On Sunday, June 16, we join the nation in celebrating Father’s Day and recognizing the influence fathers and adult male role models have in children’s lives. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 24 million—or one in three—children live without their biological fathers. Societal factors such as unemployment, work-life balance or a lack of resources can affect a father’s ability to seek support in strengthening his parenting skills and becoming more engaged in the lives of his children. The Y, a leading nonprofit in fostering positive youth development, is dedicated to providing both resources and opportunities for fathers to further involve themselves in the well-being and development of their children.
Studies show that children with close relationships with their fathers and other adult male role models have more self-confidence and exhibit less depression, perform better academically and engage in significantly less drug and alcohol use.
As we prepare to celebrate dads, it is also a key moment for understanding the lasting and powerful influence a father has in the life of his child. Here are three critical ways dads impact youth development:
- SOCIAL-EMOTIONALLY: Children with more involved fathers experience fewer behavioral problems and score higher on reading and achievement.*
- COGNITIVELY: A father’s involvement in his child’s school is associated with higher likelihood of that child getting mostly A’s.*
- PHYSICALLY: The National Longitudinal Survey of Youth found that obese children are more likely to live in father-absent homes than are non-obese children. Yet, not all children have the loving, nurturing support of a father.