Japan Dads Worst Among Rich Countries

By on October 3, 2016

A new study by Fatherhood Institute compared dads in 22 countries: Austria, Australia, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Finland, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, Norway, New Zealand, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, USA, and the UK. The countries that have the best dads in the world are dominated by Scandinavian countries with Japan scoring the worst in the Fairness in Families Index 2016.

Bathing, diapering, dressing, feeding and playing with your children several times a week is an enormous work. Yet, despite playing a big part, “many of us feel incompetent,” says Keith Zefran, author of award winning book How to Be a Great Dad and founder of The Great Dads Project, an organization that coaches fathers worldwide how to go from being average dads into great dads who take on a more engaged role in the life of their kids. Fathering guru and dad of three boys, Zefran says the lack of parenting confidence is influenced by the past. “Many men I work with feel ill-equipped by their relationship with their own distant dads,” Zefran says.

“They don’t have the training to be the dads they want to be.” Zefran contends that moms can help dads heal their “father wound” and become better at parenting. To dads seeking help, Zefran has this to say. “When my two boys were toddlers, I referred to myself as the babysitter, until an older, seasoned dad overheard and chided him.”
“I really did think of myself as babysitting until the real parent got home,” he says, because his wife was the primary caretaker.

To help your husband feel like the father he is, let him do more and desist from being critical if he doesn’t do things like you do. “If dad puts the diaper on backwards, stay positive. Saying ‘That’s funny how you did that. Here’s another way,’ is much different than “Oh dear, can’t you tell the front from the back?’” Zefran says. Also, let dad take the kids to the park or the pediatrician or wherever without you. “More solo time with the kids allows dad to build his identity as a father, learn to trust in himself and bond with the kids,” the parenting reformer says.

Some dads aren’t generous with words by nature. “But we have it in us and you can draw it out with praise,” Zefran says. If your husband is reading a book to your son, tell him that you noticed how comfortable he is with him. Or, if your little girl trips at the park and skins his knee, let your husband swoop in with the Band-Aid. Then, tell your husband how sweet that was to see. “We’re affirmation junkies,” Zefran says. “Work is traditionally where we’re told we’re doing a great job. But if we get praise at home, that’s where we want to be.” He even encourages the women he works with to “build up” their husbands and boyfriends. “Every night before going to bed, tell him one thing you saw him do well that day as a father, such as: “It’s so great to see you read to our little girl at bedtime. She’s so happy when you spend time with her. What a great dad you are!” “Men never get tired of hearing that,” Zefran says.

Zefran contends that women excel in the creative parenting department, as in ‘What can we do with the kids that would be really fun?’  But instead of always being the point person for all things kids, he advises moms to give the baton to dads to think up their own kid-centric activities. You might say, for example, ‘Do you think our son might want to go to a professional soccer game with you?’ Or ‘Sayuri’s birthday is coming up. What do you think she’d like to do with you that she’d really enjoy?’ “The more dad can feel like he’s invested in a fun activity, the more fun he’s likely to have with them and the more involved he’ll want to be,” Zefran says.

COUNTRIES  OF BEST AND WORST DADS

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source: Fatherhood Institute. Fairness in Families Index 2016
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