Babies, and children younger than two years of age, often express preference for the mom over the dad. However, this changes between the ages of two and four when children start to look upon the dad as a partner in play. Young boys, especially, look upon their dads as heroes and try to imitate the way they talk, dress, and act.
Here are some of the reasons for the father-son bond:
- Shared empathy: If little boys enjoy special closeness with their fathers, part of the reason is the common biological identity that they share. This mutual identification results in the development of a strong empathy between them.
- Role modeling: Dads play an important part in the development of their sons. The role of the father is, in fact, an important counterpart to the one played by the mother. Little boys look to their fathers for a representation of what 'manliness' means; this influence remains with them even as they grow up to become fathers themselves.
- Nurturing and authority: Being called upon to assume the father's role is a challenge. It compels men to review and redefine who they are themselves. In this sense, sons influence their fathers, by inducing them to develop their own sense of caring, responsibility, and paternal authority.