Is your dad your rock? Your mentor? Your best friend? If so, we want to hear from you. We’re joining the #MyDadIs campaign to highlight the crucial role that dads and father figures can and do play in the lives of children. The modern day father comes in a variety of forms. Dads might be the traditional breadwinner, the disciplinarian, or not. Single or married; externally employed or stay at home; gay or straight; an adoptive or step-parent. Even when biological fathers are absent, maternal partners, stepfathers, grandparents or other relatives may serve as father figures. Dads and father figures can be more than capable caregivers to children facing physical or psychological challenges. Psychological research across families from all ethnic backgrounds suggests that affection and increased family involvement by dads helps to promote children’s social and emotional development (APA, 2009).
And the benefits are long term. According to the Indiana Partnerships Center’s State of Fatherhood report, children with involved fathers:
- Have fewer behavioral problems in early school years and adolescence
- Form better relationships in childhood, adolescence and adulthood
- Have superior educational outcomes (graduation, higher education attainment)
- Have less psychological distress in early adulthood.
Dads also play a critical part in preparing their children for how to deal with adversity. Kids who are less resilient are at risk for cognitive, emotional, physical and social issues as they grow up.
APA’s Resilience Booster: Parent Tip Tool lists six things parents can do to boost resilience in their kids.
- Provide structure
- Talk about emotions
- Model and discuss self-control and problem-solving
- Build their child’s communication skills
- Get involved with their neighborhood and community
- Work with their child’s care provider or school
Clearly, dads are fundamental to raising healthy and well-adjusted children. So, for Father’s Day, we want to give dads the spotlight. Tell us why your dad is awesome by sending us a photo and message on Instagram (www.instagram.com/apapubint) or Twitter (@APAPublicInt) using the #MyDadIs hashtag. We will repost or retweet anything we receive all the way up to Father’s Day – June 21, 2015.
American Psychological Association (2009). The changing role of the modern day father. Washington, DC: Author. Retrieved from: http://www.apa.org/pi/families/resources/changing-father.aspx
Indiana Partnerships Center (n.d.). The state of fatherhood. Indianapolis, IN: Author. Retrieved from: http://fscp.org/wp-content/uploads/The-State-of-Fatherhood-Research-Brief.pdf