All Woman

Getting your man to spend time with the kids

Donna Hussey-Whyte

Monday, January 07, 2013    

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One of the major challenges faced by some women is getting their children's father to spend time with their kids.

A study from Pennsylvania State University found that the more time children spend alone with their fathers, the higher their self-esteem, while the more time they spend with their dads in a group setting, the better their social skills.

While increased time with dad showed key benefits for self-esteem and social competence, time spent with mothers did not show the same correlations.

"In two-parent families, the mother's role as caregiver is so scripted that her involvement can easily go unnoticed and unacknowledged," researchers note.

Meanwhile, children whose fathers spend one-on-one time with them "may develop higher general self-worth because their fathers go beyond social expectations to devote undivided attention to them", the study stated.

The study also noted that time with dad often involved joking, teasing, and other playful interactions, as fathers were more involved in leisure activities and had more "peer-like interaction" with their children, which is crucial for their social development.

Numerous other studies have found benefits for kids who spend more time with their fathers, such as fewer delinquent behaviours and less likelihood to give in to peer pressure.

So what are some of the ways in which a woman can get her man to spend more time with the children? Mothers tell us how.

Sonia Johnson, mother of one

Arrange to have family time so he can interact with the child/ren. You can arrange for him to play games, such as board games, with the children. Instead of you as the woman taking the children to swimming class, for example, encourage him to take them. All the little things that you would normally do for your children, encourage him to do them, including attending parent-teacher association meetings.

Carlene Williams, mother of two

Try to work on the relationship between yourself and the father, especially if he is not living with you. The closer you are to each other, the more effort he will put out. But again, it depends on the type of person that father is. If he is a Christian, then he would be tender-hearted, so he would be more willing to be a part of the child's life. And if it's a husband-and-wife relationship, he will play a more essential role.

Latricia Winter, mother of three

You need to have good communication with each other. If you have good communication and understanding, he will strive to play a more important part in the child's life. If the child is of a certain age, get the child involved by making him call his father and ask to spend time with him, etc. Also, invite him to events that may be happening in the child's life, such as graduations and other school functions. As a mother, you can also encourage the father to take the child out. Let him know that even if he doesn't have any money, he can take the child to Hope Gardens, football match, etc, to just spend time with the child because the child would love that.

Claudette Allen, mother of two

If it's someone that you are living with, then it may not be so hard. For me, whenever my husband has a day off, even if I don't have anywhere to go, I will find somewhere to go and leave him with the children. So whether he wants to or not, he will have to spend time with them. I also make my kids do most of the asking. They will ask him to take them places, and I actually think he now enjoys doing that.

Shernette Bailey, mother of three

If he doesn't live with you, then you can take the children to spend weekends with him or every other weekend. That way, he is sure to spend time with them; he really wouldn't have a choice since you are not there to attend to them.

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