Each year in the month of June a large majority of people are blessed with the opportunity to celebrate the most
significant men in our lives: our fathers. As many of us celebrate Father’s Day we recall and cherish the relationships we have with our fathers, thankful for the number of ways our fathers have supported and guided us at all stages of our lives.
Most people during their childhood have heard the words, “Just wait until your father gets home,” indicated you were in trouble, fearing the moment your father came home. Fathers are commonly viewed as the disciplinarian, the play time partner, and the problem solver contrary to mothers who are regarded as the parent for nurturing, sympathy and comfort from stressful circumstances. However, due to radical changes socially, economically and technically, the structure and function of the family was altered, primarily affecting the role of the father. The role of a father was increasingly seen as trivial, even negligible, and his prominence was limited to the manner in which he provided for the family.
Contributing further to this change was the decreased inclusion of the father within the psychological field. A large majority of studies did not place sufficient emphasis of the role of the father and his contribution towards the development and growth of his child or children was more often than not reported as insignificant or inconsequential. The numbers of studies investigating the role of the father were small and were often based on reports by the mother.
So what is the reality these days? A father’s position in the family has never lost its importance and has never faltered regardless of society’s trends. It goes without saying that fathers do play a very significant role in their children’s lives; fortunately, these days, neither the general public nor psychological researchers view the father as insignificant and acclaimed journals as well as the internet is awash with research demonstrating and highlighting the importance of the father. A large proportion of studies demonstrate that an involved father plays a major role, specifically in the cognitive, behavioural and general health and well-being areas of a child’s life and the recognition and validation of their importance within parenting literature has contributed to fathers being more aware of their value, leading to their increased and renewed desire to be involved in their child’s life. A great number of studies have indicated that fathers who are positively involved in their children’s life provide a valuable foundation for their developmental needs, complementing what a mother provides. Furthermore, research has endlessly revealed that children with involved fathers, on average, demonstrate higher educational outcomes, are highly motivated to succeed, have higher self-esteem and confidence and are less like to be delinquent. These studies cannot be generalised yet fathers remain important where children are better off with a loving and committed father than those without.
Fathers are important for their daughters and while mothers are the nurturing caretakers and role models for young girls, it is the fathers who shape their daughters sense of femininity. A father relationship with in daughter shapes and provides a foundation for what her other male relationships will be like, including with her husband. This unique relationship a daughter has with her father provides examples on how to relate to the opposite gender. Fathers demonstrate to their daughters the importance of equality with their fellow males and they give their daughters respect and praise in order to develop their confidence. The importance of this relationship is immeasurable.
All male children require their fathers because no matter how wonderful a mother may be, it is the father who is the role model which will shape how the child will develop into an adult male. A father shapes his sons development by building common interests, providing their approval and setting good and positive examples. It is these positive examples which contribute towards the healthy development of the son’s gender identity. A father-son relationship is truly a unique bond in which the son will never love another man like they love their father.
A father’s love goes a long way in raising a child to be a well-adjusted adult. As you celebrate your father on Father’s Day this year, don’t forget to remind him how his love and presence shaped you to be the person you are today, how you value the importance your father and how you hope he knows just how appreciative you are of him. Any man can be a father but it takes someone special to be a Dad. This wonderful day which celebrates our fathers is a day to signify the importance of fathers and how your own father has helped shape you into the person you are today. So take this opportunity to reflect on all the good your father has done for you on this Father’s Day. Show your father how appreciative you are of him, because you probably don’t make it a point to show him your gratitude every day.
Happy Fathers Day to all the fathers out there.