During Fathers’ Week parents will read books with their children

How to build a good and strong bond between children and fathers, how to help children grow up self-assured and successful in a trouble-free environment, and help fathers feel stable and secure? For the 6th year running active fatherhood is at the focus of Fathers’ Week. Because to have a parent who provides a sense of security, protection and love is a blessing for any child.

“A real man does not like flapdoodle.” This is the motto of this year’s Fathers’ Week (11-17 November) which encourages reading together, because books do more than bring people together, they open up the big discussion of the things that matter.

“All fathers say they talk to their children and one-third say they read to them,” says David Kyuranov, coordinator of the “Being a dad” national campaign. “It is another matter whether they spend quality time with their children because in the evening they are tired and find it difficult to concentrate. Talking is important but so is listening – otherwise a large portion of the children’s inner world remains out of reach. If talking to your children boils down to the question “How was kindergarten/school?”, and the answer is “OK”, they then go back to ruminating on their experiences of the day. That is why fathers can start asking concrete question, and that works.”

The role of the father in a family is just as important as the role of the mother in the development of children. Unfortunately, more and more children are being raised in one-parent families, and the male role model is frequently absent from their lives.

“The role of the father is particularly valuable as the child is able to see the male perspective,” says David Kyuranov. “All the more so that children get to meet men much more rarely – at kindergartens the staff is 99 percent female, at school this percentage is 85. However, studies show that if the father is active, children develop better emotionally, cope better at school, are less prone to mental disorders, depressions or unhealthy relationships, and stand a better chance of finding a good job. Fathers on the other hand are more self-assured, happier and healthier and do not have to change jobs often. In other words both children and male parents – whether biological fathers on not – stand to gain from the child-parent relationship.”

Men in Bulgaria want to play a role in the life of their children but are often hampered from doing so, the expert adds. He cites the results of a recent survey according to which fathers rarely resort to smacking their children as a form of discipline, though there is a small share of abusive fathers. To restrict violence – both physical and psychological – David Kyuranov says we should regard children as an independent individual who is just like us, all the more so that even as a baby, a child has a fully constructed nervous system, emotions and feelings. But do men avail themselves of the opportunities, provided by law, to stay home and look after their newborn children?

“Bulgaria is among the countries that offer a good opportunity to fathers to take paternity leave.” Says David Kyuranov. “After the first 6 months of the child’s life they are able to take whatever is left of the maternity leave (a total of 410 days). But there are very few fathers who avail themselves of this opportunity – around 1 percent, usually when the woman’s salary is higher or when she runs a business of her own. That is why I urge fathers in the country to take time to think how they can spend more time with their children in the early months and years of their lives because in that period children develop at rates it is difficult to imagine.”

Photos: National Campaign "To be a father"

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