The Importance Of A Father Figure

What difference does a dad make? Are they really that important?

For the most part, studies have consistently demonstrated that father’s - whether they live with their children or not, matter in the lives of their children. When fathers are present, they provide economic support for their children and assume emotional and caregiving responsibilities. Well-fathered children are shown to be more emotionally intelligent and socially successful as adults. When fathers are absent, their absence may negatively impact children's academic achievement, gender-specific development, general behavioral adjustment and anger management, especially in males.


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Yet just being physically present isn't enough to be a great father. It is critical that a dad be warm and emotionally available to his child. Author and researcher, John Gottman, describes this kind of father as an "emotion coaching father." Emotion Coaches are parents who listen to their children's feelings, see the sharing of feelings as an opportunity for intimacy, and validate their children's emotions.


While children may not always recognize the importance dad plays in their lives, most children long for and need a loving, involved and responsible father or father-figure. It is far more important to be emotionally engaged in the life of your child than, the newspaper, your hobby or even your job . . . if for no other reason than to avoid the risk of being put on the trading block!


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Why Are Male Role Models So Important?

  • Just like a student needs a math teacher to teach him math, or a swimming teacher to teach him swimming, he needs a male role model to teach him to be a man. And not just any man, a strong, capable man with a good sense of right and wrong. When a son does not have a father to look to as a positive role model, he may turn toward outside influences. Boys may aspire to be like the rappers, rockers, actors, and athletes who permeate our culture or even older kids in the neighborhood. Without a solid, consistent male role model in their lives, boys drift towards manhood without a compass, and easily end up lost.


Providing Other Examples of Positive Male Role Models:

  • A child without a father is not doomed to a life of crime and mental disorders. Single moms should actively seek out alternative male role models for their sons and daughters. Male teachers make for wonderful male role models. Male coaches, male youth group leaders or pastors, music teachers, grandfathers, uncles, and even community mentors can make great male role models.


Benefits of Male Role Models:

  • Fathers who provide their time and attention to their children will produce more secure, disciplined, and successful children. Kids without father figures can connect with positive male role models in their school, community, or extended family to achieve similar effects. Single moms need to take the time to make sure that their children's exposure to negative male role models is limited while helping their children bond with men who are willing to make a positive difference in a child's life.


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