Day. It quickly became a joke.
In 1924, President Calvin Coolidge pushed for the day to be observed by the nation, but he was not able to issue a national proclamation. Finally, in 1966, President Lyndon B. Johnson issued that proclamation, declaring that the third Sunday of June would be Father’s Day. It was made a permanent holiday by President Richard Nixon in 1972.
The Importance of the Relationship Between Father and Child
Paternal bonds play important part in a childhood, along with beneficial marital bonds.
When fathers play a significant role in a young child’s life, they become emotionally involved with their children. Fathers become a figure in a child’s life who they can get support from, and in turn, fathers gain more confidence as a parent. Fathers feed, hold, love, and provide for the child in different ways than a mother can.
By creating a connection with an infant right away, attachment between a baby and its father will come naturally. However, it’s harder to create a bond between father and child than it is to create a maternal bond. This is largely because mothers take on most of the feeding responsibility, which gives the dad time together to look at and cuddle with one another. (Luckily, fathers have an important role to play in breastfeeding as well!)
There are a few ways that fathers can compensate for this and build a strong bond with their child:
Scientists suggest fathers hold their baby as much as possible and ensure skin-to-skin contact.
Reading a book out loud can help the baby recognize the rhythm of a voice, matching a father’s voice to the presence of an important person in the child’s life.
Feeding the infant can also develop the connection between father and child, as it allows the baby to develop a dependence on someone other than the mother for their food.
Babies depend on consistency and predictability in routines, and allowing fathers to be part of that routine allows for more time to create that important bond.
The Importance of the Relationship Between Father and Mother
Marital bonds play another important roll in the dynamic of the family, the partnership, and the connection between parents and their child.
Parenting is a team effort, something that is never easy. Fathers that split the care-taking with their partners see benefits on all sides of the family relationship. Both parents pitching in means the other can catch that break they need to get a few hours of extra sleep or relaxation. Being able to depend on the father of their child is an opportunity to deepen trust in the relationship, forming stronger connections that allow for another level of intimacy.
Having a child affects relationships in more ways than one, and modelling a solid partnership for your baby or child will teach them how to interact healthily with others. Children have their first interactions with their parents, forming their very first relationships, but they also observe their mother and father’s interaction with one another. Fathers have a unique opportunity to set an example of healthy relationships for their children.
Thank You, Dad
This is a thank you to all dads: the dads that cook dinner, that play soccer in backyards, that drive their kids to school, that read bedtime stories, that plan date nights for Moms, that work a 9-5, that stay at home, that laugh hard, and everything in between. Even more importantly, this is a big thank you! to all the single dads, the ones that are two-in-one caregivers.
Being a dad is kind of a big deal.
Take this day to appreciate all dads out there, even if they aren’t technically your own.