Happy Father’s Day! At Champions for Children, we celebrate the special relationship that fathers and father figures of all kinds have with their children. We also know that fatherhood comes with some unique challenges, and this Father’s Day, we want to let all the dads in our community know just how important you are, and some resources to help you be the best dad you can be.
When a newborn arrives, as a father it can sometimes feel like you’re second best. Mothers build a connection with the baby for 9 months from feeling the baby grow inside of her. Once the baby is born, the baby feels comfort in her smell and warmth because it reminds them of the womb. If the mother breastfeeds, it builds an even stronger bond.
But what about dad? Fathers and infants can be equally as attached as mothers and infants. When both parents are involved with the child, infants are attached to both parents from the beginning of life. According to research conducted by the Department of Education, 1 in 3 children group up in a household without their biological father. As a father, you matter greatly in your children’s lives. It can sometimes be hard to remember that when your baby seems to prefer their mother, but you are equally important. Here are the top reasons fatherhood engagement matters so much.
Impact on early development
Fathers are just as important as mothers when it comes to the growth and development of a child. Studies conducted by the Yale Child Study Center show that children with fathers who were actively involved throughout the 1st year of their child’s life perform better on cognitive development assessments and demonstrate an increased capacity for curiosity and exploration. Children raised with active dads tend to score higher on verbal and math tests and are less likely to drop out of school or commit juvenile crimes.
Children want to make their fathers proud, and being an involved father promotes inner growth and strength for your child. When fathers are affectionate and supportive, it greatly affects a child’s cognitive and social development. It also instills an overall sense of well-being and self confidence.
Paula Wyne, Baby Bungalow Director and child development expert says,
“This positive impact starts before children are born while parents are expecting. A father-to-be, interested and invested during a partner’s pregnancy, tends to continue this interest when an infant is born. This interest is demonstrated through caregiving, singing, reading and more which in turn, supports secure attachment. Secure attachment develops when parents and caregivers are attentive, responsive and affectionate toward babies leading to trust, safety and security – a great foundation from which to learn and grow. Not only are long-term benefits for securely attached children seen in all domains of development, but it’s a protective factor against child abuse and neglect. It all begins with positive relationships!”
Better chances for success
Children benefit in many ways if their dads are involved in their lives. A positive father-child relationship can improve a child’s social skills, grades, and health. In addition, a healthy relationship between mom and dad makes it significantly more likely that a child will benefit from times spent with their dads.
According to Child and Family Research Partnerships, children who grow up with involved fathers have concrete benefits:
- They are 39% more likely to earn A’s in school
- 45% less likely to repeat a grade
- 60% less likely to be suspended or expelled from school
- Twice as likely to go to college and find stable employment after high school
We recognize there are so many amazing single moms and dads out there doing a great job. Don’t worry if you’re the only parent involved. While these statistics emphasize the value of involved dads, what matters most is that a child has as many loving, caring adults supporting them as possible.
The quality of your father-child relationship matters more than the specific amount of hours spent together. If you’re a co-parenting father, you can still have positive effects on your children’s social and emotional well-being, as well as their academic achievement and behavioral adjustment.
Being an active father is one of the most important things you can do for your child. Fathers have an amazing opportunity to connect with their children, starting at birth! Bonding is the start of a lifelong relationship between a parent and a child. Bright Horizons has some great tips on how to begin bonding with your child from birth.
Maurice Vernon, Champions Boot Camp for New Dads Facilitator says, “The foundation of fatherhood is showing up! The only way an expecting father could mess up being a great father is by doing nothing. Fatherhood is an awesome experience for the dad who embraces it. It’s time to be a great father because you want to be a great father and nothing else. Everything else in life can change, but I have made a quality decision that my fatherhood will always remain.”
If you’re a new dad or just want to learn more about how you can make a positive impact on your child’s life, check out some of our parenting classes (813-673-4646) for more individualized training and support. More specifically, our ABC Program is currently offering a virtual workshop called, “Boot Camp for New Dads”. Click here to sign up! Champions for Children provides resources to families via no-cost parenting classes, workshops, support groups and more.