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“Magic Always Happens: My Daddy Loves Me!”
by Dr. Neophytos (Neo) Papaneophytou*
Having a good and loving father or father figure in a child’s life is extremely important. Research suggests children who have a supportive parent do better both in terms of personal growth and development, as well as in terms of maintaining a balanced career later in life.
In “Magic Always Happens”, a book scheduled to be released this coming June, a single father and his son develop an inseparable bond just from living out their daily routine—from waking, making breakfast, walking to school, making dinner, to getting ready for bed. Hidden in those seemingly “mundane tasks” are the magical moments of their day and lives. Themes essential to good parenting such, as sharing quality time with one’s children, meaning-making, dinner time, schooling, and family structure, “scaffolding” for life, and love in its ultimate form (agape) are well emphasized.
With single-parent families rapidly growing in numbers, we sometimes tend to place the role fathers have on the “back burner” so-to-speak. Though single mothers — perhaps justifiably so –appear to be on the forefront, one must not forget the influence and impact fathers have on their children’s psychological well-being and development. Children will always need love, understanding, and caring from all family members, and relatives. After all, it does take a village to raise a child and many have discussed the need we all have to feel loved and secure.
This emergent “single parent phenomenon” begs the question of where to find such a “village” in any big metropolitan area. Having, or finding, a wider supportive family structure particularly within global “harsh hubs” such as New York City, may not be that easy, or simple. Single fathers just like single mothers, need to support their children during all phases of their development, or at least throughout their entire childhood.
From a relational perspective research indicates that children who experience “scaffolding” and are securely attached to a parent figure, do much better in life. Prodigious pediatricians such as T. Berry Brazelton, MD, emeritus HarvardUniversity professor, and distinguished psychologists like Edward Z. Tronick, PhD, Director of the Infant-Parent Mental Health Postgraduate program at the University of Massachusetts, Boston, have long argued in favor of being supportive of one’s children, and of being present starting with their early life development. According to Drs. Brazelton and Tronick, offering love and continuous support to a child renders significant positive effects in her or his life.
The undersigned had successfully completed the aforementioned postgraduate program specialization, and has developed close professional and mentoring relationships with both Drs. Brazelton and Tronick. Dr. Brazelton’s mantra-likeadvice to “involve the parents right from the start” is nicely complemented by Dr. Tronick’s accepted wisdom regarding the importance the repairing of any interrupted parent-child conduct has on the child’s emotional world. In doing so, a child is able to emotionally regulate through her/his life-long development, remain stable, and enjoy both mental and physiological well-being.
Being a child psychologist and a single father, the author is mindful of parents’ life issues particularly in societies such as ours. Being able to support the “supporters” of our children is a life-long learning experience of utmost importance, especially in cases of single-parent households. Good fathering skills necessitate a steady and significant presence in the child’s life. This presence and its ensuing value need be placed and remain at our society’s forefront.
Themes pertinent to solid parenting, and in accordance with all theories of child development include: Quality family/parenting time and “routines” including shared meals, abundant school-related experiences and narratives, integrated play time, meaning-making, book reading/story telling – experiences that enhance parental love, bonding, and devotion.
To write “Magic Always Happens: My Daddy Loves Me!” the author drew from his experiences raising his own son. Seeing every day as a blessing, father and child find joy in all their daily activities, especially when their two-year-old therapy dog, Mya, joins in! While this father was born and raised on the Mediterranean island of Cyprus—a world away from his son’s upbringing in the New York City metropolitan area, the experience reflected in “Magic Always Happens: My Daddy Loves Me!” shows the impermeable bond between father and son spending quality time together, wherever in the world that may be. Such loving bonds are relevant to all dedicated fathers all around our global village!
This book represents the first of what the author envisions to become a children’s book series. A large percent of the proceeds will benefit a newly proposed visionary international center to treat children with autism, in Cyprus. In celebration of father’s day and as a small tribute to all wonderful fathers around the world “Magic Always Happens: My Daddy Loves Me!” will be available through Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Ingram, and other distributors and websites, this June (2014).
* Dr. Neo Papaneophytou works clinically with children, adults, and couples; he maintains two clinical psychotherapy practices; one in Manhattan and one in Kingston, New York. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org & Cell 212-498-9877; www.katharetherapy.com
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