Dads and their role in their family has been the subject of countless studies in the last 60 years.  In fact at last count it was over 4000 of them.  Often dad’s today wonder what their real role is and whether it really matters or not if they are involved in their children’s lives.  They see their kids who are obviously more attached to their mothers and wonder if they really have that much influence in the bigger picture?

 So why all these studies regarding Dads and their role?  Well let’s just look at this from a historical perspective.  The interest in dads and their role in their family started in the 1940’s and took off in the 1950’s.  This makes sense because dads were in the war or national service at that time and absent from their families.  After this studies looked at what happened to children as a result of having no father as dads were often killed in the war.  Fast forward to the present day where the issue is still the same, dad’s being absent from their families however today the causes are due to divorce or long working hours.

To sum it up fast – Dad’s matter!  They play a hugely important role in their children’s lives.  It has been described as a ‘slow burn’ effect, where the mother is the most influential in the early years however dads come into their own as the years move by and by adolescent and early adult years their effect is quite clearly seen on their children’s lives.

Kids that have Dad’s who are “actively involved” we know have an advantage over kids with a distant or no relationship with their dads.  What exactly is “actively involved”  well it is if - you are interested in what has happened at their school, what they learnt today, what happened with their friends, you read to your child, you take your children out with you, you take an interest in their education and you take an role equal to mum in managing them.  All these types of things show and tell your child that you are interested in them.

Children that have a father in their lives do far better at school and  exams, have better relationships with other kids, have better romantic adult relationships, far less behavioural problems, actually it can be summed up as fewer problem overall as a teenager and as an adult.

It is overwhelming the amount of evidence that shows that it is the first 5 years that set all the building blocks for your child’s future.  If they have a secure and active relationship with their father and this continues age 8, 10, 12 years of age the effect of dads is quite crucial to their child’s development.  Did you know that if girls have this active relationship with their father for these ages puberty will be delayed by 5 years!!

So Dad’s don’t underestimate your role and influence in your children you offer a priceless and extremely significant part to play in your children’s lives and future life.  The earlier you get involved the better.....  Who ever decided long work hours were a good thing??

Nicole Pierotti

Written by Nicole Pierotti

© Copyright 2012. No reprinting or publishing without permission from writer. For permission or further information contact nicole@babysmiles.com.au.

6 Responses to Why Dad’s Matter…

  1. Greg Canning says:

    Thanks Nicole for such a clear and concise statement on the benifits for everyone of involved fatherhood. Pitty this message does not get throught to policy makers who promote sole parenthood and encourage family breakdown via idologically motivated, biased laws!

    • Thanks Greg, the benefits are amazing and often not talked about – I’m reading a very good book by an australian psychologist at the moment who works in this area and has done so for 20 yrs + – such an big picture view of seperation and the affects on children – “Shared Care or Divided Lives” by Phil Watts if anyone is interested in more insights in this area…. which are often unknown to law courts and policy makers.

  2. Steve says:

    Strange, i’m a dad, my young son has always been attched to me, more so now, I have always fed and cared for him.

    He cries when he see the mother and runs away, I have seen she ignores and hits him.

    • Attachment is based in those early years on who cares for you so if you did this or most of it for your son then yes, certainly you would be his main bond. Enjoy being with him.

  3. Miles Groth says:

    This is an important article. I hope the author will cite all the studies. I’d be happy to work with her on putting together the bibliography! The public needs to hear about this. It is a major issue for boys’ well-being!

  4. Of course dad’s role is important as well as the mom in their child’s development. Parents play an irreplaceable role in the lives of their children. Children learn more quickly during their early years than at any other time in life. They need love and nurturing to develop a sense of trust and security that turns into confidence as they grow.

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