Father’s Day is a time to celebrate the fathers or father figures in our lives. Fathers play an essential role in a child’s life and positively influence our society.
Children learn through modeling behavior. Both men and women are vital to children’s emotional, social, and intellectual growth because males and females communicate, think, feel, react, respond, perceive, love, need, and appreciate differently.
Traditionally fathers have been the breadwinner, disciplinarians, and authority figures. But societal roles and boundaries have significantly shifted over the years. Today’s father has developed past the traditional model. What hasn’t changed is the role of being a dad and how dads affect and shape children.
Presently, dads are significantly involved in parenting in a more direct, intimate, and present way. In fact, a present and involved father is key to better outcomes on nearly every measure of child’s wellbeing. According to Psychology Today, “Fathers are not just helpers for mothers but are important to children in their own right. For example, children with sensitive and supportive fathers have higher levels of social competence and better peer relationships. Children whose fathers provide them with learning materials and speak with them frequently perform better in school and have more advanced language skills.”
For my son, it is critical for me that my husband is involved in all parts of his life. He is a role model for him – showing my son what it truly means to be a well-rounded man and member of our society.
Fathers and father figures must truly lead by example. They must attend the soccer games and dance recitals, take the time out of their day to sit and help with homework, or listen to their children’s frustrations from school. According to research from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, “In numerous studies, positive father involvement is associated with children’s higher academic achievement; greater school readiness; stronger math and verbal skills; greater emotional security; higher self-esteem; fewer behavioral problems; and greater social competence than found among children who do not have caring, involved fathers.”
My son and my daughters are constantly watching how my husband treats others and they use that as a standard for their own lives. He is the measure by which they establish healthy male relationships. Children are always watching their parents, which is why what a father says and does matters.
Parents and parent figures must also raise their sons to understand their own worth and importance as a part of the family unit. Sons who take this responsibility seriously grow up to become good fathers. This expectation must be set at a young age, along with the standards we expect from our sons, which give them something to aspire to.
I urge everyone this Father’s Day to recognize the father and father figures in their lives with the gift of time, love, and appreciation. Be present, talk, and listen. Take the time to tell your dad or father figure just how much you appreciate his love and commitment to you over the years and how much you’ve learned from him. Let him know how much of a difference he’s made in your life.
And for those fathers who have fallen short, it is never too late to become the father you aspire to be or need to be for your children.
Happy Father’s Day to my dad, father-in-law, and husband.