Both of my parents made such an influence in my life, though they really had quite different personalities. Dad was very kind, dependable, and responsible. Mom was fun loving and spontaneous. Their different personalities caused marital problems, and they divorced when I was only a year old. While their contrasting characteristics made their own personal relationship difficult, I always felt that these differences were a blessing to me. They were two pieces to the puzzle that completed me. I believe that having two people so different love me so dearly and be such a large part of my life helped to give me a dynamic character and an open mind, able to see things from many different point of views. I cannot imagine that I would have had nearly as much happiness in my life had one of them not been in it. This is not to say that my parents were perfect. They made plenty of mistakes, same as everyone else. But they did their best, and I know they loved me unconditionally.
Historically, mothers have been considered the most important parental figure. The old school view of the woman being the homemaker and rearing the children while the man works has reinforced this in our culture and in many others. I would like to bring to light, though, the importance of a father in a child’s life. This is a personal topic for everyone. Everyone has some feeling or view on it because we all have a father. We are all affected by the relationship with this person, be it for good or for bad.
Fathers have an important role in developing a child’s social and psychological development. According to a study conducted by University of Maryland researchers in 2000 and reported on the Medical Center website, children with supportive and nurturing fathers or father-figures in their lives are more assertive, enjoy more social acceptance, have higher self-esteem and are less likely to exhibit signs of depression. These findings were constant for both boys and girls, and with both black and white children.
Dr. Kyle D. Pruett reports other interesting research findings in his book Fatherneed: Why Father Care Is As Essential As Mother Care for Your Child. For example, a father’s involvement in a child’s life is the strongest parent-related predictor of empathy. It is also associated with the development of problem-solving behavior and reduced sibling conflict and aggression. Children of involved fathers are much more successful academically and are more likely to go to college. Even if the father does not live with the child, if they are actively involved in their lives, a child will tend to have less behavioral problems.
Some dads may worry that by giving high priority to their family, they will lose their edge in the workplace and not be considered for higher positions as much as those who lack family ties or neglect them. Research does not support this fear. It is beneficial to both the man’s health and happiness and also to his children’s well being to put his family first. It is okay to plan your work around your family. It is a good thing to consider father-child time more important than work time.
In the sad situation that a child is unable to have their own father there to connect with and share a nurturing relationship with, studies show that having other positive male figures in a child’s life can help decrease the risk of this having negative affects on them. With this in mind, every positive interaction between a child and a man can help to ensure a child’s healthy development. This fact in itself speaks of how important a father’s role is. If a man can make a difference to the well being of ANY child, imagine the difference they can make in the lives of their own children.
As a mother, I know it is important for my kids to have a good relationship with their dad, but I also tend to view my relationship with them as more important. While I believe there’s nothing wrong with being a little possessive of your children, the truth is their relationship with their dad is one that effects them greatly. I would love to believe that I can give them everything they need on my own. If ever that sad situation occurred, I know I would try my best to do so, and they would still be much loved and well cared for children. I wish love and support unto every parent who is forced to do it alone. As stated by Dr. Pruett, those children with TWO loving, involved parents benefit from the wealth of each parent’s life experiences, different parenting styles, and approaches to dealing with life. Though my parents divorced long ago, they both remained a large part of my life. I know that this fact had many positive affects on my own happiness.
My hope for this writing is to inspire us all to respect and embrace the importance of fathers in our children’s lives so as to help ensure the happiness and overall positive development of those children. I know that I am extremely grateful for having a father that loved and cared for me. I hope that all of you fathers and mothers realize how important you are to your own children.