My partner is a sensitive man, and I adore this about him. He isn't afraid to show his emotions, or teach our son through his actions that sensitivity rules. Because it does. I didn't always believe that, though, especially growing up in a home that viewed sensitivity as a weakness. As a child I learned to shield my emotions, when I should've been expressing them. So I'm acutely aware that there are more than a few reasons why a sensitive dad is the father every son needs. After all, my childhood is proof.
My son has always been my darling. He's not one to talk back or break the rules, and his sensitive nature is palpable, even when he speaks in his meek, mild little voice. While I'd like to take all the credit, I can't. His father, who's always been there for him, has never shied away from crying if he's sad, or reaching out and helping someone in need because he feels so much empathy for others. I can't articulate how much I appreciate these traits in my husband, not only as a life partner, or parenting partner, but as a friend. Maybe it's a millennial dad thing, or maybe I just got lucky, but either way I'm grateful.
With memories of my own upbringing ever-present, I'm constantly aware of the fact that the way my partner behaves around our kids, and me, is important. When I look at our son, it's obvious. There's so many stories of boys growing up to become entitled and narcissistic adults, void of any semblance of compassion and truly believing that "boys will be boys" and that negates the consequences of their actions. I don't want my son to be one of those adults. This is just one reason I'm thankful my son has a sensitive father who understands his actions have consequences, and our children are watching. Here are some others.
Because He'll Learn To Be Such As Sensitive
Because my son has a dad who's nurturing, tolerant, and compassionate, he's learning how to be the same with and for his loved ones. I can teach my son the same lessons, sure, but when those lessons come from his father my son can see a little more of himself.
My partner is my son's mirror, and if my partner were anything less than sensitive, my boy wouldn't be as sweet as he is today.
Because Masculinity Can Be Toxic
Today's culture is writhing in toxic masculinity, teaching our sons it's OK to take what you want when they want it. Toxic masculinity is also teaching our sons that "real men" don't talk about their feelings or seek help when they need it, and that being sensitive is somehow connected to being fragile or weak or less than.
It's because my partner is so sensitive that my son can see the way a "real man" should behave: he respects women, tells me when he's having a hard time with his mental health, and will ask for help if he can't do something. Every boy needs a father that encompasses these lessons in his every day life.
Because Those Dads Are More Involved
A sensitive father is usually the dad who's around because, yes, he cares about having a close relationship with his kids. He's involved, and doesn't conform to stereotypical gender roles that would qualify him as a "helper" instead of an equal parenting partner.
Because Those Dads Are Also Sensitive To Their Partner's Needs
My guy isn't just in tune with his own emotions, or our children's. He's cognizant of mine, too. It doesn't mean he'll always swoop in to "rescue" me (because I don't want to be saved and, if I do, I'll do it my damn self), but it does mean he is strong enough in his masculinity to acknowledge my needs, even if they don't include him.
I'm so happy our kids — my son in particular — can witness a real life example of the way partners should care for one another. There's no better advice to give than by the relationship we share.
Because Those Dads Are Their Sons' Biggest Fan
I know a lot of sons look up to their fathers, and those fathers are probably great. A sensitive dad is more than just great, though. He's not just your son's biggest fan; he's the one who cries over the losses and celebrates every win. He's the man who teaches your son how to be all the things he wants to be, and more, through his consistent actions.
Yes, I can do and be those these things for my son, but when my partner does them I see how it affects my son. I can watch all the ways in which he chooses to emulate his father, because they're obvious . So, if his dad is at every soccer game or karate class, cheering him on or holding him at night when he has a bad dream, he's learning how to be sensitive enough to do the same some day, too.
Because Those Dads Listen
A sensitive dad listens. To everyone. The best listeners tend to be sensitive in nature, because they care about what you're saying and are genuinely interested in being your sounding board. Every son needs a father who listens and hears them, so that he can grow up learning how to actively listen to others, too.
Because Those Dads Set The Right Example
Strong, sensitive fathers mold our future generation into the empathetic beings we hope they'll be. Moms have their work cut out for them, too, but with a sensitive father in the picture, your son won't only see the world for what it is. He'll see it for how it should be.
Watch Romper's new video series, Romper's Doula Diaries:
Check out the entire Romper's Doula Diaries series and other videos on Facebook and the Bustle app across Apple TV, Roku, and Amazon Fire TV.