Three Cheers for Dad

Three Cheers for Dad

With Father’s Day coming up this Sunday, it’s a good time to look at the important role fathers play in the lives of their children.

In our culture, as in most, we tend to focus on the mother-child bond as primary, but fathers play just as important a role in the emotional well-being of their offspring. Sociologist Dr. David Popenoe, one of the pioneers in the field of research into fathers and fatherhood, says, “Fathers are far more than just ‘second adults’ in the home. Involved fathers bring positive benefits to their children that no other person is as likely to bring.”

One of the most important ways a father can help is to have a positive relationship with his children’s mother. A study from the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services titled The Importance of Fathers in the Healthy Development of Children stated, “A father who has a good relationship with the mother of their children is more likely to be involved and to spend time with their children and to have children who are psychologically and emotionally healthier.

“Similarly, a mother who feels affirmed by her children’s father and who enjoys the benefits of a happy relationship is more likely to be a better mother. Indeed, the quality of the relationship affects the parenting behavior of both parents. They are more responsive, affectionate, and confident with their infants; more self-controlled in dealing with defiant toddlers; and better confidants for teenagers seeking advice and emotional support.”

From The Importance of Fathers in the Healthy Development of Children, here are some other ways that the father-child bond is so important:

  • A father’s behavior serves as a role model for boys on the way women should be treated. When they act respectfully and affectionately with the mother of their children, boys learn to mirror that behavior in their relationships with females.
  • Similarly, girls with fathers who are respectful and loving to their wives and other women in their lives are less likely to get involved in harmful relationships with men in the future.
  • Children with fathers who interact and play with them end up having higher IQs and being more successful in their academic endeavors.
  • Children with involved fathers tend to be emotionally secure, confident and socially connected with their peers. They’re also are less likely to get in trouble at home or in school.
  • In general, fathers promote independence.  While mothers stress nurturing, fathers focus on achievement, both of which are important to a child’s healthy development.

So, on this Father’s Day, let’s hear it for the all the dads who actively nurture healthy and happy relationships with their children!