Mothers are widely acknowledged as genetically wired to be more involved in parenting than her children’s father. After all, she is the one carrying the child in her womb for nine months, and the one who endures the most physical pain when she finally sends them out into the world. While her nurturing input is highly crucial, she should also share the privilege (and pains) of parenthood to the person who is half responsible for it.
If it’s not yet obvious enough for children who grow up in single parent households, at least it needs to be spelled out for the society to realize that fathers need to be more involved and play broader roles in raising their kids. Countless studies have been put forth to look into the delicate issue of parenting, but few are specifically designed to measure how much of an impact a father leaves in his children’s lives, and by extension, in the lives of those who are around his children. The few father-oriented research that have returned results have found several compelling reasons why dad needs to be regularly present at the dinner table and in his children’s lives, whether he lives with them or not.
Fathers provide parenting distinct from mothers
First in the list of why fathers should be more present in the parenting picture is nothing more as simple as his voice. A father’s way of communicating to his child provides a different relational experience to infants who can detect that change in as early as eight weeks after birth. That change in interaction creates a different neural pathway from the brain patterns that light up when interacting with mom. We know from various brain studies that the more neural pathways are created, the more an adult becomes creative and resourceful in solving complex problems.
Fathers provide a sense of risk-taking
Often, when fathers throw their children in the air or wrestle with them as a form of play, it is the mothers who would caution him and say ‘not so high’ or ‘not so rough.’ When the children are old enough to walk or ride a bicycle, it’s often the dads who would encourage the kids to be faster or go farther. While that encouragement on its own could breed a risk-taking child who may not put serious consideration into the consequences of his or her actions, dads’ pushing the envelope can be balanced by moms’ protective mantle and admonitions to be more careful. A healthy combination of both can build confidence in a child in pushing his or her own abilities in a more calculated way.
Fathers provide an example of how daughters should be treated
As daughters grow up being familiar with how facial stubble feels and how it is to be hugged by strong arms, so do they form a concept of how their future mates might treat them. A loving father can do more than that however; he would eventually become the yardstick for all males that his daughter would come in contact with, and his daughter would be more discerning of the kinds of men she should protect herself against.
Fathers provide a role model on how gentlemen should behave
A father’s involvement in parenting not only creates confident and well-adjusted children who are less likely to get in trouble as they grow, his involvement also lays the groundwork for how adult men should behave in a way that benefits his wife, family and society. The lack of this role modeling is apparent in so many ways that often the factor of fatherhood is overlooked when, according to studies, it is one factor that could create a positive domino effect to his children, his family and his society.