Little did we know that fatherhood is actually a really complex and unique phenomenon that may have huge consequences for the intellectual and emotional growth of a child. We tend to think that parenting is the same for moms and dads. But often we see motherhood dominating the parenting studies, leaving the dad effect phenomena in dark.

The Dad Effect – Involvement and Importance of a Father

Little did we know that fatherhood is actually a really complex and unique phenomenon that may have huge consequences for the intellectual and emotional growth of a child. We tend to think that parenting is the same for moms and dads. But often we see motherhood dominating the parenting studies, leaving the dad effect phenomena in dark.

dad effect


What is a Dad Effect?

Any man can become to father but it takes a lot more to become a dad. The dad effect is the term that describes the benefits of a paternal presence in the child’s life.

Now I will be honest here, most dads think that sitting on the same couch as their kid and watching TV together sums up their presence in their child’s life. No, it doesn’t.

The quality of time spent together values much more than the quantity of time spent together. Just watching tv or watching your child play in the playground doesn’t help much. The child needs full and undivided attention. Even if it not for too long.

Thanks to the modern dads, who have started to spend some quality time with their children. This was successful enough to engage sociologists to research the effect a dad might have on his child.

Some recent pieces of research show that the kids who grew u with an engaged and present dad are:

  • Less likely to drop out of school
  • Stays on good behavior
  • Avoid high-risk behaviors
  • More organized
  • Likely to get high-paying jobs
  • Have higher IQ test scores
  • Becomes a good parent later in their lives


Fatherhood Starts Even Before the Baby is Born

For ages, it was believed that a dad is only responsible to teach his toddler to walk, play catch, and not get involved in other baby stuff.

But the past decade or so has been a game-changer for the dad duties especially. Now, the early a dad gets involved with the baby stuff, the better. Even during the pregnancy, it is important that the dads work on building a relationship with their womb babies.

Undoubtedly, research has proven again and again that babies after week 28 are developed enough to understand and remember the sounds around them. Building an early attachment with the baby goes long term in most cases.

This is to understand that fathers play a critical role even during the pregnancy. And their role does not end after the initial contribution of genetics. This is the stage where the groundwork for being a great dad begins.


A Good Dad Stays Arounds, Engages, and Gets Involved

A dad who stays with his kids and takes some time out to be there when his kids need them are far more likely to have a much bigger and positive impact.

The dads who live far away from their kids have limited resources but they can still work a few ways out to show their presence. Simple things like phone calls, writing letters, and sending gifts can never get old school. Every child wants to feel special and know that they are important to their parents.

Even if you can’t do that, buy some love. That might sound rude. But research has shown that if a dad can provide for his children, it can go a long way.

However, being around doesn’t do the job alone. A well-engaged parent can have a positive outcome than the parent who is just around. Positivity and warmth also play a key role in getting engaged with the kids.

Show your kids that you care, be there when they need you. Becoming a problem-solver is far more important than being a problem-maker for your kids. To know how well-engaged and involved you are with your kids is to see if your kids share things with you reluctantly.

If they hide things from you, then they do not want your involvement. This means you are doing poorly in that department. Therefore work on gaining your child’s trust. Engage with your children, talk to them about their day, activities, and show that you care.

Being dismissive, insulting, or belittling is extremely incompatible with being a good dad. It is not going to help your child, rather have serious negative impacts.


Fatherhood Changes as The Baby Ages

I have seen fathers often wondering why is their relationship with their kids a little salty. Even after trying to be an amazing dad every day.

The dad needs to understand that as the baby grows, the way they show and feel affection also changes. Their needs will evolve and your love would translate differently to them. Don’t get discouraged when your toddler or preschooler doesn’t show you the same affection as they use to.

In fact, try to catch the latest trends your child is following and get involved with it. It might feel meaningless at the moment. But trust the process because it has long-term positive benefits of you being around your child at all times and ages.


What Is A Good Dad To A Son?

Sons model themselves after observing their father. They seek their father’s approval from a very young age. A good dad effect for a son shapes how he thinks about himself and the world around him. Several anecdotal pieces of evidence point towards the fact that sons need their dads.

The research also shows that sons who didn’t have a father around or had a toxic relationship with their father faced trouble maintaining healthy relationships with others as they matured.

Broadly, the research showed that boys tend to depend on their fathers more than anything as they develop social skills. The fathers with bigger social circles have kids who build a bigger social circle as well.


What Is A Good Dad To A Daughter?

Daughters need their dad too, but for different reasons. Although studies suggest that the dad effect is almost the same for boys and girls. But things can take a turn when puberty hits.

A father who has been nothing but toxic, cold, disengaged, and insulting can literally change the whole personality of his daughter and will pursue the worst dad effect ever. Whereas a dad who has been involved, engaged, and present with his daughter will raise a confident, smart, socially equipped, and less risky daughter.

Daughters learn from their fathers about men in general. They learn how they should be treated and valued by the men in their lives. A disengaged father will only increase the “daddy issues” and teach her daughter that it is okay not to be fully invested in the family. The daughter might settle for some risk-taker in the future thinking that is normal. Or never fully trust a man in her life ever again.


How To Be A Good Dad?

Being a good dad is not easy. We agree by all accounts. But it holds tremendous importance in your child’s current and future life.

Firstly, dads need to realize that they are always being watched by their kids and it matters. So be careful because you are the biggest influence on your little one. If you want your kids to become a good human being, then without yelling at them, show them how to be a good human being. Always remember that actions speak louder than words.

Your small actions will impact your kid’s psychology, social development, and cognitive levels. The positive the dad effect, the better will be the future for your kids.

Secondly, start at the ground level. Play and spend time with your baby, even though he won’t remember. Try to be a part of every small developmental milestone your child covers. As I said, all these things might feel temporary and meaningless, but they hold great importance in the future.

Thirdly, be a great dad. Counsel your children about making smart life choices, genuinely show your care and concerns, be there at your children’s happy and sad moments, and never create sibling rivalry by favoring one child over the other.

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