From Prevent Child Abuse North Carolina (PCANC)
Raleigh, N.C. - It is often said that children promise us the hope of tomorrow. But to deliver on that promise, children need the support of a community of caring and engaged adults-including their dads. There are all sorts of fathers-biological, non-custodial, foster and adoptive, step-fathers, grandfathers, and godfathers. What they share in common is a unique opportunity and important responsibility to help the children in their lives grow into healthy and productive adults. This Father’s Day let us celebrate and validate the important role of fathers in promoting the well-being of our children and our society at large.
Fathers make a brighter future possible by their daily involvement and commitment in children’s lives. Involved dads contribute volumes to the well being of their children. Studies show that active fathers lower the chance for school failure, early sexual activity, juvenile delinquency, and adult criminality among youth. Even so, the value of the male parent presence is frequently hidden by one-dimensional labels like breadwinner, disciplinarian, and joint custodian. But dads are much more than this. They help children learn important life skills. They provide children with emotional support, guidance and discipline. They are teachers and role models, and research indicates that while men and women often differ in their parenting styles, exposure to both is healthy for children.
Dads will not be successful, however, without community and public support. We do a good job at recognizing motherhood as vital to the institution of parenthood, but far too often we leave fathers outside of this critical equation. Dads as well as moms need to be able to take advantage of personal support networks that encourage and enable their responsibilities as nurturing parents. If we do not make fatherhood a first concern, then 1 in 4 children will continue to live without dad’s crucial contribution to their development and well-being.
This Father’s Day, make a commitment to elevate fatherhood to a position of honor and priority in your local neighborhood. Praise a dad for his efforts at the hardest job one could ever do. Recognize the good things dad is doing- and then help him to do the things he wants to do better. Create a group in your church or community that welcomes and sustains fathers. Encourage them to help with homework and eat meals with their children. Many studies confirm that higher levels of father involvement in these types of activities are associated with fewer behavioral problems, higher levels of sociability, and a high level of school performance among children and adolescents.
A healthy community celebrates the man who puts his children first. We will see great things when we expect great things-the fruits of fatherhood are far and wide. Support and honor our dads this Father’s Day and beyond. It is one of the best things we can do for ourselves, our children, and our communities.
Learn about Guilford Child Development's Fatherhood Program >>