What enables a father

Families in Lower Saxony

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Images and ideas of what and how fathers are have changed a lot over the years. Current studies indicate that fathers today understand and assume their responsibility for their children much more comprehensively than all generations of fathers before them. The quality of the father-child relationship has also changed fundamentally over the past 30 years. In addition, the importance of the father for the development of the child has now been better researched.

The current ideal of a father no longer only concerns the material provision of the children. Today being a father also includes sympathy, understanding and a willingness to dialogue as the foundation of a successful relationship. This should be seen as an opportunity to change identity, roles and images. At the same time, however, there is also a risk of uncertainty for men. Because our society does not offer a uniform image of a father. Even if the selection of studies and scientific studies on the image of the father has grown in the meantime, it cannot give a clear definition of the father's role.

At least one major achievement of father research in the 1970s is the knowledge of the father-child bond. According to this, fathers are basically able to develop a bond with their child to the same extent as mothers. Thus the concept of the exclusivity of the mother-child bond - as represented by the sociologist Talcott Parsons - no longer tenable.

Also, John Bowlby was obviously wrong in his basic assumption of the attachment theory between parents and children. His core thesis was that the mother is the primary caregiver of infants and toddlers, predetermined by nature. The father was denied the basic biological prerequisites for a stable emotional bond with his child. In his opinion, the father's task was primarily to provide economic security for the family and to provide emotional support for his partner. This theory and these views were for a long time - at least in Europe - a tacit agreement and probably still largely coincide with the views of many of today's grandparents.

Talcott Parsons in: "Family socialization and interaction processes", 1955 / John Bowlby in: "Maternal care and mental health", World Health Organization, 1952

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