January is National Mentoring Month – How Can a Dad be a Positive Mentor to His Children?
The “State of the World’s Fathers,” produced by MenCare and its partners, analyzed hundreds of global studies on fatherhood that show why and how fathers matter. Findings from the report were shared in an article from HuffPost that examined the powerful and enduring influence fathers can have on their children.
It is vital that all fathers, whether single, divorced or married, remember that they can be one of the most influential mentors to their children.
The article reviewed the positive results engaged fathers have in the lives of their children:
- Their kids play well with others. Playful and affectionate interaction with fathers is shown to predict a child’s positive social-emotional involvement with others.
- Their children are more prepared for school…
- … and go on to be more successful academically. When fathers are involved in their education, children not only do better at school, they are also more likely to graduate and achieve higher levels of career and economic success.
- Children start speaking earlier and are more verbally expressive. A father’s linguistic interactions with a child at an early age is strongly related to the development of his or her language skills.
- Children grow up less prone to depression. Paternal involvement has been linked to lower rates of depression, fear and self-doubt in fathers’ young-adult children.
- Sons are less likely to be in trouble. The rates of delinquency from school are lower among boys whose fathers actively participate in their care.
- Daughters are more ambitious in their careers. A father’s approach to household chores was a strong predictor of professional ambitions in daughters when they grew older, a University of British Columbia study found last year.
- Daughters have a more positive self-image. Young women with engaged fathers also had higher overall opinions of themselves, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Administration for Children and Families has reported, along with higher reported levels of self-esteem.
Fathers play an important — and sometimes overlooked — role in the health and well-being of their children. Engaged dads have a tremendous impact on how a child grows up.
The Dads’ Resource Center was established to promote the well-being and healthy development of children from separated or divorced families by helping to support and encourage fathers to be fully and actively engaged in the lives of their sons and daughters.
Toward this end, the Fatherhood Four Commitments were developed – comprising the primary responsibilities that all fathers have toward their children.
Fathers who want tobe positive mentors to their children can embrace the Fatherhood Four as the driving principles in this endeavor.
- A father’s primary focus should be his children. Whatever complications or challenges may exist or develop, Dads should place the safety, health, happiness and well-being of his children first. This needs to be displayed consistently in words, actions and deeds.
- Fathers should respectfully co-parent. Dads who are separated or divorces need to respectfully co-parent with his child/children’s mother. That includes communicating in a polite and courteous manner. It goes a long way to make every effort to accommodate reasonable adaptations to parenting plans. It is important to remember that children are affected when one parent knowingly portray the other in a negative light.
- Fathers should ensure the basic needs of their children. This includes financially, medically, educationally and developmentally. Their overall welfare and safety should be first.
- Fathers should strive to be the best possible father. As the studies in the article showed above, it is important for fathers to be active in their children’s lives. That includes spending meaningful, quality time with them, actively communicating, and being a positive role model and influence on their lives. So, during National Mentoring Month, remember the important role a father has in being a positive mentor to his child(ren).
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