In honor of Father’s Day, let us give a shout-out to all of the dads out there. As all of us moms can attest, there is nothing sweeter (or sexier) than the father of our child playing with and cuddling with our kids. Those moments when they are pacing the floor, crooning to soothe an upset child, lifting our babies high into the air (making us nervous and happy all at once) and those glimpses of them playing catch or working on a project together just make us melt.
We love our children fiercely and we will protect them from all of life’s harms the best we can, but when we see dads stepping in and seamlessly accomplishing our shared goals (even if not quite in the way we said it should be done) it reminds us of the reasons we choose you in the first place!
Dads are so important in the lives of our children, and they are often maligned (Homer Simpson anyone?). But we know better. We know, for instance, that:
• Fathers’ interaction with babies (engaging in cognitively stimulating activities, emotional warmth, physical care) reduced their infants’ chances of experiencing cognitive delay.
• Babies as young as three months old can tell the difference between their mother and father. They can tell by the way each speaks to them, holds them, and by their different smells.
• Children whose fathers are involved in rearing them (“sensitive and responsive fathering”) fare better on cognitive tests and in language ability than those with less responsive or involved fathers.
• Improved cognitive abilities are associated with higher educational achievement. In fact, fathers who are involved in their children’s schools and academic achievement, regardless of their own educational level, are increasing the chances their child will graduate from high school, and perhaps go to vocational school, or even to college.
• A fathers’ involvement in children’s school activities protects at-risk children from failing or dropping out.
• Positive father involvement decreased boys’ problem behaviors (especially boys with more challenging temperaments) and better mental health for girls.
• Fathers who are more involved with their children tend to raise children who experience more success in their career.
• Fathers being involved in their children’s lives protects against risk factors that pose harm for children (such as problematic behavior, maternal depression and family economic hardship).
• Father involvement is associated with promoting children’s social and language skills.
• Involved fathering is related to lower rates of child problem behaviors, including hyperactivity, as well as reduced teen violence, delinquency, and other problems with the law.
• Father involvement is associated with positive child characteristics such as increased: empathy, self-esteem, self-control, feelings of ability to achieve, psychological well-being, social competence, life skills, and less sex-stereotyped beliefs.
• Children who grow up in homes with involved fathers are more likely to take an active and positive role in raising their own families. For example, fathers who recall a secure, loving relationship with both parents are more involved in the lives of their infants and more supportive to their wives.
• Both men and women who remember having loving, supportive fathers had high life satisfaction and self-esteem.
(Thanks research department at the University of Florida! )
Dads, you do so much and we love you. So whether you are near or far, biological or emotional, thank you. From all of us at Sopora, Echelon and Muniré, we say most sincerely: Happy Father’s Day.