When people talk about a child’s development, the word ‘mother’ always comes to their mind first. There is even a phrase called “mother’s love” that exists, which gives root to the belief that feminine love is crucial for a child’s optimal growth and development.
Thus, the role of a father is often neglected or viewed as secondary in comparison to that of a mother. However, more and more research has started to prove that fathers have a crucial role to play in shaping a child’s life. In this article, we are going to tell you exactly why the presence of a father figure is crucial for a child and to what extent it aids in shaping a child’s overall development.
Father – The forgotten hero
For centuries, our society had painted the picture of a father as the breadwinner and the mother as a caregiver for the family. We always focus on the role of a mother and her importance in a child’s life and thus fathers are often undermined, when it comes to raising their child. Fathers also often get ridiculed in society for admitting to changing their baby’s diapers or taking paternity leave from their office, due to our ingrained gender roles and traditional social norms. However, contrary to these popular beliefs and notions, a father can be one of the pillars of development in a child’s physical, mental and emotional well-being.
Cognitive development is defined as the “skills involved in performing the tasks associated with perception, learning, memory, understanding, awareness, reasoning, judgment, intuition, and language.” A 2019 study found that a father’s involvement in a child’s development led to a “positive” and “statistically significant” development in a child’s cognitive skills. This primarily means that a father is responsible for a child’s all-around growth and development.
A 2020 study backed this when they found out that “fathers’ involvement in care and early initiation of cognitive development activities have a positive impact on a child’s social-behavioral, cognitive-academic and emotional-psychological development.” This essentially means that when a child has a father figure to look up to from an early age, the child tends to show a positive development in all aspects ranging from psychological to even their performance at school and in academics.
Importance of a father
Children who have their father with them from an early age are more likely to be more emotionally secure, confident and would make better social connections with people. They are more likely to perform better in school and academics than those children who did not have their dad with them. They are more likely to be better at communication and also have better intellectual functioning. Down below we have shared some of the important reasons, backed by research on the importance of a father in a child’s life.
1. A father helps to boost a child’s intellect
A father can help a child develop his/her intelligence from an early age. They can help with a child’s problem-solving abilities and emotional intelligence. A 2020 study has shown that children whose fathers took active participation in their growth since birth perform better on cognitive and analytical assessments and also exhibit increased interest in curiosity and observation. Children whose dads are active in their life also perform better in school, especially in verbal and arithmetic tests.
2. A father as a role model
Children always observe their parents and how they treat other people. The role of a father is thus important for a child as they get familiar with the role of a man. A son will try to imitate his father’s behavior and grow up into men with similar attributes. Daughters on the other hand can use their father as a role model when they seek their partners, looking for the same characteristics their father had. Thus, fathers should always try to model positive behavior for their children.
3. A father helps to boost a child’s confidence
The presence of a father helps a child understand their value and makes them feel loved. Children who have their father with them grow up into adults who have a high self esteem and feel confident and secure about themselves. They are more adaptive to stress, they do not hesitate or fear new events or situations and also have a strong will power, which prevents them from bowing down to peer or social pressure. They are people who are generally happy and will not be afraid to stand up for themselves if the need arises.