Many dads have an idea of what a ‘good father’ is and of the experiences and relationships they would like to have with their children. Like any new role, fathers may want to be ‘good dads’ and have a strong and connected relationship with their child, but might feel unsure of how to begin this process. Being a parent involves constant learning. All parents make mistakes, face challenges, and learn from their experiences. This is all a part of the parenting process. Some ways that fathers might get involved with their children are through:
• Engagement (direct contact with their children)
• Accessibility (being available to their children even when they are not in physical contact)
• Responsibility (taking a role in looking out for their children’s care and welfare).
By being involved in these ways, fathers become engaged in the lives and wellbeing of their children. There is no right or wrong amount of time that fathers should spend with their children. Children benefit from quality interactions, where fathers engage and bond with them. Dads being involved really can make a difference to their child’s mental health and wellbeing.
For starters, fathers can give children a person to trust, to bond with and feel secure around. Fathers also have the opportunity to parent their child in different ways from the mother (ex: a dad can provide special experiences through play, which helps develops children’s physical abilities and helps them to manage new and exciting experiences).
Boys who are connected with their dads often have more self-control, while girls connected with their dads often have strong feelings of being confident.
When the dads are affectionate and helpful, children are more likely to get on well with their siblings. When children have fathers who are emotionally involved children have better social skills, which means they are more capable of having positive relationships with other children and are likely to behave less aggressively.
When dads are involved in their young children’s care it means that they can help their children build strong relationships during childhood and later in life and the father-child bond is more likely to last into the child’s adulthood.