In the past 50 years we have witnessed and experienced a sea change in the way we view the role of fathers in the family unit. Fathers, whether in a traditional family unit, a blended family unit, a same-sex family unit, whether divorced or single, play an invaluable role in the physical, emotional and social development of their children.
Awareness of this invaluable role of a truly engaged father is a comparatively recent phenomenon and is supported by a growing body of research. As we know, anyone (almost) can father a child. It’s that adjective, “engaged” that tells the real story.
Engagement begins even before a child is born. Engaged fathers understand what happens to a child as he/she develops in the womb and support, where possible, maternal pre-natal behavior and nutrition that enhances the physical and mental development of the fetus.
A truly engaged father participates in the care and nurturing of his infant. Research demonstrates that the earlier in a child’s life that the father gets involved, the greater the impact in terms of contributing to a child’s sense of security and the development of confidence and self-esteem.
A truly engaged father realizes that quality trumps quantity every time. Being “in the moment” is not just a catch-phrase. It captures the notion that nothing is more important than spending that dedicated time with a child and not allowing minor distractions to get in the way.
It has been demonstrated that the quality of the engagement fathers have with their children influence the bonds and relationships these children form later in life. So fathers, pay it forward.