Butcher, Baker, Candlestick Maker ... Fathers
Many workers, men and women alike, are prisoners to their work schedules.
If they are on a professional ladder, the choice may be seen as one of
climbing that ladder or getting off. Other workers must face the constraints
of a changing workshift, mandatory overtime requirements, and a seniority
With increasing numbers of mothers now in the workforce, more home responsibilities
need to be absorbed by fathers. Feedback at the worksite often serves
to support men's traditional roles and to discourage expanding roles to
include parenting, family, and household responsibilities.
Before the Industrial Revolution, many fathers worked at home on the
farm, and were with their children every day. Families didn't experience
the "absence" of father, which occurred when men began to work
away from home.
Today's families need fathers who are actively involved parents and
partners. They need fathers who will take deliberate and ongoing steps
to warm close relationships with their children.
Fathers Learn by Effective Listening
Taking time to listen and to encourage self-expression helps maintain
good communication between fathers and their children. Listening gives
fathers the chance to understand better how children's thinking abilities
and ideas are changing and progressing.
The following tips will help you to listen more effectively to your
Source: "Working Families" Summer 1991 Newsletter
- Be interested and attentive. Children can tell if they have your attention
by the way you do or do not reply. Showing interest in children and
their activities encourages children to express their feelings.
- Encourage talking about experiences. Children are more likely to share
their ideas and feelings when others think them important.
- Listen patiently. Hurrying children or calling attention to their
use of a wrong word while they are talking upsets and confuses them.
- Hear children out. Avoid cutting children off before they have finished
speaking. By letting children develop their ideas fully, parents also
gain valuable insight into children's understanding and abilities to
- Reflect children's feelings. One of the most important skills of a
good listener is the ability to put oneself in another's shoes, and
to imagine what they are experiencing apart from your own thought and
feelings. Children often feel more understood when parents accept and
recognize children's feelings as real.