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What men should know to be fathers...

First things first: men and women are different

Women are more focused on security, men on action. Women think laterally and can multi-task, even in their heads; men are linear and are 'single-object focused'. When a woman speaks to a man about her feelings, she wants to be heard and understood. The response is not 'What does she want me to do?' because she just wants you to listen and understand. Children, unfortunately for the men, act in much the same way. Don't rush decisions and don't rush tasks. And if you can learn to listen instead of wondering how to act, you'll bring a bit of peace and stability into the home.

Wait 'til your father comes home

In the past children were filled with fear towards the father coming home to administer justice. Things have changed and as a father you need to have an emotional input (which comes with a lot of historical baggage) without relinquishing that voice of authority and security altogether.

Mind that child Men and women 'mind' children differently. When fathers have the kids for the day, the kids can feel like prisoners (guilty as charged) because when the father wants to do something, the kids are placed in a pen or strapped in the high chairs (guilty as charged). The mother can manage to multi-task and allow the kids freedom to move about.

A man's biggest challenge

No surprises. 'The choice to truly commit'. You can fall in love and be full of all kinds of positive feelings (because of that wonder stuff they have yet to bottle -- testosterone) but mentally, the will to commit doesn't automatically result. 'Anyone can be a father, but you need to commit to be a daddy.' Oh man.

Love yourself first

I like this one. If you ain't happy, then you won't be able to impart any happiness to others. And I was happy that Mr Connolly brought that up because it eradicated my fear of being always egocentric. Of course there is a balance, but if you haven't addressed your own needs, how can you be sensitive to the needs of others?

Women don't get security from finances Yes, they bloody well do. Alright, they get security in the home knowing that there is a capable father doing what the mother is thinking. But show me the dame who doesn't feel even more secure with a healthy bank balance.

>> Owen Connolly's Standing on the Shoulders of Giants is published by Nurture Press. www.nurture.ie

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