Among those who believe that women make better caregivers for children than men, and who may therefore argue that women should get custody during a divorce, you’ll sometimes find the argument that mothers are nurturing and fathers are not. A child with two married parents gets the benefit of being raised by their mother, but these detractors will claim that a child who has to spend time with just one parent may lose something when that parent is the father.
Let’s make something clear: The idea that fathers can’t be nurturing is a myth. They can. They deserve custody rights because they are just as capable of raising children, and they deserve to spend time with them. Likewise, children can benefit dramatically from having father figures in their lives, so it’s better for them to spend time with both parents, as well.
One thing that researchers point out is that people often equate nurturing behavior with emotional behavior. They may claim that men are less in tune with their emotions and therefore cannot do so.
There are a few issues here, such as the fact that men should never be assumed to be unconnected from their emotions. Even if they are not as emotional, though, nurturing is about actions. Fathers can still choose these actions, no matter what comes naturally to them. They can be hands-on, caring parents who are engaged with their children, helping them learn skills and develop. This isn’t exclusive to either gender.
For children, it’s best to be close to both parents. When facing divorce, then, it’s wise for fathers to know what rights they have and the legal steps they can take to maintain that relationship.