Today (20th June) people around the world are honouring dads, step-dads, granddads and father figures as we celebrate Father’s Day. It is a day to show appreciation to our own fathers, the fathers of our children, and those who are like fathers to us – acknowledging their presence in our lives and how they have helped shape who we are now.
Fathers play an integral role in a child’s development. They are usually the first male role model in a child’s life, so their interactions and behaviours directly influence how a child views the role of men in society.
Traditional roles for a father include that of protector, provider, teacher and disciplinarian. However, it is just as important for fathers to nurture their child, show love and understanding, listen to and support them, in order to develop and maintain a mutually healthy and respectful relationship.
The traditional view of a father has also evolved to become more inclusive and representative of modern society. Now we appreciate that fathers can be single, in a same-sex relationship, can be adoptive or foster fathers, or a step-father to someone else’s children.
There has been extensive research into relationships between fathers and their children, assessing the impact of the father’s involvement on child development. Generally speaking, the body of research indicates that children who have a healthy and involved relationship with their father – or a father figure – perform better academically, are more sociable, are less likely to get into trouble or engage in risky behaviour, have higher levels of self-confidence, and increased positive wellbeing.
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