Being a Father
In the past, fathers were expected to play a limited role in their childrens’ lives. Once a child was conceived, the father’s role was often deﬁned primarily in terms of supporting the mother, both ﬁnancially and emotionally. Often he was the major disciplinarian. Childcare was considered women’s work. The father’s responsibility was to be a role model for his sons, to impart sexual knowledge to them at the appropriate time, and to be a good provider. He often represented the disciplined, serious side of life.
Today, a new awareness of the importance of fathers is having a beneﬁcial effect on the lives of children. Fathers are crucial to the emotional and intellec- tual growth of their children. Fathers contribute to the welfare of their families in many different ways—providing ﬁnancial support or assistance; providing emo- tional support for their partner; performing household and childcare tasks; nur- turing a caring, committed relationship with their partner; and having frequent and positive personal contact with their children.