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According to UNFPA’s report, fathers who build strong relations with their children live longer, they are physically and mentally healthier, happier, and they are more productive at work compared to fathers who were not as involved as parents. 

Important factor for healthy family is not only child’s health after his birth, but also caring about mother’s health.  Her husband is the main person who can provide support, share the household responsibilities and parenthood. Father who helps caring for kids tends to spend more time with his family, while witnessing the sweetest moments of his baby’s life.  According to the Article 97 of the Turkmenistan’s Labor Code makes possible to take paternity leave until the child is 3 years old. 

UNFPA met with Babahan Berdiyew, a psychologist and a teacher of the Academy of State Services of Turkmenistan, and discussed the benefits of father's participation in child’s upbringing, a father being a tower of strength within his family, as well as importance of father's engagement with adolescent children.  


Is it important for fathers to participate in child’s nurturing? What is the role of a father in child's upbringing, why is it crucial to be there as a parent from the very beginning?

One of the most significant issues is father’s engagement in family lives. Full family is the most beneficial for a child. A mother cannot substitute a father, nor can a father substitute a mother in the family. Each of them has their own importance. Whether it is mainly focused on mother’s health, father’s health also should be emphasized too. Since the impact which father brings to their family cannot be substituted by anyone else. 

Family is the cell of society and it exists as long as human exist. If family is prosperous, society is prosperous. Family relations and all its values are passed down to a child. Child’s personality is usually developed within the family. That is why participation of both who carry out this process is important. Child sees his father as strong, big, skillful and trustee. Telling in other words, father is the one who protect his family. Father’s support to his family creates relief, complacency and safety feelings. Child feels that directly. 

Man should not only come and leave the house, but he has to care about his family and support his wife. He has to understand himself that he is supporter of her. He should not think “I’m the man, I’m the boss”, but must stand behind, compromise and equally share the household and parenting responsibilities. For example, a man can look after their child while a woman is cooking. Father is responsible for helping school preparations, supporting the professional choice and support his children in finding their position in society.  Most importantly, a father must be a role model.

Relations between women and men have to be observed. If they respect each other, if they love each other, if they have warm feelings to each other, equal sharing of responsibilities come naturally.


How much time does a father need to spend with his child?

Father should spend as much time as he can with his child. Fathers should not force themselves while they are together with their children, or they should not approach time spending as a must. Because children feel everything. Therefore, he has to spend his time wishing to be around and if he has to leave, he should explain to his kid the reason. For example, a father should talk to his kids and explain that “Son/daughter, we had fun playing together, now I have a few other things to do.” Child does understand this. However, if you see that a child is experiencing a difficult period in his or her every day life, you should be there to support until everything is solved, more time should be spend together. Time should be appropriate for a child’s need. 


Child’s attitude and opinions start changing at puberty. At this process, what is father’s role on keeping healthy family relations and his responsibilities at puberty period?

Puberty begins at the age of 11-12. It can be divided into two parts: early puberty and late puberty. At early puberty they usually learn how to build relations with other people; at the second stage they commonly learn how to build their life in the future. Second stage usually helps them to formulate individual personality, during this period teenager changes his previous contacts. Teenager starts to get taped adults. He starts to choose whom to listen to, who is right in his opinion based on his experience. He starts choosing with whom to be friends. And if teenager’s choice differs from his family’s choice, there can be conflicts. At that period it is good to try to distance the teenager from bad example. Teenager considers his peers opinions more important that the opinion and views of his parents or other adults. Parents should teach how to build communicative relations with other people. Respect the elder, respect the close ones, respect other people’s opinion are few of the examples. 

Child tries to be free, independent all around from his parents care. At that time parents need to give him freedom. They have to rest back from being too observant. “Did you take your notebook, pencil?” or “Did you dress up warm, did you take this or that piece of clothing?” questions can be too annoying to him. If father had built good relations with his child from his childhood, he can become child’s main advisor at his puberty. Father needs to try understanding the teenager’s situation and issue; he should speak to him in an advising way rather than command language. Fathers should create possibility for his child to speak any time he needs to. Being attentive, trying to listen to, and knowing every issue of teenager is important for parent. Listening to teenager can exclude any conflicts between him and parent. And by listening to the teenagers opinion will teach him to speak about his thoughts and to listen to other people’s thoughts. It is important to listen, support, encourage, and give freedom when you have conversation with teenager. Therefore adults should have understanding of specificity of puberty period to make this out. 

There are roles and things to be done in the relations between child and parent. You have to balance these. Don’t put too much pressure on teens; neither leaves him too much freedom. Every child forms his personal space when he grows up. It is good to provide a child separate room at place he lives. In bigger families it can be separate personal space. Most teenagers do not like when others intervene his or her personal space without their consent. Parents should respect the personal boundaries of their children.  Teens get insulted if you enter his room, read his messages on phone, read his personal notes. Teenagers should be taught how to keep an order, but do not go to his room and put things in order by yourselves. Many conflicts can arise between parent and teen when he/she chooses a friend, clothes, listens to music. Don’t keep reminding teen about his past failures or mistakes. Don’t put him down, don’t use physical punishment. Give freedom to the teenager, but be informed about everything happening in his life. Set up a family council and make your child participate at it. Do not restrict your child without prior warning. Speak about thing he does wrong. Compliment him/her if he performed well. If he/she has got bad habits, learn and evaluate beforehand. Find out the reasons. Issues which the teen has faced should not be solved by parents; they only need to help for solving.