The Importance of Being a Good Father

You've probably already discovered the innumerable joys of parenthood. But did you know that in addition to all of the benefits you get from your child, you're also giving some important gifts back simply by being a good father?

What is a Good Father?

So what exactly does being a "good father" mean? Researchers from Oxford University define a good father as a male who makes time for his child to play and read to him, take him on outings, and takes an interest in his wellbeing and his education. They also point out that a good father doesn't need to be married to the mother or living with the child in order to provide these and other benefits. Further, in families where the parents are separated, the father-child bond can be an important way for the child to continue healthy mental and emotional development that will last through adulthood. Finally, it's also important to note that good father figures don't need to be related biologically to a child. Therefore, other males can fill this role just as well as the natural father.

In early 2000, the Oxford Researchers looked at the father-son relationship and determined that boys with involved dads are less likely to get in trouble with the police. Meanwhile, girls with good fathers are less likely to suffer from mental health problems as an adult.

Other highlights from this research include the fact that children with good father figures were also apt to perform better in school and have better marital relationships themselves. These facts are consistent with the results of other studies.

Other Factors

When it comes to being a good father, education levels also seems to matter. The researchers noted that fathers with higher levels of schooling tended to be more involved with their children. Also, while a father's degree of contact with his child is important throughout development, the level of involvement that exists when the child is 7 years old seems to be directly related to the child's later educational attainment.

Religious Matters

Another study performed by experts from Ohio State University also recognized an interesting link that exists between fathering and religious involvement. The findings, published in the Journal of Family Issues in 2007, identified the fact that fathers who became more religious after the birth of their child tended to be more involved throughout his life. However, researchers did note that the most involved fathers also had some previous religious connection.

What You Can Do

Wonder what all of these findings mean for you? In today's fast-paced world, hopefully they'll be enough to serve as a reminder to you to carve out enough time to spend with your child. Keep in mind that childhood passes all too quickly and you'll want to enjoy this special time together while you can. Finally, know that the time and effort you spend bonding with your child will have benefits that will last well beyond the formative years-and actually guide his wellbeing throughout his entire life.


Economic and Social Research Council

Journal of Family Issues

University of Florida