Studies show that fathers play a crucial role in the psychological development of their sons and daughters. In addition, children raised without a father experience many more problems than those from intact families.
While there are many families in which the father is present, it is essential to make their presence felt. For instance, abusive fathers have nothing but a negative impact on their children and wives, in addition, true for fathers who are alcoholics, drug-addicted, or criminals. In addition, fathers who are present but uninvolved with their families do not positively impact their children. Therefore, most important to the family is that fathers be “actively involved” with their children.
What is meant by a father’s “active involvement?” According to some of the research, “active involvement is defined in terms of (a) engagement (directly interacting); (b) accessibility (being available); and (c)responsibility(providing resources). Actively-involved fathers have close and affectionate relationships with their children; they spend time with their children; they talk to them about things that matter; and they are the kind of person their children want to be as adults.”
That last sentence, “and they are the kind of person their children want to be as adults,” is imperative. The father is a role model for boys and girls for how a man is supposed to be. As a positive role model, the father reveals the male person as loving, hard-working, responsible, available and dependable. But, of course, the father does not work alone in the family context. The way mom and dad interact with each other and the children help shape the kind of people. The cooperation and friendliness of both parents are essential even if the parents are divorced.
It is essential to understand that the role of the modern-day father has changed. According to the American Psychological Association,
The Changing Role of the Modern Day Father
The modern-day father comes in various forms. Today’s father is no longer always the traditional married breadwinner and disciplinarian. Instead, he can be single or married, externally employed or stay-at-home, gay or straight, an adoptive or step-parent, and a more than capable caregiver to children facing physical or psychological challenges. Psychological research across families from all ethnic backgrounds suggests that fathers’ affection and increased family involvement help promote children’s social and emotional development.
What has brought this change in roles for men as fathers?
Divorced and step-fathers
In summary, the modern-day father can contribute to his children’s health and well-being by maintaining a healthy relationship with the other parent even in cases of divorce; providing emotional and financial support, appropriate monitoring and discipline; and most importantly, by remaining a permanent and loving presence in their lives.