There’s no doubt that positive father figures (and mother figures too) contribute to healthy child development. The influence of dads in raising children in all aspects of parenting is now viewed as more important than ever as men view fatherhood to be a fine balance of work and family life.
Even in pop culture, father figures are portrayed to extend the paternal bond when they don’t share a biological connection with children. Albus Dumbledore to Harry Potter, Alfred to Bruce Wayne, and Mycroft to Sherlock Holmes all show emotional connection as competent nurturers.
In issues that concern absentee fathers, most studies point out children’s psychological impact from the lack of involvement of dads in their lives.
Research studies conclude that the lack of fathers who pay attention to their kids may put them at risk of being involved in crimes and addiction. Although this isn’t true in all cases since mothers, grandparents, uncles and aunts are also capable of raising children and ensuring their wellbeing, the influence of fathers cannot be denied when they set themselves as good role models to their children.
But what about kids who are raised by gay dads? Does it redefine the father figure? Is fatherhood all different?
If you’re new to my blog, you probably don’t know yet that I’m a father to a wonderful little angel, Maya. My husband and I have pledged to be the supportive, hard-working and family-first parents that we can try to be for her.
In one of my earlier posts, I’ve written about why gender is irrelevant when it comes to raising children and supporting their needs. It’s not a traditional structure but it’s certainly not a relationship that lacks love and compassion.
In this parental role that we’ve come to enjoy (although it’s challenging), we make it our best to fill our home with nothing but love. Two dads giving Maya the attention that she needs. Two involved dads who are continuing to nurture our daughter and committed to influencing her in the most positive way.
We’re far from being the most ideal gay parents in Canada. We’re still working on becoming better dads. And this happens every day.
So you see, our paternal functions fit the parenting role that we expect from ourselves.
We vow not to create a father-absent, disengaged-dad home because the world has had enough of children affected by inconsiderate parents.
I’m not discounting the necessity of having two sexes as role models in the family. I respect traditional parents nurturing their children through positive role modeling and allowing kids to discover who they are.
But it’s time we stop judging against gay dads’ potential to be father figures just because there’s no maternal figure to complement our kind of parenthood. Like any responsible parents, we also value eating our meals together and spending free time singing Maya’s favorite nursery rhymes. The only difference is we don’t conform to the limited expectations that society has imposed upon us.
Kids can be their best whether they grow up in a dad-mom, two-dad, or two-mom families. Because you know what? Parenting is never dependent on gender.
Whether you are a dad, a mom, a supportive relative or a step-parent, such labels won’t deny you of your capability to make a meaningful difference in the life of a child.
Gay dads are able to be successful father figures in an atypical family structure, just like any traditional parent. Despite society's limited expectations on gay dads, they are committed to giving their children the attention and support they need. We strive to be present both physically and emotionally, teach their children respect, and be positive role models.
Ultimately, parenting is never dependent on gender - any support system can help a child grow and succeed. With love, care, and understanding from all parties involved, children can reach their fullest potential.
No matter what kind of family structure you have or where you come from, it’s important to remember that being a good parent is not about gender. All that matters is love, respect, and the commitment to be the best parent you can be. It’s time that society stops judging gay dads for their potential to be father figures just because they don’t conform to traditional expectations.
By embracing love and understanding, we can create a better future for our children.
And at the end of the day, isn’t that what parenting is all about?