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The traditional definition of father is quite straightforward. According to the Merriam Webster Dictionary a father is a man who has begotten a child.
So no loopholes?
Studies show that the fathers have to be there to affect their kids positively. So I don't agree that a male has to be the biological parent to be called a dad and prefer a broader definition.
Father is the male parent of a child.
Yes, in my mind Ned Stark was the father of Jon Snow🙂
19 Types of fathers
Broadly speaking, there are only two types of fathers- biological and non-biological.
That said, you can see I’ve listed 19 types here (and this list is not extensive btw).
Sometimes a man just needs a better description...fingers crossed that you don't become named as a surprise dad:)
Biological Father (also known as a birth dad)
A biological father is a man who provides the sperm cell that combines with the mother’s egg for fertilization. It means that he's the genetic contributor to the creation of an infant. The child will carry the genes of the dad, and the father usually has societal and legal rights to the child.
If you're wondering why I don't merely say that if a man has sex with a female to conceive a child, then he becomes a biological dad, then the answer lies in modern science...
Less fun ways to become a biological dad:
Non-biological fathers don't share genetic material with their children. That said, they may have all the same rights and obligations as biological fathers.
Their relationship with their children is also as deep.
When Father Needs Better Description
The dad does not know he has a child with a woman that he had sexual relations with until many years later.
A man who claims (or is alleged) to be the biological parent of a child but there isn't any proof. He's not married to the mother of a child.
A man who is the biological parent of a child, but is not involved with the mother.
A teenage dad is still in his adolescent years when he has a child.
Teenage birth rates are a public health concern. The role of youthful fathers has not gained much attention though. In 2011 Stefanie Mollborn and Peter J. Lovegrove published a study where they focused on the role of youthful dads. Their research has some limitations, but they can make some conclusions.
They found out that:
Having a teenage dad isn't in itself bad.
There aren't significant differences in child-dad relationships between teen fathers and adult fathers.
Children of teenage fathers had lower cognitive and behavior scores at age two than the children of adult dads. They thought that it's explained by two factors:
1) Teenage fathers married less often
2) The households of teenage fathers usually have a low socioeconomic status
In this case, the dad passed away before the child was born. The posthumous dad could also have become the parent if the mother received IUI or IVF.
Someone who donates sperm to a medical facility that specializes in IUI or IVF. Although the donor is the biological parent, he may not be legally responsible for the child. It depends on the contract and the law in your country if a sperm donor has parental rights and obligations.
The law is complex and may change. For example, Australian state retroactively erased the anonymity of sperm and egg donors. So it's advisable to consult a law attorney before becoming a sperm donor.
He became the parent by going through the adoption process.
Foster dad cares for the child instead of the birth dad or adoptive father. He allows him or her to be a part of his family but usually does not become the legal parent.
Stepdad Or Mother's Husband
A man that marries a woman that already has children is called a stepdad. He takes on the dad’s role but does not have any legal ties to the kids. He can also be called a "social father."
In this case, the child was conceived in an adulterous relationship by the mother.
To the relief on all men, this situation is quite rare. Studies have shown that only up to 3% of children are cuckoos in the nest.
Di Dad needs to use donor insemination to create children because he is infertile.
The father of one's spouse.
Absent dad can't or will not spend time with his child.
A male figure that takes on the role of a dad. The bond between the child and the second father is near parental.
The dad stays home and performs the duties of a housewife while the mother goes to work and earns a living.
According to the Pew Research Centre, 16% of stay-at-home parents were fathers in 2012 (in the U.S). It's interesting to note that people generally support (or so they say) gender equity. That said, the support for stay-at-home-dads is declining.
It's the opinion of the writer that it's up to partners to decide who should stay home. There can be many reasons for a father to choose that unpaid job.
1) A father may have a better temperament
2) A mother may earn more, so it's economically wiser for her to go back to work
If you're a frustrated stay-at-home-father, then check out the National At-Home Dad Network.
The children do not live with their dad. They only see him during specific times that include weekends or holidays.
Importance Of Fatherhood: The impact that a good Dad has on his child
It takes more than conceiving a child and becoming obligated to care for him to be a good father.
For example, Ned gave Jon Snow a wolf Ghost...just kidding...you don't have to buy a carnivourus mammal (or even a pony) for your kid. That said, Ned protected his children and teached them to be good and just...and that's something to aim for.
Small children need parents who are there for them because early years have a significant impact on the child’s future.
Early years lay the foundation for achieving higher education levels and economic status.
Having a caring dad figure is essential for a child’s well-being and success in life.
Studies suggest that a dad’s love is crucial in early childhood psychological development.
Positive Stimulating Home Environment
When a dad, makes his children his priority he can see the difference. Children with attentive dads typically do better in school and are more emotionally stable.
Mothers on the other hand generally concentrate on caretaking. So fathers interact differently with children which is beneficial for kids.
Safe home environment
Developing brain needs the safety. A good dad is responsible for protecting his children from harm and nurturing them. When the child is in chaotic and threatening situations, his brain is in stress mode. In other words, the brain has different priorities than developing cognitive and emotional skills.
Dads also need to protect their children from physical harm.
You may not be as skilled as Ned Stark when it comes to fending off bad guys, but their things you can do.
Children may not listen to us, but they will always imitate us. The lessons children learn in their childhood are carried with them throughout adulthood. Thus, it is essential for a dad to be a positive role model in their lives.
Dad’s helps us create relationships with ourselves and others.
A stable male figure provides children with a different outlook than their mother.
Dad’s show children how to take risks and handle social experiences. They teach children the difference between right and wrong. Children get another perspective on dealing with life's challenges.
No Healthy Relationship With A Father?
An interesting study by Bruce J. Ellis et al. was published in 2003. They found that for daughters the absence of fathers is in itself a risk factor for sexual activity and adolescent pregnancy.
Without the male presence in the home, children can have difficulty forming healthy relationships. As the social-emotional development is altered, the absence of fathers probably affects the partnerships children build in adulthood.
That said, there's no conclusive evidence that father's absence affects marriage rates .
I asked a friend how she thinks the absence of fathers affects children.
It's an assumption, of course. But scientific papers have shown that the absence of fathers affects mental health.
So there may be something there:)
"Men who do not receive fatherly love as children tend to be insecure. They are easily influenced by men outside of the home and not know what their role is in a relationship. When a child grows up with a good dad figure, he learns confidence and knows how to express his feelings"
As I've noted, fathers have some important rights and obligations when it comes to children. These are generally created to enforce the positive effects that fathers have on their children.
When a dad has a new baby or adopted a child, he is usually given paternity leave by his place of employment. This is the amount of time that he is granted to stop working and take leave from his job.
How much leave is guaranteed depends very much on the country you live in. If you happen to live in Papua New Guinea, then accept my condolences. It's the only country (as of 2014) that doesn't have any form on parental leave.
The federal Family and Medical Leave Act protects American workers and guarantees 12 weeks of unpaid paternity leave.
Unfortunately, in the United States, new dads do not get paid when they take paternity leave.
The FMLA law does allow dads to take time off to care for their families. However, dads are disenchanted when it comes to taking the leave.
Dads are not encouraged to take time off for the birth of a new child and are fearful that it can affect their careers. Not all companies even offer paternity leave.
Child custody is usually necessary when parents are going through a divorce.
The courts become involved in determining who will take care of the child.
The judge chooses where the child lives and make this decision based on the best interests of the child. The court can decide to create a co-parenting relationship. It can also give one parent sole custody of the children.
Different countries have different laws and approaches to custody vary wildly from place to place.
There are several types of child custody that a dad can have.
In the U.S examples include legal, physical, sole and joint custody.
Dads are generally treated unequally when it comes to child custody time. For example, Custody X Change conducted a study where they found out that states grant fathers 21,8-50% of parenting time.
Child support payments are court ordered to provide financial help to children and should cover the costs of the essential needs. The fees can come from the mom or dad depending on the court’s decisions.
In many situations, dads end up paying child support because they do not have primary physical custody.
The amount also depends on where you live (as you can see from this map by Custody X Change).
This is not a legal text and is meant for a general reader. If you need legal advice, it's best to consult your attorney.
Father’s Day History
Celebration of fatherhood In The Middle Ages
In the Middle Ages, fatherhood was celebrated on March 19th. This day is known as the feast day of Saint Joseph in Christian Europe.
During colonialism, the Spanish and Portuguese transferred the tradition to the Americas where it didn't really catch on.
Mother's Day Came First
Although motherhood has been celebrated for thousands of years by different cultures, the modern version began in 1910 in the U.S
Anna Marie Jarvis started to promote the day by first holding two sermons in 1907 and 1908 to honor her mother and the holiday became quickly popular.
In 1910 West Virginia became the first state to adopt the holiday. In 1914 president Woodrow Wilson approved a resolution that made the second Sunday of May a holiday in honor of mothers.
It's worth noting that Anna Marie Jarvis spend the rest of her life trying to fight against the commercialization of the Mother's Day.
How Father's Day Started?
In the U.S, the Father's Day began earnestly in Washington state on June 19, 1910.
Sonora Smart Dodd thought of the idea in 1909 after hearing a sermon about Mother's Day.
Dodd’s dad was a widower and raised six children on his own on a small farm. So, she wanted to honor him by dedicating a day to him for all his efforts.
We can say that we have Father's Day thanks to Dodd and retailers:
- The holiday faded almost into obscurity when Dodd started to learn in Chicago and had less time. It only started to gain momentum again when she moved back to hometown in the 1930s
- Everybody feared that the holiday is a cynical attempt to replicate the success of Mother's Day. As a result the Congress resisted the holiday and newspapers ridiculed it. As there was an undeniable financial allure to it though, retailers had a strong incentive to keep promoting the holiday
In 1966 president Lyndon B. Johnson designated the third Sunday of June as Father's Day in the U.S. In 1972 Richard Nixon made it a permanent national holiday.
How Father's Day Is Celebrated?
Celebrating Dads In The United States
The holiday is celebrated on the third Sunday of every June in the United States. It is the one day of the year that dads are given special attention and honored for their contribution to their family.
People send cards and gifts to their dads.
Some arrange huge gatherings to celebrate.
Children show appreciation to dads by making them handmade cards.
Fathers may receive chocolates and flowers from mom.
The day is not considered a federal holiday though. It means that businesses, organizations, and stores are open.
Even though dads may not get the day off from work, they will most likely receive attention from friends or family at some point during the day.
Father's Day In Other Places
Besides the United States, dads are celebrated across the globe. Over 70 countries continue the tradition of honoring their dads on the third Sunday of June.
Each country has their practices, customs and celebrates the special day in their own way.
In many countries, parties are organized by family and friends to express gratitude for the dad’s role in the community.
Here are some examples:
Importance Of Fatherhood And How To Be a Good Dad?
To be a good father, you have to get involved, and that’s it. It doesn’t really matter if you are a biological or non-biological dad; what matters is that you are there for your kid.
Having a great dad will help your child develop better social skills, achieve higher educational and socioeconomic status. It will also help to prevent some unwanted habits and behavior.
And being an awesome dad (as you surely are) will rightly entitle you to celebrate Father’s Day with your family! Enjoy!