IMPACT OF FATHERS
Fathers Play a Critical RoleÂ
â€śMommy, what did you do with my Daddy? I need a Daddy or I canâ€™t be a kid. Did you get mad at him and make him go away? Didnâ€™t you like him? Didnâ€™t he like me? Does he have other children? Where can I find him? Could we ever get married? Can I write him a letter? Has he ever seen me? Do you have a picture of him with me?â€ť
â€” girl, age 5
â€śDad, I hope you're not even halfway through your life yet so that we can have as much time together as possible. I love you and need you more than when I was a little boy, regardless of how I treat you and act in public.â€ť
â€” an adolescent son on his dadâ€™s 45th birthday
As this five year old girl and adolescent boy tell us in a very touching way, fathers have a critical impact on our children. Perhaps this is common sense, but well-established research tells us that a fatherâ€™s emotional engagement with his children leads to multiple positive outcomes. It is not primarily the amounts of time fathers spend with their children, but rather how they interact with them that is most important. The same principles of relating apply to resident and non-resident dads.
A dad needs to know about his childâ€™s world, give encouragement, talk over problems, and give advice. In other words, dads need to be involved with what is important to their children.
What impact do dads have? What are the advantages if dads are involved?
According to Kyle Pruett, a well-known expert in child development, father involvement leads to a host of positive outcomes for children:
Children who feel closeness to their father are:
- Twice as likely to enter college or find stable employment after high school
- 75% less likely to have a teen birth
- 80% less likely to spend time in jail
- Half as likely to experience multiple depression symptoms
Educationally, children with involved fathers show:
- Higher-grade completion and income
- Higher math competence (in girls)
- Greater verbal strength (in boys and girls)
Emotionally, children who are close to an emotionally engaged father have:
- Greater problem-solving competence
- Greater empathy, moral sensitivity and reduced gender stereotyping
Behaviorally, children with engaged fathers show:
- Delay in initial sexual activity
- Less reliance on aggressive conflict resolution
- Reduced contact with the juvenile justice system
- Reduced rate of subsequent divorce as adults
That's a very impressive list of advantages to your children if you are emotionally involved! All you dads are all very important whether you live with your children or you arenâ€™t able to for some reason. Take the job seriously and the rewards to you and to your children are powerful.