FATHER EFFECT

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FATHER EFFECT

Topic |  
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psyche-thumbby Kit Nemenzo Balane

It is almost Father’s Day and I’d like to devote two articles on the effect of a father’s involvement in their children’s lives and in themselves as they actively participate in parenting. May this encourage all fathers to take their roles seriously and understand how their presence impact the lives of their precious angels.

I present here a summary of research evidence done by Allen and Dally on the effects of father involvement in children’s development. In their compilation, they indicated that there is now a substantial body of literature that establishes a number of important trends in the way that men approach parenting and the effects that their involvement has on their children’s development.

Father’s active involvement in their children’s lives has beneficial effects on children’s cognitive development, emotional development and well-being, social competence, and moral aptitude.

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Infants of highly involved fathers are more cognitively competent at 6 months. By one year, they continue to have higher cognitive functioning, are better problem solvers as toddlers and have higher IQ’s by age three.

School aged children of involved fathers are also better academic achievers. They are more likely to get A’s, have better quantitative and verbal skills, have higher grade point averages, receive superior grades, or perform a year above their expected age level on academic tests.

Children of involved fathers are more likely to enjoy school, have better attitudes toward school, participate in extracurricular activities, and graduate. They are also less likely to fail a grade, have poor attendance, or have behaviour problems at school.

Infants whose fathers are involved in their care are more likely to be securely attached to them, be better able to handle strange situations, be more resilient in the face of stressful situations, be more curious and eager to explore the environment, relate more maturely to strangers, react more competently to complex and novel stimuli, and be more trusting in branching out in their explorations.

Father involvement is also positively correlated with children experiencing overall life satisfaction, less depression, less emotional distress, and fewer expressions of negative emotionality such as fear and guilt. Children of involved fathers are more likely to demonstrate a greater tolerance for stress and frustration, have superior problem solving and adaptive skills, be more playful, resourceful, skilful, and attentive when presented with a problem, and are better able to manage their emotions and impulses in an adaptive manner.

Young adults who had nurturing and available fathers while growing up are more likely to score high on measures of self-acceptance and personal and social adjustment, see themselves as dependable, trusting, practical, and friendly, be more likely to succeed in their work, and be mentally healthy.

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Children are better off when their relationship with their father is secure, supportive, reciprocal, sensitive, close, nurturing, and warm. They are more likely to have positive peer relations and be popular and well liked. Their peer relations are typified by less negativity, less aggression, less conflict, more reciprocity, more generosity, and more positive friendship qualities.

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Children who have involved fathers are more likely to grow up to be tolerant and understanding, be well socialized and successful adults, have long term, successful marriages, have supportive social networks consisting of long-term close friendships, and adjust well to college both personally and socially.

The strongest predictor of empathic concern in children and adults is high levels of paternal involvement while a child. Father warmth and nurturance significantly predicts children’s moral maturity, is associated with more pro-social and positive moral behaviour in boys and girls and is positively correlated with higher scores on measures of internal moral judgment, moral values, and conformity to rules.

There you are. What about if the father is an absentee? We’ll talk about that next week. We will also find out how fathering benefits fathers. For now, may all fathers continue to be responsible in the task only them can perform. Email me at kitbalane@boholchild.com.

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