The Importance of Fathers in the Home — by CB

Mothers have long been recognized as critical to children and their success later in life and have been long encouraged to be an active part of their children’s lives. In fact, society continues to seemingly regard mothers as the only important parent in a child’s life. Most famously and recently was when Matt Lauer asked GM’s CEO, Mary Barra, about how she can balance being a mother and having a career. The uproar surrounding this question was spawned by the fact that male CEOs, or males with a career in a general, are not asked how they can be a good father while maintaining a career. I see this as a comment on popular society failing to recognize the importance of both father and mother in raising a child. In fact, as an article in the Atlantic on stay-at-home fathers points out, “if anything, the last 15 years has seen men collectively stop taking on more responsibility as caregivers, not take on more of it.”[1]

It is time that we, as a society, formally recognize the importance of fathers and father figures, not just mothers, in raising children.  Now, don’t get me wrong. I do believe that women and mothers are indispensable in so many ways, including in raising children. However, it’s time that we formally turn the conversation to fathers. Numerous research has shown that fathers and father figures fill a unique and indispensable role in children’s lives. For instance, one behavioral economics study states that, “there is evidence to support the positive influence of father engagement on offspring social, behavioral and psychological outcomes.”[2] The article even found that there is enough evidence of the impact of father’s to urge policy makers and professionals to make it easier for fathers to be involved parents.[3]

Having more-involved fathers has many beneficial impacts on daughters, as summarized by parents.com, including girls reaching puberty later than girls who had more distant father-daughter relationships. In addition, girls with closer relationships to their fathers were less likely to have mental problems later in life. Also, research shows that genuine praise from a father can help the daughter grow up to be a strong, independent woman.[4]

Parents.com also summarized the positive impact of fathers and father-figures on sons, including helping them develop a healthy gender identity as well as better recognition and responsiveness to their emotions.[5]

Overall, it is important for society to recognize that fathers are just as important as mothers in raising children. It is time that we stop questioning how mothers balance careers and start recognizing the value of both parents in raising children.

 

By CB

[1] Weissmann, Jordan. “The Overhyped Rise of Stay-at-Home Dads,” The Atlantic. http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2013/09/the-overhyped-rise-of-stay-at-home-dads/279279/ (accessed November 8, 2014).

[2] Sarkadi, Anna, Robert Kristiansson, and Frank Oberklaid. “Fathers’ involvement and children’s developmental outcomes: a systematic review of longitudinal studies,” Acta Pædiatrica (September 2007): 153-158.

[3] Ibid.

[4] Finello, Kristen. “The Role of Fathers with Daughters and Sons,” Parents.com, http://www.parents.com/parenting/better-parenting/style/the-role-of-fathers-with-daughters-and-sons/?page=3 (accessed November 8, 2014).

[5]  Ibid.

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4 thoughts on “The Importance of Fathers in the Home — by CB

  1. Victoria says:

    This is such an important issue! I’m hopeful about it, though. Not too long ago, the Harvard Business Review ran an article titled “Meet the New Face of Diversity: The ‘Slacker’ Millennial Guy,” which highlighted how the rising generation of male professionals—sometimes viewed as slackers by older generations—are really just more interested in being involved in their families’ lives, and more equal in the division of work and household labor with their wives. I hope that there will be radical changes in maternity and paternity leave and more affordable daycare in the near future. The social pressure for more emphasis on family life seems to be growing, so I think it’s more a possibility now than ever.

    https://hbr.org/2013/10/meet-the-new-face-of-diversity-the-slacker-millennial-guy

  2. natmyrrha says:

    Great article! Amen, amen! Fathers need to be more involved in the home and create a special relationship with sons and daughters. I’m grateful I was raised by two parents, both very present in my life!

  3. RMS says:

    Great post! The implications of fathers not being in a child’s life can be detrimental to their development and their overall understanding of parenthood. This clearly has trickle down effects. I believe you captured that in this post. Great work!

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