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10 Reasons to Take Good Care of a Father

By Drs. Rick and Jan Hanson

It's natural to feel both absorbed in your baby and worn out, so that any extra tug on you from someone else can seem like a hassle, if not an intrusive burden. Having said that, from painful personal experience and much professional contact with literally thousands of parents, we also think it's a terrible mistake to set your husband or partner aside when baby makes three. It is as big a mistake as the one many fathers make, to downplay the impact of motherhood on their partner and to fail to pull their weight with childrearing and housework.

Frankly, if all new mothers made a serious effort to stay emotionally and affectionately connected with the father, and if all new fathers made a serious effort to understand what the mother is going through and be a strong teammate in making a family together, we believe the divorce rate among couples with children would be cut in half.

And even if there's no divorce, the impacts of events during the sensitive years when kids are little are so great that they can lead to permanent coolness, cankerous wounds, and a vulnerability to challenges down the road (e.g., illness, unemployment, or a temptation at the office).

So there are plenty of reasons - some altruistic and some enlightened self-interest - to take good care of a father. (The ones who stay engaged, to be sure, not the pitiful ones who abandon their children.) (For simplicity, we use the terms "marriage" and "relationship," and "husband/wife" and "partner" interchangeably.)

10 Reasons to Take Good Care of a Father

  • He's a person. Every human being deserves a chance to be happy and healthy.

  • He does real work. Most fathers step up their efforts to be a provider when kids come along. Plus the typical dad today is doing more housework and childcare than his own father did. Any kind of demanding work calls for respect and replenishment.

  • He contributes to others. Every day, for twenty years or more, engaged fathers help make a family for innocent and precious children. Their effort gives them moral standing and a valid claim on the respect and support of their partner and society as a whole.

  • The workplace isn't very friendly to men who put their families first. While it's certainly hard for women to juggle home and work, men who stick up for their role as fathers often get even less understanding on the job than mothers do.

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