According to the American Pediatric Association, Massachusetts children with involved dads perform better academically and socially than those with less involved fathers. Children who grow up with a dad who listens to them are more adaptable and better at managing their emotions, including self-soothing during times of stress. In a world where the challenges of raising children continue to mount, let’s appreciate the following four assets engaged dads provide to their children, constituting their irreplaceable influence.
1. Dads set the bar of comparison for other relationships. The way a father treats his child powerfully influences the characteristics that the child seeks in other relationships. This awareness begins at birth as the child observes how dad treats their mother. As the child matures, they choose other intimate friendships based on their perception of their relationship with their father. A child holds their dad in high esteem. In fact, research suggests that a deep scar is created when a father separates from the family, leaving the child feeling less trustworthy in relationships. No one can replace dad as an influential role model.
2. Dads influence their daughter’s perspective of men. From birth, a daughter depends on her dad for security and emotional support. As the first model of the way a man shows love, his relationship with her is a powerful influence over her perception of men in the future. When a father is loving and gentle, he teaches her that these characteristics are as common in men as stamina and character strength. He is irreplaceable because she hangs onto his every word and scrutinizes his every movement.
3. Dads shape their son’s character. From an early age, sons model themselves after their father’s character and seek his approval. A son learns how to be a man based on observations of his father’s words and actions. The lasting impression of a disengaged father can lead to feelings of inadequacy and a sense of being lost, often compelling a son to seek other male role models. No one can replace the character-building function that a caring and respectful dad provides to a son.
4. Dads instill self-sufficiency in their children. In many families, dads emphasize independence and exploration of the outside world, while moms focus more on nurturing. Both roles are critical for the health and well-being of the child. Kids who grow up with an involved dad exhibit greater confidence in exploration, an increased capacity for managing their emotions, and a greater likelihood of participating in pro-social activities. Additionally, pediatricians support the idea that children who have good relationships with their fathers are less likely to behave disruptively or turn to violence. A dad is an irreplaceable symbol of solidarity, independence, and confidence.
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