Dads matter—a lot. The relationship between father and child has a deep impact on a child’s overall healthy development. Check out the fatherhood facts below that show the many ways dads positively impact a child’s long-term development.
1. Children whose fathers are involved in their daily care such as feeding, bathing and playing together, tend to be more confident; and, as they grow older, enjoy stronger social connections with peers.
2. The rough-and-tumble kind of play that fathers engage in with their young children helps them regulate their feelings and behavior. It teaches children how to deal with aggressive impulses and physical contact in socially acceptable ways. While mothers are more likely to form secure attachments by comforting their children when they are distressed, fathers are more likely to provide security in the context of the controlled excitement of play or discipline. This helps children learn where the boundaries of safety and risk-taking exist in the world—a very important skill that builds self-regulation and can prevent problems with aggression and violence later on.
3. The more time fathers spend in enriching, stimulating play with their child—such as playing pretend or sharing stories—the better the child’s math and reading scores are at 10 and 11 years old.
4. Children with involved fathers tend to be more patient; and, when they are older, they can handle the stresses and frustrations associated with schooling more easily than children with less involved fathers. Children of involved fathers are also less likely to get in trouble at home, in school, and in the neighborhood, and they are less likely to experience depression.
5. When fathers are found to be emotionally and physically remote from their infants at 3 months and again at 12 months of age, by the time they enter preschool the children were found to be more aggressive with their peers. This was particularly true for boys and occurred independently from how the mothers behaved with their infants.