Kids need dads. Studies done recently are confirming what should be pretty obvious to everyone - kids do better when there are two involved parents in the home. This is not to say that a single parent can't raise kids. They can. But the studies show some differences. For example, a study by the U.S. Department of Education found that children of highly involved fathers were 43 percent more likely than other children to earn mostly A's and 33 percent less likely to repeat a grade. Another study of children with one parent versus two found that as young adults, children of involved fathers are more likely to achieve higher levels of education, find success in their careers, have higher levels of self-acceptance and experience psychological well-being.
These studies are not saying fathers are the better parents and they are not diminishing the role of mothers in any way. I'm sure studies have been done showing the necessity and benefit of having an involved mother. The point is that kids need dads and if there is no dad they need a man in their life who is acting like a dad. A dad fills an important role in a child's life. While not each thing listed below is true of every Dad they are generally true of most.
Dads play with their kids differently than moms do, generally speaking. Dads are more likely to wrestle, tickle and throw their kids around in a fun way. This teaches kids to control themselves and their emotions.
Dads are more likely to encourage their kids to take risks and attempt things that might be seen as dangerous. I'm not saying Dads put their kids in danger. They are just more likely to encourage their kid to step out and do something scary or challenging.
While moms have a 'mama bear' mentality about their kids, involved dads seem to be very effective at keeping harmful people and predators away from their kids. Psychologist Rob Palkovitz said in The Atlantic, "Paternal absence has been cited by multiple scholars as the single greatest risk factor in teen pregnancy for girls." Interesting.
And when it comes to discipline, moms tend to discipline more frequently but dads tend to discipline more firmly.
There's good news for dads. You don't have to be perfect to be a dad. That title is reserved for only one Father. But Dads, you do need to be present and involved. Our job as dads is to live and parent in such a way that our kids see their heavenly Father represented in us. That, although we are imperfect, we are trying to reflect the best Father in our words and actions.The 'God as Father' imagery is tough for people who didn't have a good dad. We can help with that. A Christian song from a few years back sang the chorus,
"Lord, I want to be just like You
'Cause he wants to be just like me
I want to be a holy example
For his innocent eyes to see
Help me be a living Bible, Lord
That my little boy can read
I want to be just like You
'Cause he wants to be like me"
Men, let's make it our prayer that we act like Jesus. Our kids are watching. They need us. Let's be a good example for them.