1. How do Fathers Fit In? looks at all the ways in which fathers add to family life, and to the richness of a childs upbringing and experience. If you know any dads who are wondering what they contribute to their kids wellbeing, it's worth a look. It goes through each stage in a childs life, looking at how the fathers role helps the children to develop and grow, e.g:
Both mothers and fathers encourage their babies to investigate the world, manipulate objects, and explore physical relationships. However, mothers and fathers have different styles of relating. Mothers tend to speak soothingly and softly in repetitive rhythms to their infants and snugly hold them. Fathers tend to provide more verbal and physical stimulation, by patting their babies gently and communicating to them with sharp bursts of sound. As babies grow older, many come to prefer playing with their fathers who provide unpredictable, stimulating, and exciting interaction. This stimulation is important because it fosters healthy development of the baby's brain and can have lasting effects on children's social, emotional, and intellectual development. Infants with involved fathers tend to score higher on tests of thinking skills and brain development....
....Statistics about children who do not live with their fathers can be grim. On almost every outcome that has been tested, including educational achievement, self-esteem, responsible social behaviour, and adjustment as adults, children do better when they live with both of their parents. Family instability and financial problems do contribute to the poor outcomes for children from broken homes. However, as one scholar who reviewed 28 studies of father absence states: 'the major disadvantage related to father absence for children is lessened parental attention'.
2. On the catastrophic effects of absent fathers Experiments in Living: the Fatherless Family is sobering reading. It details the toxic effects of broken families upon all parties.
3. Great Rob Parsons article on 'the most important gift a father can give his child':
There is no more powerful force on the face of the earth for building strong relationships than unconditional love.
I learnt that lesson the hard way. I remember my daughter Katie coming home from school. She came running in yelling, “Dad, I got 95 per cent in maths!” I had two questions for that little girl: “What happened to the five per cent?” and “Where were you in the class order?” I’m not proud of that conversation.
Of course, every parent should do their utmost to motivate their child and help them achieve their best, but I remember realising that Katie needed to know that my love for her was not based on her accomplishments, but on our relationship – the fact that I am her father. In other words, love without strings.