It is impossible to define fatherhood in one picture, definition or example. You have various degrees of father involvement and engagement. You have some fathers who live with their children and some who live outside the home. Some fathers are married, some divorced and some who have never been married to the child’s mother. In addition, you may have step fathers, adoptive fathers, and foster fathers; all of whom play a role in child rearing. With the diversity of the fatherhood role it is important to look at the ways that father engagement plays in positive outcomes in children.
Countless studies have shown that the quality of father engagement is associated with negative or positive outcomes in children. Active parenting by a father has shown to have positive effects on the social, emotional, behavioral and academic development in children However, the type of interactions that a father has in his child’s life is just as important as the time spent according to research. It is really a question about Quality vs Quantity Time. Recent studies have shown that spending more time with children in and of itself will not ensure better outcomes. In fact, if for instance the mother and father have a contentious relationship, extra time around the child can have negative effects on their development.
Here are 7 important reasons why spending quality time with your child matters:
- Your a Role Model- Children need positive role models in their life and often model behavior that they see. Active fathers have the ability to set a positive example for their children, which in turn promotes positive behaviors. Lead by example!
- You Provide Security- Fear of abandonment is a major stressor in children. Especially in children who have parents that are separated. An engaged father can show a child through consistent and unconditional love, the ability to trust and feel secure.
- Love Counts– Children who feel loved are more likely to develop a strong emotional bond with their father and a healthy self-esteem
- Self Esteem Builder- An active father can help improve their child’s self esteem by showing them that they are important. Children with high self-esteem tend to be happier, do better in school, and are more confident than children with low self-esteem.
- They’re Smarter- Children who are raised with actively involved fathers tend to do better in school. Studies have shown that they also show greater problem-solving and social skills.
- Discipline Matters- Active fathers play an important role in teaching children healthy limits and positive behavior. Children respond to proper boundary setting and structure. Fathers can be vital in establishing these healthy boundaries.
- A Different Perspective- Children benefit from knowing and learning from both parents. Men and Woman tend to parent differently, and it is healthy for a child to see both parenting styles and perspectives on life.
Being a parent is the greatest responsibility of them all as well as the most rewarding. The role of the father is vital in helping foster the healthy development of children. As a father myself, I know that the greatest gift I can give is my time and love. Being present (no tv, no phone, etc) while we spend time together is priceless. Reading together, eating together, playing together, building a fort together, playing games of their choice together, going to the park together, taking trips together all foster this quality time. Spending time with your child is great but spending quality time has the most benefits for your child. Fathers, spend quality time with your child, they need it and need you!