The title of this blog couldn’t be any more true! Fathers are vital to the well-being of a child and hold many hats when it comes to parenting. A father can be a provider, role model, best friend, play mate, confidant and so much more. The impact that a father has will affect a child for his/her entire life and this impact could be a positive or negative. Birth Choice wants to empower fathers because they are of IMMENSE value! Let’s look together at some of the amazing benefits a child has when a father is present in the home, but also, how one can overcome the negative affects when a father is absent or falls short of his duty to his children.
The positive role a father has on the family begins even before he meets his child. When a dad is involved during the pregnancy, statistics show that the health of the mother and baby are improved because of his involvement (https://bit.ly/2HSiocb). What an amazing fact that a father’s role is evident even during pregnancy! Studies also show that if a child’s father is affectionate, supportive, and involved, he can contribute greatly to the child’s cognitive, language, and social development, as well as academic achievement, self-esteem, and authenticity (https://bit.ly/2h1aQbQ). Involved fathers make the world of difference in a child’s well-being and greatly impact their future. Sadly, there are also uninvolved fathers. Let’s look at their impact on families and society.
Discussing absent fathers is a difficult topic but one that must be addressed because of the sad statistics. Kids who live without their dads are, on average, at least two to three times more likely to be poor, to use drugs, and to have trouble in school. They’re also more likely to be abused, have health problems and/or go to prison —> https://bit.ly/2HSiocb. Both boys and girls are more likely to develop disruptive or anxiety disorders, have conduct problems, suffer from psychological disorders, or commit suicide (https://bit.ly/2HqXelS). As you can see, fathers who are present can actually save lives! When a father is involved, there is less crime and there are more successful adults in society. Involved dads really do matter and are desperately needed.
But what if a father has been absent or has not lived up to his role in the lives of his children? Are you one of those who grew up without a positive father figure? How do you as a single mother combat the negative effects of an absentee father for your children? All is not lost. First, we all have the ability to overcome negative events in our lives through the choices we make. We can choose to be a victim, make excuses and remain bitter. But, is that the power that we want to give someone over our life? Or, we can choose to be different; strong, positive and in control of our own destiny. We have it within us to beat the odds but how? As a mother, you can empower your children with these messages and values. Look for men who exemplify everything that we think we might like in a dad for our own children or that we long for ourselves. It could be an uncle, brother, grandfather, teacher, or coach. There are some great guys out there who are virtuous and men of character. Have male friends who have earned your trust by living authentic friendship and who selflessly put others before themselves.
Do things that make you feel good about yourself and help your children discover their strengths. Use that lack of a good example for yourself as motivation to become better as a parent. Know that you are worthy of true love and show that love to your children so they know it too. Don’t be afraid to have high standards for yourself and them. Make sure the man in your life can be the dad that children can look up to as a role model.
So, what does a good father look like? Great question! A good father is kind, patient, and acts as a loving husband to his children’s mother. A good father shows his sons how to treat a woman with respect and how to be a good man. A good father’s character teaches his daughter what to look for in a future husband and exemplifies to his son what to strive for in a future marriage. He is humble, knowing that he will learn so many new things as he parents. Ultimately, a good father is a role model to his children and the watching world. A good father is invaluable and worth more than words could express.
Simply put, it is impossible to over-estimate the importance of a dad. Involved fathers are pillars to healthy family dynamics and child development, whether you are a father who adopted a child, are expecting a new child or already have your own child, you are irreplaceable. So, from Birth Choice to fathers, thank you for all you do for your families! Fatherhood is hard but one of the most rewarding journeys you will ever take!
If you have experienced fatherlessness either for yourself or your children, know that you can still choose to be different and find those “father” figures to fill in the gap providing benefits that those good guys bring to the table.
And of course, if you are an expecting father and have questions or concerns, Birth Choice is here to come alongside you. We have a team of skilled client advocates who will help provide resources and education. We are here for YOU!!