All About Paternal Instinct

When men become fathers, they tend to develop a bond with their child which can be referred to as the “Paternal Instinct”. On the other hand, the bond which mothers develop is called “Maternal Instinct”.  Despite many caring and loving fathers, there is quite a little information on how to develop and maintain a good paternal bond with your child. Find out all about paternal instincts below. 

Father Baby Bond

According to a few studies, infants tend to get closer to their fathers as compared to mothers. Despite the fact that a baby might be spending the majority of his time in the lap of the mother, the bond between a father and his child is still higher. This is mainly because fathers tend to be more active and socially connected towards their newborn babies while mothers tend to be working out to maintain their needs. According to Barry S Hewlett, author of Gender in Cross-Cultural Perspective, children tend to bond with their fathers during age development. 

However, the variation has been seen from culture to culture. In various Asian cultures, the children tend to have a higher preference towards their mothers while a limited paternal instinct is developed. On the other hand, American culture has a higher paternal instinct.

How is Paternal Instinct Different from Maternal Instinct? 

Generally, fathers tend to have a very different type of relationship with their children compared to men. One of the most important distinguishing factors between a paternal instinct and maternal instinct is that the mothers tend to be more involved in the baby talks while the fathers tend to be more involved in preparing the children for their future. The fathers instigate and try that their young one speaks more words, take risks (such as crawling and walking alone), and involve in something that is ultimately preparing them for the near future. 

The common stereotype is that fathers are a bit hard on their children while this is justified by the fact that they are being protective of the children and do not have any bad intentions. Therefore, the fatherly actions tend to be quite different than the motherly actions, as mothers have a softer side towards the children, generally.  

For example, a mother might let the child win a game on purpose just because she wants to see him happy. However, the father might not let the child win because he is more concerned with the fact that the child should learn how to accept defeat or probably because he wants to improve the game his child is playing.  

While mothers tend to be more impulsive towards their children, the fathers are usually maintaining impulsive control. As a result, they are seen as role models of the children. They tend to inspire the young ones because of their sometimes formal attitude. The model of staying cool and the development of soothing skills gives a good impression of the child. 

In a nutshell, a child learns maturity more from the male personnel in his life as compared to women. Although both parents might be mature, the manly gestures and the ability to stay cool is more likely to become a part of the father, thereby leading towards the development of his child. 

How to Improve Paternal Bond?

There are major ways to improve the level of paternal instinct.

Be More Actively Engaged with Your Child

Although dads tend to be busy with work and other chores, there are still some ways to be more engaged with your child. Even if you are free for 30 minutes a day, make it a habit to engage with the child. The term “actively engaged” refers to the fact that try being more physically active with your little one. This will be helpful in creating a highly stimulating interaction between you and your child. The fun-loving experience derived from physical activity will create a better bond. Physical activities could include playing together with toys, skin contact, roaming around with the baby, becoming a play ride for the baby, and other similar ways as well.

Take a Paternity Leave

One major reason why a few fathers complain that they don’t have a good bond with their children is that they don’t take paternity leave. While it is true that certain companies offer paternity leave, many others don’t. In such a case, we recommend spending the holiday with your child completely as it will help in enhancing the bond.

Surprise the Baby

Paternal bonds will surely improve when you surprise the baby. Babies get excited about even the minor gifts and toys. For example, just bring a teddy bear back home from work. Play with your child with this teddy bear. Not only would he be excited but would be more attached towards the person who gave it. Alternatively, you can also bring something edible that babies like. A few babies really like chocolate, and so, it can be a great treat for the young one. 

More Skin to Skin Contact

According to the research conducted by the United Nations Children’s Emergency Fund, skin-to-skin contact with the baby is one of the most important ways to improve the bond with a baby. It helps in developing a closer relationship, as well as ensures that the baby has a healthy mental and physical development too. Not only is this important for the mothers but fathers too can hold their babies close to them which will create positive and happy feelings in them. If you are lacking skin-to-skin contact with your baby, there are chances that you might not be able to develop a very close bond with them.  

Keep a Balance

Sometimes, a fatherly attitude is just too much for the child which is why he might get attracted more towards the mother. Don’t be too strict or harsh towards the child because this is not good for his health and development. Some fathers tend to be bossy because they think that being strict would be helpful towards teaching good manners to the child. However, this may not be the case with every child as some of them turn out to be stubborn. 

Alternatively, the children may indulge in the wrong ways to fulfill what they want. Some parents have a major free hand on their children which is also not helpful as the children may indulge in wrong activities. Therefore, the best way to improve the paternal instinct and bond with your child is to maintain a balance in everything. Don’t use excessive force nor leave them totally free. Experts suggest that if you listen to 4 things your child says, only then would you be able to get the child to agree with your 6 things as well. 

Many researches have proven that a balance between strictness and relaxation is perfect for the upbringing of a child and leads to the best of character and personality development. Such children tend to have fewer psychological problems in their life. 

Father-son relationship requires balance. 

Be the Modern Dad

Today’s children are always a step ahead of their parents which has brought a major generation gap in between. This is especially the case for dads because many of them do not adapt to the newer technology and tend to stay as the “classy” dads. For a better paternal instinct and bond with your child, adjust according to the lifestyle of your child and be the modern dad he wishes you to be. 

By being a modern dad, it means that you do talk out about the latest event happenings, tech news, sports, and other such aspects with your child because he might be thinking about these things as “cool”. Be the dad your child would be proud of when he gets you to meet his friends. Break up all the common stereotypes and try to adapt to your child’s life as if you are his friend too. Such behavior will be helpful in engaging the better paternal instinct between you and your child. 

Here are few more tips on modern masculinity – Modern Masculinity – A Present Day Definition

Be the modern dad to be close to your child.


Paternal instinct is a rising famous phenomenon which is why many fathers are being more concerned about the bond between them and their children. There are various ways to improve the bond between you and your child and many of them have been mentioned above. We recommend that you follow the tips to improve the bond between you and your child.