Children need to have a relationship with both their mother and their father. This is especially true after divorce, when these relationships can change. It’s important for both parents to be involved.
Unfortunately, some people buy into the stereotype that fathers cannot raise children or fill that parental role. They say things like:
- A father is “babysitting” when he is with his own children
- The father is just a “second-rate mom” to a child
- The children are the mother’s responsibility, not the father’s
These are very dangerous and problematic statements. It’s important to remember that fathers are every bit the parents that mothers are, and equality is what is important. Children should have a relationship with both parents. Let’s explore some of the reasons why.
Studies have found that children who have a strong relationship with their fathers tend to have more self-confidence than those who don’t. They’re tough. They’re resilient. They handle stress better. A child who does not see his or her father may struggle with confidence and not adjust properly while growing up.
Learning language is a huge part of a young child’s life, and researchers have discovered that men use more complex sentences when talking to their children than mothers do. This isn’t to say that women are doing anything wrong, but just that children need that exposure to this more complex language. That’s what they’re eventually going to get in school and in the outside world, so it helps them develop.
Now, first and foremost, that father/child relationship is important for both sons and daughters. Girls need their dads in their lives, too. It helps them in numerous ways as they grow up.
It is different for boys, though. They are growing up and becoming men, and studies have found that they tend to imitate their fathers. That’s what they aim for, it’s what they feel they need to grow up to become. Fathers have a huge impact on their sons, even when just setting a daily example — not necessarily when doing anything intentionally.
Again, this is not meant to insinuate that the mother/child relationship is any less important. It does many things for both sons and daughters. Undoubtedly, mothers play a drastic role in raising their children and helping them grow up and develop.
It’s just important in the modern era not to buy into the negative stereotypes about fathers. We need to remember how important they are and why children need relationships with both parents.
If you go through a divorce as a father, make sure you know what legal options and parental rights you have.