THE EFFECTS OF FATHERS ON CHILDREN’S DEVELOPMENT 1
The effects ofFathers on Children’s Development
In every society, fathers have a profound impact on the upbringing oftheir children. Historically, men are viewed as breadwinners andprotectors of their families. As such, much has been written on thefathers’ impact on the socioemotional development of theirchildren. However, fathers have other crucial contributions to thelives of their children in terms of cognitive, emotional, social, andphysical development.
Fathers impact on their children’s cognitive competence
Although the presence of fathers in children`s life is associatedwith positive outcomes, the quality of the relationship between thetwo parties is more important than the quantity. However, researchshows that fathers play a major role in their children`s developmentof cognitive abilities. According toAllen & Daly (2011), children of highly involvedfathers tend to be more cognitively competent at age six months. Thereason fathers impact on their children cognitive development isbecause of the nature of the conversation between these two parties.According toLewis & Lamb (2012), father-child relationshipsinvolve play, recreation, and goal-setting tasks and actions. Thesegoal-setting tasks prepare children to be problem solvers and toavoid procrastination. Besides, as opposed to mothers, fathers’talk to their toddlers is characterized by more probing questionssuch as "what" and "where." Such questionsrequire long answers which encourage children to talk more andutilize a wider range of vocabularies as they interact with theirfathers (Allen& Daly, 2011).
Fathers’ impact on their children’s emotional development andwelbeing
Apart from cognitive development, father impact on their children’semotional development and wellbeing as well. Overall, fathers’presence has positive effects on their offspring’s psychologicalwellbeing. Research shows that children whose fathers are involved intheir upbringing report higher overall life satisfaction andexperience less depression(Allen & Daly, 2011). Besides, paternal acceptancesare positively related to children’s self-reported psychologicaladjustment. According toLewis & Lamb (2012), paternal sensitivitydetermines the security of attachment and this impact on the child’ssubsequent psychological adjustments. This involves greater tolerancefor frustration and stress. Compared to mothers, fathers tend to bemore reassuring, and this quality helps children to view life in amore optimistic view.
Fathers impact on their children’s social competence
In addition, fathers impact on their children`s overall socialmaturity, social competence, and social initiative. Children whosefathers are involved in their upbringing tend to exhibit morefriendship qualities such as less aggression, more reciprocity, andmore generosity. Children are expected to exhibit higher levels ofmaturity, anger moderation and positive moral behavior in thepresence of their fathers(Allen & Daly, 2011). This is the reason childrenwho are strongly attached to their father scores high on measures ofmoral values, conformity to rules, and internal moral judgment.Consequently, paternal engagement decreases the chances of childrendeveloping negative social behavior.
Fathers’ impact on their children’s physical development
Fathers also influence their children’s physical development. Thishappens when fathers facilitate for the optimal outcomes for theirwives. Research shows that women who are happily married experience agreater sense of wellbeing and this positively impacts on theirpostpartum mental health. According toAllen & Daly (2011), singles mothers are twice aslikely to experience high levels of stress and depressions comparedto their married counterparts. The fathers’ impact on theirchildren’s physical health can be demonstrated by a research thatfound that infant mortality rates tend to be 1.8 times higher forchildren of unmarried mothers compared to their married counterparts(Allen & Daly 2011).
In conclusion, research shows that fathers play more than the role ofbreadwinners and protectors to their children. Fathers’ presence isrelated to higher children’s outcomes such as higher educationattainment and good health as well as less behavioral and emotionalproblems. Research shows that father interacts differently withtheir children compared to mothers. For example, when interactingwith their children, fathers ask more probing questions and choosegoal-setting tasks. This positively affects a child’s cognitivecompetence.
Allen, S. M.,& Daly, K. J. (2011). Theeffects of father involvement: An updated research summary of theevidence.Centre for Families, Work & Well-Being, University of Guelph.
Lewis, C., &Lamb, M. E. (2012). Fathers’ influences on children’sdevelopment: The evidence from two-parent families. Europeanjournal of the psychology of education, 18(2),211-228.