For many fathers, participation in the upbringing of children is complicated by responsibilities at work and the need to financially provide for the family. It’s hard to ignore mortgages, which are sky-high, and jobs, which require a huge investment of time and energy. Our society is slowly recognizing and appreciating the wealth of truly meaningful experiences and opportunities that dads provide for their children. As I watched Tom laugh as his father chased him around the backyard, past the old lemon tree and under the table, only to be knocked down and spun around when he was caught, I marveled at his father’s energy and ability. to really engage in fun, stimulating play with your four year old son. Few people can argue that moms and dads play differently with their children.
You can read the study or, as I often do, just watch parents play with their children in the playground or in the backyard. Dads are much more likely to engage in rough play, play ‘chase’, give kids ‘whistles’, toss kids in the air and catch them on their way down, and generally mess around with their offspring. Mothers, on the other hand, are more likely to sit in the sandbox, push swings, organize water games, do arts and crafts or read books, and generally organize play activities that help their children stay active while they continue to do household chores! Of course, both moms and dads do much more, but I think you can see the difference – dads treat me much more energetically!