Why Dads Matter | Involved Dads Make a Huge Difference
Several of the videos that have gone “viral” for MomCave have been themed around being a single mom, feeling like a single mom, dealing with an absent father, or making fun of (some!) dads. Out of the hundreds of videos and memes we’ve made over the years, somehow these were the ones that struck a chord. Though 90% of the comments on these videos are positive, the 10% that aren’t usually go something like, “You must hate men. Not all dads are deadbeats.” I always make sure to respond to those comments personally. Absolutely! In fact, most men are NOT deadbeat dads. But for some reason, there are way too many who are. And society lets them get away with microaggressions and behaviors that we mothers would be called out for.
Why do I, self-reported happily married mother of two, continue to make videos on these themes? Because I’ve seen it happen close up, to women (moms) that I love. Because I’m grateful that my husband is loving, responsible, and involved, but even so, sometimes I get resentful and feel like the “default parent.” And, hardest to admit, because MY Dad and I didn’t have the greatest relationship.
So, with Father’s Day approaching, I decided to pepper this blog in with our other, more humorous, Father’s Day content. Because Dads DO Matter.
Scientific Reasons Why Dads Matter
Having An Involved Dad Makes Kids Smarter
A study in The Canadian Journal of Behavoioural Science found that kids with involved dads were smarter and better behaved.
Among disadvantaged children born prematurely, those with engaged fathers had higher IQs at age three than those children whose fathers had not been playing with them or helping to care for them.Do Father’s Matter? Answers from the New Science of Fatherhood
A 2016 article in Sex Roles found U.S. teenagers with supportive fathers have greater optimism and self-efficacy, which translates to better school achievement. The results occurred even for fathers with little education and limited English. Daughters, in particular, performed better in math. Sons did better in language.Why Dads Matter, According to Science, USA Today
Kids with Dads Who are Present Have Better Behavior
My own (very anecdotal) evidence backs this up. My husband is a touring musician who, up until the pandemic, traveled the majority of the time. He hasn’t traveled in over a year due to Covid, and my children’s behavior reflects this.
Could it merely be that with two parents at home, we can divide and conquer? When I was solo-parenting, I’d often let bad behaviors slide because I was focused on something else, like making sure the dinner didn’t burn. With two parents, one can deal with the tantrum, while the other tags out to continue working.
Or maybe it’s because (big generalization here), moms tend to be more nurturing and dads tend to be more disciplinarian. Whatever it is, as long as my kids are behaving, I’ll take it!
Dads Matter For Developing Social Skills and Friendships
Having more than one parent means a child closely relates with more than one type of parenting personality. (Like most married couples, my husband and I are personality opposites!)
Having a dad seems to have a positive effect on how children learn to get along with their siblings, peers, and future coworkers. They tend to have an easier time transitioning from school to college to the workforce, have a broader group of friends, and more stable relationships and marriages as adults.
Kids Raised with a Dad Are Less Likely to Gender-Stereotype
This one surprised me! Kids who lived with a mom AND dad, as opposed to just a mom, actually grew less likely to gender-stereotype themselves and others.
“When you’ve been nurtured by man,” says Dr. Pruett, “you don’t think it’s only mothers who can nurture.”
Kids with Involved Dads are Less Likely to Commit Crimes
Kids without attentive fathers are three times more likely to end up in the juvenile justice system before their 18th birthday, according to Dr. Kyle Pruett, a child psychiatrist and clinical professor of child psychiatry at the Yale School of Medicine.
The explanation for this link between absent fathers and criminal behavior is complex. Is it as simple as having a father who disapproves of crime and shows love to his child, making the child check their behavior to please their father? This study seems to think so.
To Sum it All Up…
Having loving parents is the most important thing to determine a child’s health and happiness. It’s not just about having a MALE parent. It’s about having loving, nurturing influences from parents of both genders.
As much as I may make fun of dads here on MomCave, I know that my kids are better off for having such a good one.
We asked our “internet friends” why Dads matter to them…
We are a team. It doesn’t work without him. He’s the rock and I’m the soft place to land. We balance. When I’m losing my mind he stands behind the kids and motions for me to take a deep breath. I do the same for him. But there are so many things he does that I can’t do the same. I’ll never throw the boys up on my shoulders like he does. I can’t chase them up to bed and growl and wrestle the way he does. I can’t comfort our daughter when she is feeling vulnerable in the same way her dad does, with a quiet broad shoulder. He brings solid peace and comfort to our home that is all him. —Mama Needs a Nap By Lauri Walker
My husband is our “B Team”. When “A Team” (me) isn’t feeling well or needs some me time with my girls or just busy around the farm, B Team jumps in and gets the boys where they need to be, feeds everyone or takes care of whoever is sick.We work REALLY WELL like this and I wouldn’t be able to function without him.We love you B Team!! -Mikenzie, Me and All My Boys
He’s a protector and advocate. And by doing so-He’s teaching them to how to protect and advocate for themselves. He’s our adventure planner. Always pushing the boundaries and teaching the kids anything is possible. -Joy Hedding, Evil Joy Speaks
Dad is way more fun than I am!!!!! -Jill Morganstern, Do Try This at Home