Experts suggest that children with fathers who are involved in their health and development may grow into teens who are less at risk of depression, behavioural problems and teenage pregnancy.
Researchers encourage fathers to play an active role in their children’s lives and shed light on the main health and well-being benefits brought by quality paternal presence.
For Father’s Day, a recently published paper invites fathers of all kinds – whether living with their children or not, single fathers, stepfathers or any other kind of paternal figure in a child’s life – to up their involvement in the health, development and education of their children in a reliable and constant manner. The study’s authors underline the key role that fathers play in child development, a role that’s far from redundant compared to mothers’ roles.
The importance of the father’s role in child development is by no means a new discovery. However, over time, the authors of a recent study were able to observe that children who grew up with a father figure involved in their lives tended to experience fewer symptoms of depression, behavioural problems and teen pregnancies. Preterm babies were also seen to gain weight more easily.
The father’s clichéd role as a more vigorous, risk-taking play partner was also corroborated. When playing with their children, fathers often encouraged them to explore and take risks, while mothers offered stability and security. Fathers who regularly play with their children effectively “protect” them from symptoms of anxiety and help develop their creativity, the study revealed.