by Men's Rights Editor / in Fatherhood
Preserving Fatherhood in Your Child’s Life
Whether you are a man or a woman, you hopefully remember the importance your father had in your life, if he was present. He may have helped you ride a bike for the first time or helped you learn new concepts in math class, but no matter what came along, you knew he would be there for you when you needed him.
Whether you knew the role was coming or were thrusted into the role, fatherhood can be a rewarding and enriching experience. For those that are active parents in their children’s lives, you understand the importance of your presence and how much you have to offer your child and their development.
Unfortunately, many fathers do not have these types of opportunities to be role models in their children’s lives. They may not be given a fair opportunity, when it comes to child custody rights, and due to the gender bias ideals that pervade the family court system, they may not be thought of as able to nurture and maintain a loving and stable home for the child.
Additionally, many fathers are excluded from making important decisions, in regards to their children, because of any past history or emotions of the mother. These parents are not acting in the best interests of their children, but rather the best interests of themselves. Because of that, the children suffer, as a result.
Children benefit from having their fathers in their lives. A study from the Journal of Marriage and Family found that sample fathers who were substantially involved in an infant’s caretaking over the first year had a positive effect on cognitive development.
A study from the Review of General Psychology found that in an analysis of over 100 studies on parent-child relationships, having a loving and nurturing father was as important for a child’s well-being, happiness, and social and academic success as having a loving and nurturing mother.
That happiness extends to how your child treats other children. According to child psychiatrist Dr. Kyle Pruett, positive father care is associated with more pro-social and positive moral behavior in boys and girls alike.
Sons and daughters
Both sons and daughters need you as an active presence in their lives. Sons benefit more when you read to them at a young age. According to a study from Brigham Young University, sons subsequently read more on their own and score higher on tests than boys whose fathers did little to no recreational reading with them.
For daughters, you have the responsibility of affecting their psychological well-being and identity. You, as a divorced dad, need to focus on your relationship with your daughter. Your daughter may perceive the limited contact with you as personal rejection, so it is vital that you do everything you can to be there for her, in order to help her through her development and through the difficulties of a parental divorce.
If you are an active parent, you also may experience a better relationship with your children than you had with your father. According to a survey published in The Telegraph, six out of 10 modern dads in the United Kingdom have a closer relationship with their children than they had with their own fathers.
Much of that stems from the amount of time you may be spending with your child and how different that is, in comparison to previous generations. The Council of Economic Advisors published a report that stated that fathers are devoting 4.6 more hours of childcare than they did in 1965.
In addition, 78 percent of fathers said they spent at least as much time with their kids as their own fathers spent with them, while 46 percent said they spent more time with their children than their dads did, according to a 2012 Pew Research survey.
Fight for them
You have a responsibility to be the best father that you can be, and that can sometimes mean fighting for your children. In order to do that, you will need to partner with a family law attorney who understands the importance of a father’s place in the lives of their children.
That fight may be difficult, and there are times when you may feel that all hope may be lost. However, it is for your children that you fight, and you need to remember that, in order to give yourself the strength necessary to never give up. They deserve to have someone in their lives who never stops fighting for them, and you need to be that father for them.