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  • Dr. Teresa Edwards, LMFT

Pillars of Love: Celebrating the Vital Role of Fathers

Sometimes it seems like our culture downplays the importance of fathers but, fathers play a vital role in their family.

More and more, men are taking an active role in parenting their children, with their own unique way of relating and caring. Fathers even have their own way of playing with their children, which is essential for a child's mental and emotional well-being. According to Dr. John Gottman, fathers play and interact differently than mothers with their children. A father's play is more physical and tactile, and can quickly jump from one activity to another, which is critical to a child's development. Research shows that the way fathers play is linked to positive outcomes for children, including benefits in intellectual development such as verbal ability and higher IQ scores.

Hundreds of studies also show that a father's involvement with his children is linked to positive emotional and social outcomes such as the ability for the child to be empathetic, even as an adult. The benefits of a father's love lasts so much longer than childhood. Children who grow up experiencing affection and warmth from their fathers have better social relationships, including better marriages in midlife.

A father's involvement with his children is also an important factor of a happy marriage. Wives report being happier in their marriage and with their own parenting skills when fathers are more involved in family life. Men are also happier in their marriages when they actively participate in child care and rearing.

So, let's not overlook the importance of a father's role in his marriage and with his family. Let's celebrate active, caring fathers every day of the year, not just on Father's Day.

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