Not all children whose fathers live with them turn out well. Not all children whose fathers do not turn out badly. However, there is plenty of evidence to show that most children will benefit from having their fathers take an active role in their lives.
What can fathers do to encourage the well-being of their children?
Research suggests that the benefits to a child of having their father participate are affected by several factors. Some of these you can do nothing about:
- The child’s gender: While much is made of a father’s importance to young males, they are equally important to daughters.
- The child’s age: It may be easier to re-enter a child’s life at specific stages. However, as evidenced by the number of adults who seek out the father they never knew, it is never too late.
Some things you can do something about:
- Your relationship with their mother: You might not live with the mother because you do not get on. However, if you can put your differences aside and be civil toward each other, it will make a huge difference for your child.
- Your financial contribution: Unless money is not an issue for the mother, the funds you send will make a significant difference.
- Your parenting style: Too strict, and you could push your child away. Too lax, and you could lack the authority to correct your child when needed. Children need boundaries, even if they also like to test them at times.
- How often you see your child: It is hard to build a good relationship with someone you hardly see. Even if you cannot physically see each other frequently, consider chatting via phone or video. Children like to know you are there for them.
Fighting for paternity and visitation rights can be tough. Yet, it truly is in your child’s best interests to have you in their life.