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The Hidden Benefits of Being an Involved Father (page 3)

By — University of Florida IFAS Extension
Updated on May 4, 2011

Benefits for Children with Non-resident Fathers

Along these same lines, the involvement of nonresidential fathers (fathers who don't live in the same home as their child) seems to be particularly important.

Did you know that children who grow up with non-resident fathers that stay very involved in their life...?

  • tend to get higher grades than those without involved fathers.
  • seem to have better social skills. They can make friends more easily and handle difficult social situations better.
  • tend to have fewer behavioral problems. In fact, even when not living with their children and their children's mother, fathers who were actively involved with their children kept them from getting involved in problem behaviors as teens
  • have fewer mental health problems as adults (especially true for daughters).

Benefits for the Family

The family benefits from having an involved father. These benefits come from having loving and nurturing relationships among family members, not only between parents and children, but between a spouse, partner, or relative. Being involved in caring, not only for the child, but for the family can bring greater harmony and fewer arguments. The family tends to enjoy their time together more.

Did you know that involved fathering is related to... ?

  • better communication between fathers and family members;
  • a greater sense of commitment to the family;
  • less troubling conflict with teenage children.

Benefits for Fathers

Finally, being an involved father brings benefits to dads themselves. When fathers build strong relationships with their children and others in the family, they receive support and caring in return. Research has shown that healthy family relationships provide the strongest and most important support network a person can have, whether that person is a child or an adult.

Being involved in their family members lives helps fathers to...

  • enjoy a secure attachment relationship with their children.
  • cope well with stressful situations and everyday hassles.
  • feel as if they can depend on others more.
  • feel more comfortable in their occupation and feel that they can do their job well.
  • feel confident they have a lot to offer others in terms of their job skills, parenting skills, and social relationships.

The benefits listed above are really only a few of the major research findings from studies of families with involved and uninvolved fathers. Many of the benefits may seem obvious, but perhaps not all of them. If you look at your own involvement in your family, you might discover that you have been enjoying some of the benefits listed above without really noticing it. Sometimes being an involved parent takes hard work and setting priorities. Don't forget to stop and look around once in awhile to see all that you are getting in return.

References

Almeida, D. & Galambos, N. (1991). Examining father involvement and the quality of father-adolescent relations. Journal of Research on Adolescence, 1, 155-172.

Bernadett-Shapiro, S., Ehrensaft, D., & Shapiro, S. (1996). Father participation in childcare and the development of empathy in sons: An empirical study. Family Therapy, 23, 77-93.

Blum, R.W., Beuhring, T., Shew, M.L., Bearinger, L.H., Sieving, R.E., & Resnick, M.D. (2000). The effects of race/ethnicity, income, and family structure on adolescent risk behaviors. American Journal of Public Health, 90, 1879-1884.

Flouri, E., & Buchanan, A. (2002). The role of father involvement in childrens later mental health. Journal of Adolescence, 26, 63-78.

Gadsden, V., & Aisha, R. (2003). Fathers role in childrens academic achievement and early literacy. ERIC Digest Document ED482051. Champaign, IL: ERIC Clearinghouse on Elementary & Early Childhood Education.

Hossain, Z., & Roopnarine J. (1994). African-American fathers' involvement with infants: Relationship to their functioning, style, support, education, and income. Infant Behavior & Development 17, 175-184.

Jain, A., Belsky, J., & Crnic, K. (1996). Beyond fathering behaviors: Types of dads. Journal of Family Psychology, 10, 431-442.

King, V. (1994). Nonresident father involvement and child well-being: Can dads make a difference? Journal of Family Issues, 15, 78-96.

Marsiglio, W., Day, R.D., & Lamb, M.E. (2000). Exploring fatherhood diversity: Implications for conceptualizing father involvement. Marriage and Family Review, 29, 269-293.

McBride, B., Schoppe-Sullivan, S.J., & Ho, M.H. (2005). The mediating role of fathers school involvement on student achievement. Applied Developmental Psychology, 26, 201-216.

Palkovitz, R. (2002). Involved fathering and child development: Advancing our understanding of good fathering. In C.S. Tamis-LeMonda & N. Cabrera (Eds.), Handbook of father involvement: Multidisciplinary perspectives. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum (pp. 119-140).

Parke, R.D., McDowell, D.J., Kim, M., Killian, C., Dennis, J., Flyr, M.L., & Wild, M.N. (2002). Fathers contributions to childrens peer relationships. In C.S. Tamis-LeMonda & N. Cabrera (Eds.), Handbook of father involvement: Multidisciplinary perspectives. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum (pp. 141-167).

William, E., N. Radin, & Allegro, T. (1992). Sex role attitudes of adolescents reared primarily by their fathers: An 11-year follow-up. Merrill Palmer Quarterly, 38, 457-476.

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