The Impact of Fatherhood: Why Dads Are Essential for Child Development

by Ivy B
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As we approach Father’s Day, I wanted to reflect on why active fathers are important in their children’s lives. This is how dads contribute to the growth and development of their children. Don’t forget to thank a father figure for the positive things they do for their kids!

We all know the importance of mothers on the development of children.

Mothers are typically more nurturing.

Mothers are often more involved in education.

Mothers usually coordinate the majority of responsibilities.

Many of our roles comes from a long history of stereotypical behaviors and expectations as women have been the ones to stay home with children.

In recent years, we’ve seen men transforming into better partners and more involved fathers. Maybe it’s the fact that so many women, these days, have lofty career goals. Maybe women have gotten more outspoken about what they expect the men to do for their children.

During the pandemic and safer at home orders, I saw more memes and genuine conversation about how men finally understood what it was like to stay home with kids all day. In turn, men become more appreciative and helpful around the house and with children. More women were rejoicing in this time over this one small thing more than I’ve seen in the 9 years I’d been a parent.

Maybe being home all this time helped to highlight the importance of fathers to their children.

importance of a father in a child's life

3 Reasons Active Fathers Are Important to Children

Do you have fond memories of your dad when you were growing up?

Was your dad not around when you were growing up?

In either situation, you can probably list a few ways in which you feel your fathers presence or absence affected your childhood. You can also pinpoint reasons fathers play important roles in their child’s life. But, we want to highlight some important reasons to reassure a special man in your child’s life exactly why dads are important to their kids!

Teaching Through Play

father playing with kids in sunset

We all know that mothers are busy doing what needs to be done. Dads, on the other hand, seem to be hardwired to play!

Moms can lament that “dad’s the fun one and I’m home all day working and being the ‘bad guy’.” But, play is an essential part of every child’s life. It’s how they learn about the world around them and dads are usually ready to oblige.

Kids learn valuable life skills through rough-and-tumble play with their fathers!

Rough-and-tumble play has been linked to:

Cognitive Development

Children with good dads are smarter!

Active and engaged fathers play a huge role in the intellect of their children. Such fathers increase the influence of problem-solving skills and fewer behavioral problems in schools.

Although dad is typically the most fun, he can also be the most structured. Sure you’ve experienced the kids behavior improve the moment dad steps in the door…

Self Esteem

father kissing baby - why fathers are important to their kids

This study mentions that girls are more adversely affected by absentee dads when it comes to self esteem. Because of which, being an active and engaged father must help with self esteem.

Playing with a father will help build a child’s trust and self-confidence. Dads usually take greater risks and are more likely to allow kids to take bigger risks themselves. What better way to help promote kids’ abilities to get out of their comfort zones and learn new things or get better at something?

Fathers can also teach their children about self-respect and how to treat others. A father can teach a son how to treat women while he shows his daughter what to expect out of men. The better job a man does, himself, the better his kids will grow to know and expect the same or better for themselves.

Other things dads do for their children

Fathering a child is just the beginning of an incredible journey for their families. Those men who are involved and make an impact on their children’s lives for their greater good earn the respected title of DAD or DADDY. Dad’s are often:

  • Role models
  • Protectors
  • Enforcers

Effects of Absentee Fathers

To really drive home the importance of fathers, Edward Kruk, Ph.D., in is article Father Absence, Father Deficit, Father Hunger states that the absence or loss of a father can cause problems, including but not limited to:

  • Feelings of abandonment
  • Behavioral issues
  • Problems at school
  • Increase in criminal behavior
  • Early sexual encounters and increased risk for teen pregnancy

I’m constantly grateful for my husband and our meaningful and loving marriage because of what we’re able to model to our children about love and treatment of others, especially our spouses.

Do you know someone who could use some encouragement or a simple reminder as to why dads are important to their kids? If so, don’t forget to share!

Why Fathers are Important – FAQs

What are the roles of a father?

Dads can play many roles, but traditionally fathers are providers, protectors, and role models. Good fathers also aim to balance the scales by offering encouragement and friendship to their children.

Why are fathers the head of the family?

Traditionally, fathers have been the providers of the household and model to their children how to be a partner or what to expect in a partner as the first man in their lives. Studies have shown that active dads are beneficial for their kids’ futures.

What is the most important thing for a father?

Dads needs to remember to be active and engaged in raising their children. Although not a comprehensive list, dads should:

  • spend quality time with their kids
  • provide discipline balanced with positive reinforcement
  • Be a role model

This post originally appeared on SAHM, plus… in 2020 and has been updated.

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