As Father’s Day is quickly approaching it causes most of us to pause and give thought to how much we appreciate our fathers and to ponder how much they have done for us. As a fatherly care giver have you ever wondered if you are truly making a difference? Have you ever wondered how you can be more involved in your child’s life?
Well as I am sure we can all guess studies show that involved dads are extremely beneficial for kids. Children of involved fathers are more likely to demonstrate a greater tolerance for stress and frustration (Mischel, Shoda, & Peake, 1988), have superior problem solving and adaptive skills (Biller, 1993), be more playful, resourceful, skillful, and attentive when presented with a problem (Mischel et al., 1988), and are better able to manage their emotions and impulses in an appropriate manner. Father involvement contributes significantly and independently to adolescent happiness (Flouri & Buchanan, 2003a).
I came across the following article at www.livescience.com which claims “Dads influence their kids’ lives particularly strongly in four areas, Wilcox, who co-edited the book “Gender and Parenthood: Biological and Social Scientific Perspectives” (Columbia University Press, 2013), told LiveScience. One is how they play with their kids: Dads are more likely to roughhouse than moms, a style of play that helps teach kids to control their bodies and emotions. Fathers are also more likely to encourage their kids to embrace risk, both on the playground and in life. This influences the ambitions of children over the long run.
They also claim that a strong relationship with dads protects kids as well. Children with involved fathers are less likely to become victims of sexual assault or abuse. They tend to avoid situations that may cause them harm and lead to circumstances a father may not want his child to be in. “Teens listen to their dads, even if it may not seem like it”.
Wilcox also said, “a dad tends to lay down firmer discipline than moms. Mothers discipline children more because they spend more time with kids but their strategies tend to allow for more negotiation and bent rules. Neither strategy is better or worse but it benefits kids to be exposed to both.”
So basically children with involved fathers have more positive psychological, behavioral, and education outcomes. Also, children with engaged fathers are less likely to be delinquent or abuse drugs and alcohol. The more fathers engage with their children the healthier and happier they will become.
Ok so now that we know the importance of having an engaged father; let’s look at how a father can become more involved in their child’s life. Engaging in more active verses inactive activities will increase bonding and there’s a big difference between being around and being involved. Look for ways in which you can become a more active father by transitioning from simply being there to being part of things, even if the activity is as simple as playtime.
Research suggests that active pursuits like tossing a football, playing basketball, hiking or going to the library are more valuable than spending time in passive activities such as watching television or playing video games. Studies also show benefits to engaging in productive activities with children, such as household chores, washing dishes after dinner or cleaning up the backyard. These types of shared activities promote a sense of responsibility and significance in children that is, in turn, linked to greater self-esteem, academic and career success, and mental well-being later in life. Research also suggests that educational activities like reading to children helps to foster their intellectual growth.
An article that can be located at www.fathersrights.com gives us 5 ideas for different levels of involvement to help fathers get started. The article goes in to more detail but basically outlines the following; get more involved in their schooling, participate in their extra-curricular activities, plan activities that you will lead, play with them and read to them and take your kids to work for the day.
Kids want the kind of stability that comes with knowing their father’s are there for them, and father’s can learn new insights by gaining the perspectives of their children. Being involved in your kids’ lives means keeping an eye on them too, which helps prevents getting involved with groups or activities that can lead to concerning behaviors. Fathers ARE important and we don’t know what we would do without you. Happy Father’s day to all!