The Importance of Fathers
by Amy Scholten, MPH
We always hear how mothers are important to a child's development. But fathers (or father figures) who are good role models make a big difference too. Supportive fathers can help a child's:
Studies have shown that children with supportive fathers or father figures are:
More apt to:
Less apt to:
There are many ways supportive fathers help their child's intellect. Children have lots of questions. Mothers and fathers often answer those questions differently. This helps children see other points of view and be better at solving problems.
Children with two supportive parents can also learn more life skills. For example, mom may help her child with reading or science projects. Dad may teach the child how to play a guitar or fix engines. Mom may be great at helping her child be curious. But a supportive father can add to that child's curiosity.
Emotional Well-being and General Health
Active fathers help children feel more loved. This has a positive impact on their emotions and behavior. Having steady support and love helps children develop higher self-esteem. This can help them make good choices.
How to Be a Supportive Father
You can be supportive even if you are not the child's biological father. Even if you do not live with your child, you can still make a difference.
Being a good father means understanding your children. This includes their activities and their friends. Not sure how to begin? Here are some tips that may help:
Being a supportive father is not just good for your child. It is also good for you.
Administration for Children & Families
National Fatherhood Initiative
Canadian Psychiatric Association
Mental Health Canada
Appreciating how fathers give children a head start. Head Start—U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Available at: https://eclkc.ohs.acf.hhs.gov/family-engagement/article/appreciating-how-fathers-give-children-head-start. Accessed June 13, 2021.
5 important ways fathers can impact child development. Child Crisis Arizona website. Available at: https://childcrisisaz.org/5-major-ways-fathers-impact-child-development. Accessed June 13, 2021.
5 things you should know about the importance of fathers. Child and Family Research Partnership—University of Texas website. Available at: https://childandfamilyresearch.utexas.edu/5-things-you-should-know-about-importance-fathers. Accessed June 13, 2021.
The importance of fathers in the healthy development of children. Child Welfare Information Gateway—U.S. Department of Health and Human Sevices website. Aavialble at: https://www.childwelfare.gov/pubs/usermanuals/fatherhood. Accessed June 13, 2021.
Last reviewed June 2021 by EBSCO Medical Review Board
Last Updated: 6/13/2021
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