Helene Goldnadel


Fathers Influence on Their Child's Development

Fathers bring unique and indispensable qualities. They may not be present with their kids all the time, but just by being involved with their families whenever they have the time, they provide a sense of security, completeness and authority to both the children and the mother. It's a well-known fact that father-less children or those who were raised without them are more prone to be delinquents, have problems with marriage and become social outlaws. Fathers play a vital role in the child's overall development.


Have you ever thought about how, as a father, you are influencing your children development? Which of the skills and qualities of your children can be attributed to your way of parenting? Your parenting style and character has a very powerful impact on many positive and important qualities of your children.


Social stability

During infancy, when the father attends to the needs of his baby promptly, appropriately and consistently, the baby develops an attachment to his father. Psychologists are of the view that babies with secure attachments to their parents have better chances to develop into happy, successful, and well-adjusted children and adults. In one study, baby boys whose fathers engaged in affectionate and stimulating play during infancy were more popular later as school children.


Children with involved fathers who played with them during infancy, preschool age and school age are popular with other kids because they get the opportunity to develop emotional intelligence to deal with their peers, elders and juniors. When children understand their emotions and know how to control them, it makes them more popular with other children. For example, one study found that that primary school children scored higher on tests of empathy (Empathy is the ability to see a situation from another person's point of view) if they had secure attachments to their fathers during infancy. These children were able to recognize how other children felt and took steps to make them feel better.


Not only playing but day-to-day interactions of a father with his children such as acknowledging his children emotions and helping them deal with bad and good ones helps children to get on well with others; including their own siblings and peers. 


Problem-solving and emotional intelligence

Playing with fathers gives young kids verbal and physical stimulation. Fathers make playing dynamic, inspiring and exciting. This is in contrast to mothers who play in a more repetitive and protected manner. Therefore, children love to play with their fathers.


Fathers also spend a larger proportion of their time playing with their children than do mothers. They may play physical rough-and tumble games but at the same time set limits too. This helps children glean the concept of ethical limits with regards to physical interaction. The types of games fathers play with their children prompt them to work out by themselves in achieving their goals, stimulates them to brainstorm and develop problem-solving and motor-skills.


Playing with fathers also helps children build and develop emotional intelligence. Emotional intelligence is the ability to identify one's emotions, recognize and accept the emotional experiences of others; understand the causes of emotions and regulate one's own emotional behavior. Fathers make sure that bad behavior is not tolerated during playing, establish fair rules and encourage their children to follow them. This helps children grasp the concepts of emotional intelligence.


Competence, responsibility and self-esteem 

As children reach school-going age, they gradually acquire a sense of industry, or the ability to master a skill, test it out and grapple with the feelings of success or failure. Learning and succeeding in such skills is important to children developing self-esteem. Fathers play a vital role in this area. According to a parenting expert, 'the quality of the father's involvement during this period is a crucial factor in determining whether the child develops the confidence and competence to meet new challenges in a positive manner.'


Fathers tend to challenge children to try out and explore; acquire experiences and become more independent. This might be one of the reasons that they influence their children competence. Challenged children are more likely to develop problem-solving skills. In one study, children whose fathers expected them to handle responsibilities, such as crossing the street, or taking a bath alone, scored higher in tests of thinking skills.


However, though fathers usually have a positive influence on their children sense of industry, competence, and responsibility, some fathers can bring about the opposite effect. If a father discourages his kids and intrudes on potential learning situations by being too restrictive or imposing his own solutions, he will have a bad influence on his children. Whatever the reason for this type of paternal behavior, it can hamper children development of creativity, motivation, and problem-solving skills, making them less responsible and more dependent.


Also read: Concerns You Should Have When Deciding on a Preschool for Your Child

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