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Here dad: Secret to being a good father

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Past child development research often ignored fathers. But new studies are finding that non-maternal caregivers play a crucial role in children’s behaviour, happiness, even cognitive skills.

Today, many dads are celebrated for being sensitive, caring and hands-on. A growing body of research is transforming our understanding of how they can shape their children’s lives from the start, challenging conventional ideas of parenthood and gender.

This is striking given that until the 1970s, the role of fathers in their children’s development was not much studied. Their most important job was seen as economically supporting the mother, who would in turn be the emotional anchor for the child.

“There was a lot of focus on how relationships with mothers were very important, and there was very little thought about other social relationships,” says Michael Lamb, a psychologist at the University of Cambridge who has been studying fathers since the 1970s. “The most obvious of those was the father-child relationship — a relationship that was viewed as more important as children grow older, but was always viewed as secondary to the mother-child relationship.”

Now, new research is showing that the social world of children is much richer, and more complex, than previously thought.

It is not just dads who have moved into the spotlight. Grandparents, same-sex parents, step-parents and single parents have also helped researchers understand what really makes a child thrive — and that it’s not just about one caregiver.

Benefits

A range of recent studies show how flexible parenting roles can be. Psychologist Ruth Feldman of Israel’s Bar-Ilan University has found that, just like mothers, fathers experience a hormonal boost when caring for their babies, which helps the bonding process. When dads are the main caregivers, their brains adapt to the task.

And emotional involvement matters. Babies with emotionally engaged dads show better mental development as toddlers and are less likely to have behavioural problems later on, compared to babies whose dads behave in a more detached way. Older children benefit, too. Those whose fathers, or father figures, are more emotionally supportive, tend to be more satisfied with life and have better relationships with teachers and other children.

“The factors that lead to the formation of relationships are exactly the same for mother and father,” Lamb says.

Past research has found that mothers and fathers do tend to interact differently with small children: mothers bond more through gentle caretaking, while fathers typically bond through play. But that, Lamb says, has less to do with gender and more with the division of childcare.

Studies of same-sex couples and stay-at-home dads have shown that regardless of gender, it is the parent who works during the day, and comes home in the evening, who tends to play wilder games, like picking up their baby and swinging them around. The parent who looks after the baby all day is likely to interact with them more calmly.

In heterosexual couples, the parent who takes on most of the care during the day is often still the mother for a range of social and economic reasons. But involving dads more from the start can have many benefits, research has shown. And play, regardless of whether it’s calm or boisterous, is particularly beneficial.

“Play is the language of childhood: it’s the way children explore the world, it’s how they build relationships with other children,” says Paul Ramchandani, who studies play in education, development and learning at the University of Cambridge. He and his team observed fathers playing with their babies in the first months of life, then tracked the children’s development. They found that early father-baby interactions are much more important than previously assumed.

Babies whose dads were more active and engaged during play had fewer behavioural difficulties at age one compared to those with more distant or detached dads. They also did better in cognitive tests at two, for example in their ability to recognise shapes. These outcomes were independent of the mother’s relationship with the child.

Ramchandani cautions that the results should not be interpreted as a clear causal link. Instead of directly affecting their children’s development, the distant dads’ behaviour could, for example, be a sign of other problems in the family. Still, he sees the study as an encouragement to play with your child long before they can crawl and talk: “Some dads don’t do that when the babies are young because they’re unsure about what they should do, or unsure if they’re doing the right things.” Of course, new mothers may feel similarly hesitant.

But Ramchandani says it can be as simple as sitting the baby on your lap, making eye contact, and observing what they enjoy.

“It’s the getting involved that’s the most important thing, because you’ll get better at it if you practice it. It’s not something that comes naturally to everybody. Some people are really good at it, but for most people it takes practice,” he says.

In many ways, fathers are more involved than ever. But the bulk of parenting still seems to fall to women. Around the world, women spend up to 10 times more time on unpaid care work – including childcare – than men.

“I think we’re at a crossroads in terms of how we view fathers,” says Anna Machin, an anthropologist and author of The Life of Dad, a book on modern fathering.

Machin argues that while most dads want to be more active at home, the workplace has not really adapted to this. “That’s where the tension is for men at the moment: between needing and wanting to care, and also needing to still provide,” she says.

Reversal of roles

Given the financial pressures many families face, Machin fears there could actually be a reversal to more traditional roles: “If you’re a dad now, if you want to be involved, you have to be a bit of a pioneer in the workplace. You have to go against all that culture of, ‘men go back to work’. You have to be the one to go, ‘Actually, I want to assert my rights’.

“And that’s quite a hard thing to do.”

A more equal division can have many long-term benefits. Researchers led by sociologists Helen Norman and Colette Fagan at the University of Manchester found that fathers were more likely to be involved when the child was aged three if they shared childcare equally when the child was nine months old.

In Scotland, a study of more than 2,500 families showed that supportive father-child relationships matter as much as mother-child relationships for children’s wellbeing.

“One of the points we’ve learned is that there isn’t a model of the ideal father. There isn’t a recipe for what the father needs to do or what sorts of behaviour he needs to emulate,” says Lamb. Ultimately, he says, it’s about being emotionally available, and meeting the child’s needs. “Different people do that in different ways. There’s been a lot of talk about, ‘do dads need to do that in a masculine way?’ And the answer is no, they don’t need to.

“They need to do it in a way that makes sense for them, that feels authentic, that allows them to be fully and coherently engaged in the relationship with their child.”

by Standardmedia.co.ke


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Business

Navigating through the Covid-19 Terrain and a Story of Exceptional Transformation at Optiven

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Navigating through the Covid-19 Terrain and a Story of Exceptional Transformation at Optiven

Optiven Group has continuously had all its eyes trained on its vision of economically and socially empowering and transforming the society.

This vision was however momentarily shaken by Covid-19, especially on the month of March 2020, when the first case was reported. Soon, all was not business as usual. The pandemic scared our staff and customers alike. With huge loans to pay, massive salary bills and many office rentals to cope with, everything seemed daunting. The worst was when we closed our offices and temporarily sent hundreds of staff home. That was extremely agonizing to bear.

As an entrepreneur, this was one of my worst periods ever. The headaches were not ceding ground and the only thing that was consoling was the power of prayers. It is during such times when the test of leadership comes to play.

Our most affected area of business was our sister venture entities in the name of restaurants. Indeed, we sent hundreds of staff home. We are now however thanking God that 85% of these staff are back and with a projection of bringing back the rest soon, as business starts coming back.

Importantly, soon after Covid-19 pandemic hit, Optiven Group was swift in adopting new strategies and quickly embracing appropriate technology to counter the new terrain. This is perhaps one of the reasons why the firm is still expanding, especially on the area of job creation and mentorship front.

It is largely courtesy of these strategies that despite the current pandemic, we have managed to launch enormous mentorship programs such as the George Wachiuri School of Mentorship and also engaged in encouraging SMEs that have really been struggling to stay afloat through our business mentorship sessions. Through the latter, we have continued to inspire over 7,000 active participants through George Wachiuri’s Facebook LIVE shows that are also available on my You Tube channel, this has continued to give hope to many.

Still, during this period, we have managed to create over 100 permanent jobs for both senior and middle level employees, plus over 200 casuals that daily work in our projects. This job increase is in line with our goal of creating over 30, 000 jobs by the year 2030.

On the real estate front, we really had to think away from the box and undertake a massive 360 degree transformation that was educated by thinking differently and changing how we used to do things before Covid-19.

Thanks to this, we have continued to provide our customers with even more offerings in terms of value additions to our projects. It is during this period of Covid-19 when we decided to put our efforts towards GoingGreen in most of our projects. Matter of fact, we have surprised our customers by further transforming our projects through installation of green energy, massive tree planting, and installation of water recycling systems, encouraging plot owners engage in farming of organic foods and subsequently feed their families from their previously idle plots. Significantly, we also changed from use of Kenya Power electricity in our projects to the use of solar energy on almost all amenities and by so doing, we have now managed to save millions of shillings in terms of KPLC bills. Most importantly, we are glad that we are now fully plugged on the green energy agenda.

All along, the company has continued to flourish through innovation, partnerships, massive philanthropy activities and even more importantly, a commitment to always entrust all our undertakings to God.

We are glad that we are consistently realizing our vision of being pacesetters in social economic transformation through opportunities such as job creation that have a positive multiplier effect on the society.

Guided by the same vision, we always dedicate 5% of what we make in business and channel it to the less fortunate through a registered foundation viz Optiven Foundation. We have hundreds of orphans whom we support to go through school. We also support the physically challenged to get free wheelchairs and support girls to access schools. The Foundation also cares for over 300 families and helps them to get food daily.

Indeed, we at Optiven exist to economically and socially empower and transform the society.

#ChangingLives
#EyesOnTheCommunity
#CreatingJobs
#GoingGreen
#HousingKenyans

Contact Optiven Group:0790 300 300
Email: admin@optiven.co.ke Website: www.optiven.co.ke George Wachiuri Blog: www.georgewachiuri.com
YouTube: https://bit.ly/2VdSuFJ


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Maradona dies at 60 following a heart attack

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Argentina legend Diego Maradona died on Wednesday at the he age of 60 following a heart attack. According to ESPN, Matias Morla, Maradona’s longtime agent, confirmed the news to of his demise.

He suffered a heart attack at his home in the outskirts of Buenos Aires on Wednesday, according to Argentine media as well as several acquaintances of the former player.

Maradona had recently battled health issues, even undergoing emergency surgery for a subdural hematoma several weeks ago.

Following his death, a statement from the Argentina Football Association read: “The Argentine Football Association, through its President Claudio Tapia, expresses its deepest pain at the death of our legend, Diego Armando Maradona. You’ll always be in our hearts.”

He was one of the most recognisable people in the world.

Maradona, who was born in 1960, captained Argentina to World Cup 1986 glory as well as reaching the final in 1990. At the height of his club career, at Napoli from 1984 to 1991, he helped the side win its only two Italian league titles. le people in the world.

According to ESPN, in 2004, he was hospitalised with severe heart and respiratory problems related to a long battle with drug addiction.

Major news agencies report that he had undergone two gastric bypass operations to control his weight and received treatment for alcohol abuse.

Maradona is survived by his wife, Veronica Ojeda, two daughters, two sons, and his former wife, Claudia Villafane.


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Health

Janet Mbugua shares her Covid-19 scare

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Media personality Janet Mbugua has shared the tale of the time she faced a scare as thought she had contracted Covid-19 last month.

In a video she shared on Instagram, the former Citizen tv news anchor said she experienced Covid-19 symptoms which escalated quite quickly.

The video shows her being taken through the nasal swab test for Covid-19, which is known to very uncomfortable.

Luckily, the result for the mother of two came back negative.

Janet Mbugua said that her scary experience motivated her to fight the fear and stigma related to Coronavirus, and will use her platform to advocate for a vaccine.

This comes as Covid-19 cases continue to rise sharply in Kenya amid a rush by various pharmaceutical companies globally to come up with an effective vaccine.

By NN


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