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The Importance of Fathers

Part 1

Contents of The Importance of Fathers

Page 2:  Fathers Matter

Page 3:  Fathers are Different Than Moms

Page 4:  Father-Daughter Relationships

Page 5:  How Fathers Can Connect with Their Children





Part 2

Fathers Matter

Children need a father’s presence in their lives.

The pressures of fatherhood are great, and our culture has been telling men that being a good provider equates to being a good dad. Research indicates, however, that it isn’t all about the money.

Regardless of your background or current situation, you can be a great dad, and you play a huge role in your child’s healthy development.

Did you know that:

  • Having a loving and nurturing father is as important for a child’s happiness, well-being, and social and academic success as having a loving and nurturing mother?
  • Withdrawal of love by either parent is influences a child’s emotional instability, lack of self-esteem, depression, social withdrawal and level of aggression?
  • In some studies, father love is actually a better predictor than mother love for certain outcomes, including delinquency and conduct problems, substance abuse, and overall mental health and well-being?

Children with an involved, loving father are significantly more likely to:

  • Do well in school
  • Have healthy self-esteem,
  • Exhibit empathy and pro-social behavior, and
  • Avoid high-risk behaviors such as drug use, truancy and criminal activity.

It is often difficult to balance providing for your family and nurturing them, but in most instances, your mere presence is better than tons of things and planned activities.

Here are some tips to help you connect with your children:

  • Ask your children thought-provoking questions and then listen so you can hear what they are thinking.
  • Some of the best things in life are free. Walking on the riverfront across the bridge, horseplay, tumbling on the floor, fishing, riding bikes and flying kites are great ways to connect with your children. Many times children won’t remember things you bought them, but they will remember things you have done with them.

Children grow up really quickly, so maximize precious moments with them.

Read more details here.

Learn more:

The Importance of Father Involvement (video)

Why Fathers Matter

20 Reasons Your Child Needs You


Part 3

Dads and Moms Parent Differently

A dad looks, smells, sounds and acts differently than a mom. Understanding these differences are a child’s first experiences with diversity!

Dads don’t “mother,” they “father,” and according to the Yale Child Study Center, there are beneficial differences between moms and dads. Here are some examples:

  • When moms play with their children, they are more likely to use toys and talk to their children. This kind of play helps enhance a child’s cognitive and social development.
  • When dads play with their children, they are more likely to engage in physical activities like rough and tumble play. This helps with a child’s physical development and coordination in addition to teaching limits and healthy risk-taking.
  • Mothers tend to pick up their infant in the same way over and over—usually to change a diaper, feed the baby or comfort the baby.
  • Fathers usually pick up a baby to do something with him/her, and they pick the baby up differently each time.
  • Fathers use humor more; they tend to make every day activities such as dressing, bathing and feeding more playful.
  • Fathers support “novelty-seeking” behaviors, such as encouraging children to explore their environment. Dads also are more likely to let kids master tasks on their own before stepping in to help.
  • Moms emphasize relationships and the social costs of misbehaving.
  • Fathers discipline by using more real-life consequences. For example, Mom might say: “You’ll hurt your friend’s feelings if you don’t share.” Dad might say: “You won’t have any friends if you’re selfish with your toys.”
  • Fathers adjust their speech patterns for infants, but with older children they tend to use more “adult” language; bigger words and longer sentences.
  • Mothers tend to hold on to “baby talk” longer.
  • Dads provide safe and loving interactions that help build a child’s self-confidence. Infants who have had positive interactions with their fathers are more likely to explore the world around them with excitement and interest. They are less fearful and more curious.

(Work and Family Life 2012)

Learn more:

Dad’s Impact on Teens

Fathering is Child’s Play

The Difference a Dad Makes (video)

Dad Ready

The Importance of Positive Male Role Models



Part 4

Father-Daughter Relationships

How can fathers engage with their daughters?

Try out these excellent tips from the National Center for Fathering:

1.  Involvement – Children need active participation in their lives. Time is more valuable to them than money. Schedule a time to meet regularly with your child, and spend time doing something children enjoy.

2.  Consistency – Keep your word at all costs. Be consistent at home. Let your child know what you expect and what to expect from you.

3.  Awareness – Get to know your child and her close friends. Become an expert on your child. Schedule time to talk alone, because each child has different needs. Remember, during these times of exchange, allow them to express themselves.

4.  Nurturing – Children need affirmation. Praise them, and let them know you love them unconditionally.

The father/daughter relationship plays an integral role in a young girl’s life.

This relationship will give her the self-confidence to deal with challenging issues such as premarital sex, drugs and boyfriends. Without an engaged relationship with her father, many girls float through life looking for someone to fill that void.

Research shows that young girls who grow up without a relationship with their father are at greater risk of:

  • engaging in premarital sex,
  • experiencing problems in school,
  • experiencing depression and anxiety, and
  • abusing drugs and alcohol.

This father/daughter bond is even more important when the father and daughter do not live in the same household.

Keep in mind that little things can mean a lot to daughters.

Small traditions such as weekly phone calls or conversations, writing notes to each other, or a father/daughter date can go a long way in strengthening that special bond.

Learn more:

A Father’s Love

Father-Daughter Relationships

Fun Daddy-Daughter Dates

Always Daddy’s Girl





Part 5

How Fathers Can Connect With Their Kids

  • Plan a regular time for Daddy/Child date to do something fun and adventurous.
  • Write a short message to them on a stick-it note and hide it in their lunch.
  • Let your child help you wash the car or fix something.
  • Play a game with them – one that they want to play.
  • If you like to cook, let them help you.
  • Take them to the park.
  • Teach your child how to do something like build a kite, a soapbox derby car, a paper airplane, etc.
  • Tell them what life was like when you were their age.
  • Listen to them – learn about their favorite things, who their friends are, their favorite game, etc.

Learn more:

Quantity vs. Quality

Fathering From a Distance

Fathering From a Distance (video)

Making Visitation Count

Letters from Dad

A Father’s Wisdom


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