A Father’s Influence
Male Parental Units, or MPUs, as they are known in the 1993 movie “The Coneheads,” are vital influences in their children’s lives. More commonly known as fathers and dads, MPUs have strong effects on how their children develop. Research corroborates the idea that children benefit greatly from having a father’s presence.
The Fatherhood Initiative website reports that one in three children, about 24 million, in the United States do not live in homes with their biological fathers. Research on fatherhood has delved into the topic extensively, and the results of these studies indicate that fathers have powerful impacts on their sons and daughters. Let us have a look.
Research on Fathering and Fatherhood
Already back in 1978 dr Pilling and dr Pringle did some research for thei book ‘Controversial Issues in Child development‘. 1978. It revealed that fathering, fatherhood and love for fathers as a result of it has been associated with adjustment qualities both socially and emotionally. The lack of affection or inadequate affection is associated with delinquent behavior.
One of the clear results is verbal skill. It seems that children who are actively raised by fathers as well as mothers have a more developed verbal knowledge. The father is a second adult and therefore a second opportunity to talk.
Another interesting result was that mothers who are sharing the tasks of child rearing have a higher degree of self-confidence and this is in turn has an effect on the child. The child will in turn be given more autonomy and self-confidence. Therefore encouragement of independence and autonomy in decisions making has benefited children.
Another outcome of this study on fatherhood showed the ability decision-making when faced with choice and change, at least for the girls. This is a direct result of the development of women’s equality and liberation.
A 2006 study on fatherhood published in the Journal of Family Psychology that looked at father involvement in the lives of over 100 children of adolescent mothers discovered that when fathers were in contact with their children, the children had better socio-emotional and academic success. The study on fatherhood followed children under 10 years of age. Children in the study had higher reading scores and fewer behavioral difficulties. An important conclusion of this study was that fathers make significant differences for the better in the lives of their at-risk children. This is true even when dads don’t live with their children.
The best gift a father can give a child is self-esteem, according to Adrienne Burgess, the father of Fatherhood Reclaimed: The Making of the Modern Father. Burgess also holds that fathers who interact with their children have more influence over their children’s lives than fathers who do not spend as much time with them. Other studies on fatherhood have shown that being a good father can help children develop more satisfaction in their lives. They also have more satisfying relationships as adults.
Additionally, children with involved and present fathers have fewer criminal problems like abusing drugs, according to the Dad Info website. Burgess is quoted on the Dad Info website as saying,
“If you want to keep your child off drugs or out of gangs, the best way is to build a strong, positive relationship with them as a tiny child, then maintain that relationship as they grow up.”
In a 2007 study published in Acta Paediatrica the authors reviewed 24 publications and found that 22 “described positive effects of father development.” Even though living with both father and mother is connected to fewer “externalizing behavioural problems”, fatherhood that involved dads engaging with their children on a regular basis also led to a wide range of positive results in the children’s lives. Behavioral problems in boys and psychological problems in girls occurred less often.
Children of dads who are not in their lives at all often have more difficulties making friends. They also tend to become bullied or to bully others. They may think it’s their fault that their father is not around, feel grief, distress, and low self-esteem as adults. These children may also make their fathers out to be worse or much better men than they really are.
Children in families where a father-figure is present do better on intelligence tests than those without a father figure. This is especially true in non-verbal reasoning areas, like math and science. The IQ bump is thought to be connected to how fathers physically interact with their children and play with objects like blocks. On the other hand, a Chinese study on fatherhood uncovered that a father’s caring attitude toward his children helped predict their success in school, according to the Pathways to Family Wellness website.
Biological Fatherhood and live away fathers
Research shows that good fathers are not necessarily those who are biological fathers. They do not necessarily have to live in the same household as their children. A father-figure, step-dad, or non-resident dad keeps his temper and have consistent and sensible rules. They spend time with their children regularly, and they listen attentively to what they have to say.
A father does not have to be present in the home of a child to have a positive benefit. Fathers can benefit their children most by being active parts of their lives.
Researching Fathering / Fatherhood
Research on fathers and their impact on children is not an easy thing. Besides getting hold of them, knowing that you are being ‘researched’ and the artificiality of the situation influences obviously the results. But still there is consistent data coming out while using a variety of study methods.
One caution when interpreting this research is to know that active fathering is more present in middle and upper classes. This might impact the result when compared to the norm. It is also crucial to consider these results as a reflection of our times. These same studies might have been different last century when the society viewed men and women and mothers and fathers differently.
But, research shows in point of fact that father figures do have positive and long-lasting impacts on their children just by engaging with them in affirmative and encouraging ways.
Here you you will find a short but great video illustrating wonderful fatherhood.