Fathers Play Important Role In Children’s Lives
Fathers who are actively and positively involved with their children can help equip them with the skills they will need to handle life’s inevitable challenges, according to a Texas A&M University System professor and child development specialist.
Stephen Green, assistant director of Family and Community Health for the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, said that research also demonstrates that fathers play a vital role in their children’s lives. And while there are always exceptions, he said, children who grow up with positively-involved fathers tend to do better socially, emotionally, financially and academically than children whose fathers are not engaged in their lives.
“Responsible fatherhood includes commitment, consistency, self-sacrifice, integrity and unconditional love,” Green said. “Fathers, in my opinion, also have a moral obligation to help provide for and care for their children. This is accomplished, ideally, when a father works closely together with the mother to raise the child. “
According to the Pew Research Center, while more American children are living without a father in the home, the role of fatherhood in family life has become more active. About a quarter of couples who live with children younger than 18 reported in 2016 that the father was the only parent who worked, compared to half of these couples in 1970 who were in families in which only the father worked. In addition to the rise of dual-income families, research suggests that fathers also have a more active role in child care than they did 50 years ago. Today, American fathers spend an average of eight hours per week on child care – about triple the time they put in in 1965.
Active fathers who prepare their kids for life’s challenges are those who love, praise, protect, teach and set an example for them, Green said. He encourages fathers to look for ways to become more involved with their children.
This might involve helping more with basic child care, engaging in regular conversations with their children about their interests and lives, attending their extracurricular activities or helping with homework. Green also suggests doing something active like playing a sport or taking a walk, eating meals together, attending worship services and generally being a positive role model.
“Today, nearly 20 million children in the U.S. live without a father in the home,” Green said. “This is unfortunate given what we know about the important role that fathers play in their children’s lives and the consequences of father absence.”