Posted by: coachingparents | December 7, 2007

Father Love: Coaching Families on Fatherhood


Parenting is often defined in terms of mother love. That is because in most cases, mothers are the primary caregivers. But what about father love? In days past, the father’s role in the family was that of breadwinner. He went to work, ate dinner, relaxed, and prepared for following day. He spent very little time parenting his children. That was then, and this is now. My how things have changed.

Today, unlike the days when father knew best, there is no typical family structure. This once traditional unit now runs a wide gamut. There are just as many single parent families as there are two parent families. In most two parent families, both father and mother work. Although many families also choose to have only one parent work and that is not always the father.

The fluid nature of modern family life often leaves men confused about their role as fathers. This confusion is compounded by the fact that a great many men have no role model. Their fathers were either of the traditional ilk or their childhood family structure was poles apart from the one they live in today. While everything may seem a bit topsy- turvy, there is one fact that still holds true. Fathers have a strong impact on their children, and there are reams of research to prove it.
Good Fathers—Good Families—Great Kids
What We Know

•Infants
oBabies with involved fathers test higher in brain development and thinking skills.
oBabies who have secure attachments to their fathers grow into children with a heightened sense of empathy for others.
oBaby boys whose fathers are affectionate and engage in stimulating play are more popular when they attend school.

•Toddlers
oFathers have more influence on language development than mothers.
oThe rough and tumble play that fathers are known for encourages children to explore their strength and recognize their ability to accomplish new tasks.
oFathers who physically play with their toddlers are creating an environment that helps their children learn early interpersonal skills and how to get along with others.
oToddlers whose fathers play with them score higher on thinking and problem-solving tests.

•School Age Children
oBoys whose fathers practice reading and counting skills with them score higher on math tests.
oChildren whose fathers are supportive have fewer school related problems, such as poor test results and absenteeism.
oChildren with ADHD who have supportive fathers are more apt to successfully adjust to the school environment.
oChildren whose fathers share their activities and interests with them behave better in school.
oGirls whose fathers discuss how their behavior can affect others are considered very likeable and unselfish by their classmates.
oChildren whose fathers are routinely involved in their care make higher grades in school.
oWhen fathers avoid risky behavior, it positively impacts their sons’ educational achievement.

•Teens
oTeens who feel their fathers were available to them have fewer conflicts with friends and stronger peer relationships.
oFathers of teenage girls influence their work ethic, and how they relate to others and plan for the future.
•Character Development
oFathers who are affectionate and helpful have children who are more likely to get along better with their siblings.
oChildren whose fathers acknowledge their emotions and help them deal with them, score higher on emotional intelligence tests.
oChildren whose fathers are emotionally involved are less aggressive and have better relationships with their peers.
oFathers are influential in helping children develop a sense of industry—the belief that he or she can accomplish a goal or master a skill, which directly impacts the development of self-esteem.
oChildren whose fathers challenge them to handle age appropriate responsibilities score higher in the area of thinking skills.
oFathers who take responsibility for their families model an internal sense of control, which encourages children to take responsibility for their own successes and failurs.
oChildren whose fathers encourage them to participate in sports and physical fitness pursuits are more successful in school and later in their careers.
oBoys who identify with or admire their fathers score higher on test that measure moral judgment and values.
oChildren whose fathers are involved in their upbringing grow to be tolerant and socially responsible adults.
oBoys living in low income communities are more likely to break the cycle of poverty when fathers are involved in their lives.

Caron Goode’s (EdD) insights are drawn from in private psychotherapy practice and thirty years of experience in the fields of education, personal empowerment, and health and wellness. She is the author of ten books and the founder of the Academy for Coaching Parents, a training program for parents & professionals who wish to mentor other parents. A mom and step-mom, she and her husband live in Ft. Worth, Texas. Reach her at carongoode@mac.com.

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