Mom is an acrobat. Dad is a tightrope walker. Finding the right means in a society that he asks for more and more becomes increasingly difficult, even for fathers.
Today's fathers are more present in their children's lives than they once were and their figure has changed compared to the last century. "But beware of stress, which can harm the development of children" as well as themselves. Word of Vinciguerra, psychotherapist and president of Eurodap (European Association for Panic Attack Disorders) and scientific director of Bioequilibrium.
In view of today's day dedicated to all fathers, the psychotherapist has drawn up a survival manual to avoid succumbing to the dual role of father and worker.
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"The figure of the father of Del Paeseno has changed a lot in recent decades", notes the expert. "It could be said that fathers once figured as harder and more empowering, less communicative, less attentive and participatory, with the aim of preparing their children for the hard life that lay ahead. Today's fathers, on the other hand, are more protective. and sacrifices towards their children. They employ a lot of time and energy to guarantee their family their presence and well-being, but everything can exhaust them. The fault lies with stress ", which is not good for themselves or for loved ones.
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According to the results of a 2022 research conducted by Michigan State University, published in Infant and Child Development, a stressed father can harm the development of their children. And the father figure plays a key role in the development of their children. From language, to cognitive development, to social skills.
As Vinciguerra explains, "in this study the researchers analyzed the behavior of fathers in 730 families, through questionnaires proposed to both parents to assess any mental problems, the level of stress, the relationship with the children. It emerged that when the dad is stressed, the consequences are also felt on the cognitive and language development of his children, especially if they are very young. "So, as the expert claims," a high exposure to stress can lead to a state of constriction and anguish chronic, which consequently has a negative impact on the subsequent behavior of the children. This situation heavily affects not only one's own personal well-being but also that of others ".
So here are the advice of the psychotherapist to better face the role of dad:
- Take some time for yourself: do not overdo it at work because you risk feeling pressured about family commitments
- Manage your time in a functional way: make a list of your priorities and distribute them in a balanced way.
- Take some time out for your life as a couple too, not feeling guilty if you have to leave your children with grandparents or other reference figures. Harmony with your partner also benefits the well-being of the family.
- Strive to keep social relationships intact as far as possible, for you too are entitled to some entertainment.
- Ask for help. If you feel tired or nervous, don't be afraid to talk about your discomfort with trusted people.
Moms and dads, it's not normal to be stressed
The psychotherapist's final advice is addressed to both mothers and fathers. "We need to start considering stress NOT a banality and something normal 'because everyone has it'. Stress is an extremely destructive element of our life. It does not depend solely on the pressure that comes to us from outside, but also on our response ".
Each of us should therefore begin to acquire a whole series of techniques that allow us to find our own balance, the balance between the two cerebral hemispheres.
"Because that is the stress - continues the expert -. It is not the boss, the grandmother, the uncle. It is the mental attitude with which we face everything".
So we don't have to normalize it, but recognize it and deal with it. "The problem is to turn off the activation of the left hemisphere that makes all these anticipatory, anxious and premonitory thoughts that go to the detriment of the right hemisphere."
We believe we can rest assured thinking and anticipating everything. But "this thinking simply leads us to increase the state of tension".
Vinciguerra's advice? "We learn to stay in the here and now. We try to fight this anticipatory attitude apparently of control, but which in reality does nothing but make us feel more threatened, intermediate and in tension ".
Among the techniques that can be used is the diaphragmatic breathing. Then you have to learn to stay in the moment. What does it mean? As the expert explains: "If you are taking a shower, you cannot think of everything else. If you are in the shower, you must learn to enjoy that moment and this will allow you to recharge, because you are doing a positive thing. We must learn to feel the moment and stop this spasmodic attitude of control of the next ".
- dad today