Some people underestimate the importance of a father in a young child’s life. They mistakenly believe that infants and toddlers need mothers more than fathers and the involvement of the latter does not make a difference until the child is older.
The truth is that a father’s influence is important from the very beginning. According to First Five Nebraska, research on infants and toddlers shows that those with involved fathers demonstrate advanced developmental skills. Not only that, but a father’s involvement remains important into a child’s teenage years and adulthood.
Fathers’ involvement in children’s care starts benefitting them at a very early age. A father’s involvement forges a secure attachment between him and his baby. As a result, the baby is likely to be more trusting, more curious about the world and better able to handle stressful and unfamiliar situations. The 6-month-old child of an involved father tests higher on motor development, and babies with involved fathers start learning to talk earlier. There is more evidence of early language development in sons of involved fathers than daughters.
The lessons that a father teaches his children early in life build skills that they need as they grow older. In later childhood and adolescence, a father’s influence remains important for children’s prosocial behavior, educational achievement and self-esteem. According to the University of Texas, children of involved fathers are less likely to spend time in jail by 80% and less likely to have a teen birth by 75%. In school, they are less likely to face expulsion or to skip a grade and more likely to receive mostly A’s by 39%. After high school, they are twice as likely as their peers to go on to college and eventually find stable employment.