To All The Fathers

Across many countries of the world today fathers and fatherhood is celebrated, on this day it is true for most Catholic countries, as it is St.Joseph’s Day, although from research seems a large amount of cultures across the world (though on different days) have festivities aimed at celebrating fatherhood. Then what is fatherhood anyways? We want to answer that by talking about Paternal Instinct.

Certain modern narratives deny the existence of paternal instincts, or develop theories whereas maternal instinct is more widespread across human women than the paternal one across male humans. Is that true? Let’s find out. 

Children do develop attachments to their fathers and develop very strong bonds across different observed and anthropologically studied cultures, although it is not the same type of bond as that developed towards the mother, because of the different roles the child observers fathers play in the household, thus playing a just as vital role into a child’s development. Here we want to stress that the bond is mutual and the sense of attachment to the offspring starts already while the baby is still in the womb. In biological terms it has been noticed that in the months, sometimes early years of a child a father’s testosterone levels drop, high testosterone is related to aggressive behaviours, so a lower level makes space for the development of more bonding behaviours. 

Paternal instinct towards a child whether biological offspring or not brings about natural and instinctive behaviours such as consoling, nurturing, assisting in daily chores and provide one’s own strength to aide and support the child, participating in those baby routines. 

So where is the difference between maternal and paternal? Pediatricians and psychologists observed that fathers tend to be more kinaesthetic of bodily in their interaction with children, meaning they get more physical, while maternal instinct has stronger focus on the environment and tools, and that i pretty similar across most cultures.  Secondly, fathers’ interaction with children has a focus to prepare the child for the future, while the maternal has a stronger focus on the here and now. Some evolutionary scholars believe this to be unconscious and not a decision but rather a natural behaviour. An example is a mother playing a game with her child lets the child win, the father playing the same game does not let the child win in order to foster learning. Therefore paternal instinct is very focused on teaching and training and earning accomplishments. The third aspect of paternal instinct is promoting impulse control, therefore becoming role models for their children and help them develop healthy behaviours, attitudes and ethical values, and instinctively children often look at fathers for external behavioural ethics. 

Having said that, Happy Fathers’ Day to all of our fathers, and to all of you who are fathers, celebrate the values that was brought into our lives, and the value you brought into your offspring.

Published by Lorenzo Nava

Consultant, Trainer and Coach, on participatory learning processes, experiential learning dynamics, non formal education and NLP certified practitioner

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