Can a single dad be as good a parent as a single mum? Experts agree

Recently, film-maker Karan Johar announced on Twitter that he has become the father to twins through surrogacy. He tweeted that the children were the “two most wonderful additions to my life and lifelines”. Karan is not the only single dad in Bollywood. Last year, actor Tusshar Kapoor surprised his fans by announcing that he had become the father of a boy, Laksshya, through surrogacy.

In our society, it is believed that the responsibility of taking care of the kid lies with a mother or that the mother is a better parent than a father. This could be because, traditionally, men had always been the breadwinners in the family and the women took care of the kids.

A new leaf
However, times have changed. Other than celebs, many men these days have become single dads either because of surrogacy, custody of child after the death of the mother or divorce. In fact, you will even find communities of single dads on the Internet.

So, can a single dad be as good a parent as a single mum? Consultant psychiatrist Gaurav Wadgaonkar says that the notion that a single dad can’t be a good parent is false. He says, “There has been a long-held belief that mothers are better parents than fathers. I know many single fathers who raise their child like any other single mother. A single father can be a good parent to both a boy as well as a girl. Also, the media has played a significant role in portraying a single independent mother as praiseworthy. It has not given equal justice to single dads who are equally good at parenting.”

Mental health counsellor Kavita Mungi agrees, “Like single mothers, single dads can definitely be good fathers. The child is not concerned with the gender of the caregiver. Children are concerned with the love, affection and care that they receive. Parenting is about being responsible and being ready for a joyous and momentous phase in your life.”

Advantages and disadvantages

When it comes to a child’s upbringing, is a single dad at a disadvantage compared to a single mother? Wadgaonkar says, “Scientifically, it has been proven that there are differences in the male and female brain. We know that females are better at multitasking and emotional reciprocity, while males are better in visuospatial (relating to or denoting the visual perception of the spatial relationships of objects) skills.

Single dads speak

A single dad can become a great parent if he understands his child’
A single father can contribute to a child’s future as much as a single mother could have, or as much as two parents could have. Single dads also can connect emotionally with their children. But, the trick is not to show your emotional side to your kids if you want them to be strong in life. I believe a single dad can become a great parent if he understands his child and becomes his or her friend. I feel the only disadvantage a single father would have is if he has a daughter. She will have difficulties in sharing some personal aspects of her life with him. With a son, he can be open about everything.
- Deven Bhatt, who works in the diamond industry, has been a single dad to son Daksh for nine years

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