Fathers are very important and vital to not only the strength of a family, but to the community. Fathers are more than just breadwinners. The impact fathers have in the lives of their spouses, children, and community reach far beyond the amount of earnings they bring home. The relationships fathers form and develop are invaluable. Let’s take an in depth look at what the research states about the seven dimensions of effective fathering.
Research shows that how men treat the mother of their children is one indicator that he can be a good father. Men who treat the mother of their children with affection, respect, and consideration helps teach their male children who observe this interaction to display the same behavior with their future spouses. Fathers who engage in conflict resolution with the mother is also important. Conflict is a natural occurrence is all relationships. Being able to compromise, give constructive criticism, and forgiving each other teaches children how to handle conflict in a positive manner. Conflict resolution can also teach children to be in control of their emotions.
Studies show there are three important reasons why fathers should spend time with their children.
- The father and child will get to know each other.
- The more time the father spends with his child, the more caring the father becomes.
- The more time the father spends with the child, the more sensitive the father becomes to the child’s need for love, affection, direction, and discipline.
The research also points out ways fathers should spend time with the child to help foster development.
- Spend time with their children playing and having fun.
- Maintain the active, physical, and playful style of fathering as their children age. For example, the father should engage in more active styles of play like sports or outing to the library instead of a passive activity like watching television.
- Engage in more productive activities like teaching the child to do chores like cleaning, cooking, and yard work. Productive activities teach the child responsibilities and promote occupational development.
- Be involved in the child’s educational activities. Research shows that children who have both fathers and mothers involved in their academic activities experience academic success.
When it comes to nurturing, we tend to associate this term with motherhood. Research shows that a nurturing fathers serves several important purposes in their child’s life as well.
- Helps fathers build close relationships with their children.
- Fosters psychological well-being and self-worth in their children.
- Provides children with a healthy model of masculinity.
- Helps protect girls from prematurely seeking the romantic and sexual attention of men.
When provided by two parents, discipline can be more effective. For mothers raising a male child, discipline can often be frustrating and challenging. The research shows that boys tend to respond more effectively to men who provide positive discipline in a form that models control of emotion and body language.
Fathers play an important role in serving as a guide to the outside world. As children grow and transition through the stages of childhood and adolescence, they need to be prepared for the challenges and opportunities of adulthood. Fathers should provide their children with tasks they can do to gradually give them increasing opportunities to make good use of their independence.
Fathers are still providers and protectors. Based on the research, fathers who are employed full-time express more happiness with family life and have better relationships with their children as opposed to those who are unemployed or under employed. As protectors, fathers should monitor their children’s social environment. By knowing their children’s friends and the family of their children’s friends, fathers can better monitor their whereabouts and activities. Data has also shown that fathers provide the protector role for children who are not their biological children can be effective, especially in communities where fathers are few.
Fathers can be effective role models in several ways.
- Exhibiting a positive and influential life both inside and outside the home.
- Promote the mission of the family via instilling in the children the foundational values like spiritual growth and hard work.
- Abiding by and reinforcing rules that govern the household.
- Acknowledging mistakes and apologizing.
Fathers play such a huge role in the home, community, and the greater society. Fathers should maximize their opportunities to exercise their role to make this world a better place for children and mothers.
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