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. But the roles of the father is equally important for a kid’s development.
Thus, the role of 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.
As Father’s Day 2023 is near, we are going to tell you the roles of the father, 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 the role of fathers in parenting is 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, the role of father in our life is non-negotiable. It is also seen as 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-round 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. That is the importance of a father in a child’s life.
Roles Of The Father In A Child’s Life
Children who have their father with them from an early age are more likely to be more emotionally secure, and 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 their 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. That’s why a father’s role in effective parenting should never be ignored. The role of a father is 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 a man 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, and this is one of the most important roles of the father.
3. A father helps to boost a child’s confidence
The role of the father in child development should always be acknowledged. The presence of a father helps a child understand their value and makes them feel loved. Children who have their fathers with them grow up into adults who have high self-esteem and feel confident and secure about themselves.
They are more adaptive to stress, do not hesitate or fear new events or situations, and also have strong willpower, 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.
4. A father as a counselor
A father’s role can be important in allowing a child to ask difficult questions and learn about the world they are in. A father will be able to answer better to young girls and boys about puberty and sexual behavior than a mother.
Also, having the presence of a father figure for any kind of advice or counseling is essential to let a child know that he/she is loved and protected at all times. They should know that their father always has their back, no matter the difficulties they face in life.
5. A father as a friend
Just like a counselor, a father should focus on building a healthy relationship with their children. This will ensure that a father-child relationship is one where the child trusts their dad and confides in them.
They will be less likely to indulge in immoral activities or bad habits and can turn to their father whenever they feel like it for a friendly word of advice.
One of the most important things that a father can do for their child is to be active. This involves being with your partner from the time when she gives birth. Studies have found that mothers are 1.5 times more likely to receive prenatal care and also chances of complications and mortality are reduced during birth when the father is present.
From infancy to early childhood to even adolescence, fathers should be present to love, support, and protect their children. The roles of the father are many and equally important.
Modern society has indeed recognized the need for the equal involvement of both parents in a child’s overall development. Fatherhood programs are on the rise in the US, where to-be-dads are taught and guided about the importance of being a good father.
There is without a shadow of a doubt that the roles of the father in a child’s development, the roles of father in the family, and the duties of the father to his children are irreplaceable. So, let us all start appreciating fatherhood and not just motherhood from now onwards.
To all the fathers in the world – Happy Father’s day!!!!