Father Figures: The Role of Fathers in Families

My father, Alonzo EdwardFathers and their roles are ever evolving, contrary to ramblings that father’s are less involved with their families and in the lives of their children. The three keys to father child relationships — influence, involvement and affection dominate the more traditional roles of breadwinner and disciplinarian.

A recent Gallop Poll reports that eight of ten fathers said their families were “the most important element of my life at this time.” Only 8 percent said their families were not important to them. And when asked what they found most satisfying about their families, fathers rated “children,” “closeness, and “being together” as the most important aspect of their family lives.

So why then do we read and hear so much about father’s and their lack of involvement in their children’s lives? One of the most obvious answers is the high rates of  divorce and single parent households. But even in these instances, the role of father’s may be grossly underrated or misunderstood. In addition fathers express their caring in a number of different ways.

My own dad calls me on the regular to tell me how much he loves me and how proud he is to be my father. And while he may be exceptional in his willingness to verbalize his caring, children should understand fathers communicate feelings in differing formats. Time spent together, offering advice and counseling and just discussing common interests are methods more often used by dads.

But the point is that there is no single formula or one way for a dad to be a dad. A father’s attention is paramount to promoting self-esteem and raising successful, healthy and happy children.

So if you find that you are relatively happy, have a strong sense of self or even have good memories of childhood and your young adult life — stop and take a moment to tell your father you love him, and do it often. -roz edward


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