The impact of a father’s presence in a child’s life
As we celebrate father’s day for yet another year, I pause to acknowledge all the fathers who make the effort daily to be exceptional in their roles as fathers. Fathers, like mothers, are pillars in the development of a child’s emotional well-being. Children look to their fathers to lay down the rules and enforce them. They also look to their fathers to provide a feeling of security, both physical and emotional. Children want to make their fathers proud, and an involved father promotes inner growth and strength. Studies have shown that when fathers are affectionate and supportive, it greatly affects a child’s cognitive and social development. It also instills an overall sense of well-being and self confidence.
Research has consistently found that having an involved dad benefits kids. A study at the University Of Maryland School Of Medicine, in Baltimore in the United States, concluded that children who have active fathers learn better, have higher self esteem, and are less prone to depression than those who don’t. There are both physical and mental benefits a father’s presence in their child’s life; we will look at these now:
• Fathers Set the Bar for Relationships with Others:
Fathers not only influence the emotional and cognitive development of their child, but it affects the future relationships with people as the child grows. The way a father treats his child will influence what he or she looks for in other people. Friends, lovers, and spouses will all be chosen based on how the child perceived the meaning of the relationship with his or her father. The patterns a father sets in the relationships with his children will dictate how his children relate with other people.
• Fathers and Their Daughters:
Young girls depend on their fathers for security and emotional support. A father shows his daughter what a good relationship with a man is like. I distinctly remember how my father made me feel growing up; I was treated nothing short of that of a princess. The research shows, that if a father is loving and gentle, his daughter will look for those qualities in men when she’s old enough to begin dating. If a father is strong and valiant, she will relate closely to men of the same character.
• Fathers and Their Sons:
Unlike girls, who model their relationships with others based on their father’s character, boys model themselves after their father’s character. Boys will seek approval from their fathers from a very young age. As human beings, we grow up by imitating the behavior of those around us; that’s how we learn to function in the world. If a father is caring and treats people with respect, the young boy will grow up much the same. When a father is absent, young boys look to other male figures to set the “rules” for how to behave and survive in the world; sadly this is often not found.
• Cognitive development and education:
Recent research has also opened our eyes to the fact that the father’s day-to-day involvement with their children influences their education and cognitive development as well. Several studies have shown that fathers’ involvement with their children in activities such as reading and outings together predicted children’s further educational progression. Similarly, children with involved fathers were more likely to graduate from high school and college.
From these, it’s clear to see that a father’s contributions to children’s cognitive development go well beyond just the financial resources available to them. So dads, it is imperative that you take hands on approach in helping your children with their school work.
“The quality of a father can be seen in the goals, dreams and aspirations he sets not only for himself, but for his family”.