We usually associate children’s upbringing with mothers, rarely considering fathers to play an important part in early childhood development. But studies show that fathers who are actively involved in the upbringing of their children increase children’s academic readiness (p. 12).
How else does father involvement influence a child?
Let’s delve into more on this subject!
Father involvement in early childhood development improves a child’s cognitive and learning abilities
From as early as birth, a father’s presence makes a child more immune to stress and better prepared for school in general. Moreover, 6-month-old toddlers raised with active involvement of their fathers “score higher on Bayley Scales of Infant Development” – FIRA. Other studies suggest that increased fatherly involvement might result in children’s’ higher IQ levels and improved learning performance. When fathers spend quality time with their children, playing games or doing physical activity together, they can expect their children to grow more resilient and healthily.
The presence of a father strengthens family bonds
Studies suggest that fathers supporting mothers in parental duties has positive influence on the development of a child’s social norms. Also, the quality of the mother-father relationship, whether or not the couple is separated, increases a child’s well-being. And fathers can come in many forms: granddads, uncles, family friends. It’s all about providing a child with a father-figure. Raised in considerate, cooperative, and respectful mother-father relationships, regardless of the form, children are more apt to exhibit and seek the same qualities in their future relationships in adulthood.
Mothers raising children with a partners are more likely to improve the quality of their motherhood (p. 7). Aided by their partners, mothers feel and perform better, being more attentive mothers. Children are attuned to the slightest fluctuations in emotions and attitudes around the household. They hear and see a lot more than parents might think. That is why cooperative and loving mother-father interaction is so important in childhood development.
Fathers improve social competence
As we saw in the paper The Impact of Fathers on Children’s Well-Being linked to above, children raised with an active involvement of fathers are less likely to engage in risky behaviours, and are more socially open and empathetic. The presence of a father can be linked to a more stable future behaviour, where children grow to be more responsible and cautious. By talking and listening to their children, fathers can make their children feel more confident and safe, more likely to build sustainable social connections.
Fathers can affect children’s view on gender and role values
Depending on the child’s gender, involved fathers can influence a child’s outlook on role values. Boys can look up to their fathers as role models, shaping their masculinity and proper “gender identity.” Daughters, on the other hand, are said to grow more independent, successful, and self-confident when cheered by their fathers during early childhood, as well as in teenage and adolescent years. Boys grow up wanting to be like their fathers, girls, on the other hand, seek partnership with partners resembling their fathers.
The presence and quality of fatherhood influences a child from birth and can have long-lasting outcome on the whole life of a child. From the atmosphere around the house, and the interaction with a child during play, to daily responsiveness and attentiveness, a father’s role is crucial in a child’s development.