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“The Dad Is Not A Person; It’s A Lifestyle”: 50 Pics That Scream Dad Energy, Shared By Facebook Page

Nothing changes a man’s life like becoming a father. Being entrusted with the responsibility and care of another person is a huge task.

You need to help your child’s development, which includes playing, being a good role model, and being warm, loving, and engaged.

But all of this effort is insanely rewarding. Not only do you see your kid grow into an adult but you also get an automatic pass to make all the dad jokes you want.

But don’t just take my word for it. There’s an online project called The Dad and it’s dedicated to illuminating this joyful journey. One of the ways it does that is by tweeting and retweeting spot-on takes on family life and parenting.

More info: thedad.com | Instagram | Facebook | Twitter

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Going through these tweets, the idea that a man can possess parenting instincts, and is not just suited to be a provider or a hapless sidekick, looks natural but it is actually relatively new. Just a few generations ago, it was highly controversial. In the ’70s, for example, the expectation that men should do more was picking up steam, but they were still considered a poor substitute for moms.

“[The mid-’70s] was the heyday of attachment theory, which, as it was incarnated then, was very much focused on the critical importance of the attachment between an infant and its mother in the first years of life,” Michael Lamb, who became a forerunner of fatherhood research at the time and continues to study it at the University of Cambridge in the UK, told Today’s Parent. “That went along with the assumption that it was the only [primary] relationship kids could form.”

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But at the turn of this century, researchers discovered an incredible detail about men: our bodies transform when we become fathers. Turns out, our hormonal systems alter dramatically when we become parents. And it doesn’t matter if we’re talking biological dads or adoptive ones, heterosexual or queer, the same applies for everyone.

This amazing revelation basically implies that despite the narrow role fathers have put themselves into for so long, our internal chemistry may have always been nudging us toward more involvement.

We know that oxytocin (the love hormone) plays a role in a mother’s initial bonding with her child after birth but researchers have observed that the same spike in oxytocin occurs when fathers hold and play with their newborns too.

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While that love drug floods a new father, his testosterone level typically drops, making him less likely to take risks and more able to nurture his newborn. Furthermore, he registers an increase in prolactin, which is a hormone best known for helping women produce breastmilk.

University of Notre Dame anthropologist Lee Gettler explained that the presence of prolactin goes back hundreds of millions of years to our animal ancestors, even before mammals (and breastfeeding) existed. Over the past decade, Gettler has determined the connection between the hormone and modern-day dads. “Fathers with higher prolactin play with their babies in ways that are beneficial for their babies’ learning and exploration, and the fathers also seem to be more responsive and sensitive to infant cries,” he said. This ancient hormone increases a dad’s desire to be close to their little one!

That should come as a relief to those men who are worried about becoming a father. If you put in the time and effort, you’re going to be fine. You’re a natural!

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