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Study Demonstrates the Importance of Active Fathers

Posted Oct 03 2008 12:52pm

This article discusses recent research that demonstrated having active fathers engaged in the lives of children positively impacted a whole host of future indicators of healthy adjustment.  In other words, "Dads, get as involved as possible!"  As a psychologist who has worked with offenders for years, I can say I've been telling people this for years.  No science, just informal observations of all the clients I've worked with, the single most common environmental thread that has run through their lives has been either the absence of, or negative presence of, their fathers.  Again and again and again, I've seen it - if Dad was around at all (and often he wasn't), he was the role model for the dysfunctional lifestyle adopted by the offender.  From a therapeutic perspective, one of the most powerful motivators for the offenders who were actually interested in habilitation was to be a better father for their son than their dad was for them, and I supported that sentiment 100%.

As a father, this also seems to be a no-brainer, especially because the rewards of being involved, while often not tangible, are nevertheless quite apparent.  And I'm not trying to be preachy here, Lord knows I'm not the perfect parent, but to simply be a part of your child's daily routine not only benefits your child immensely (read the article for proof), it makes you a better person.  This seems to be a trend in this country, with more dads taking on an active role (I don't have any data on hand, just comparing me and my social circle to the dads of the previous generation - good guys, just not expected to be as involved), and I like it.  Hopefully, more and more fathers will take on their parenting responsibilities with enthusiasm and passion, which will in turn make it easier for our sons to be better dads. 

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