The traditional view of a family is long extinct. While a family was once considered to be a mother, father and 2.5 kids with a mandatory picket fence, that is no longer the case. Today we all know that a family can come in any shape or size. Whether a child has two mothers, two fathers, or a single parent they are at no disadvantage, and if anything will be more prepared for a modern world where we hope diversity is something that will be embraced. Despite this psychologists have shown that a mother figure and a father figure are beneficial for a child and how they are raised. For this article we will focus on the importance of a father figure.
First of all please note that we said a father figure. This does not have to be the natural biological father and in the modern world, it doesn’t even have to be a man. It does have to be someone with a slightly different approach to parenting compared to the mum though.
Having two adult influences is good because it gives a child somewhere to turn. Often a parent has to take the role of a bad cop when rules need to be set or a child needs to be scolded. It can be hard to turn around moments later and be a good cop. If a child has somewhere else to turn, another adult to confide in, it can allow them to bounce back faster from these moments of adversity. While a single parent can achieve these things it is more difficult to do and finding someone in the community can help.
A father figure also sets a good example. Whether you are raising a boy or a girl it doesn’t matter. Both children need to understand how a good man behaves. For a girl, you want to show them how a good man acts so that when they start to date they have high expectations. For a boy it works the same way, they need to know how a man should behave and act accordingly. Again, if there are no men involved that is perfectly fine but make sure you make up for this by pointing out many good male role models in society and by ensuring they understand how a good man should act.
Adolescent males have been shown to struggle with single mothers. At this stage in life, they are often becoming more aggressive and they have a need to win in many arguments. A male adult may be able to counter that aggression more easily but if that is not available then a mother simply needs to be mindful of this added testosterone and how it is making the boys act in this changing moment of their lives.
Studies have also shown that the presence of a father figure in a girl’s life helps her have greater self-esteem as she grows up. A girl who feels like she is understood and accepted by a father figure will have more confidence when she starts to date and will make more positive choices in future romances.
While we have spoken of the importance of a father figure in this article, it is important to know that not having a father is of no disadvantage to a child and this is proven in numerous studies as well. However, the mother and father’s role in a child’s life does provide meaning and if a father is not present then that figure needs to be replaced by something. It may be an uncle, a grandfather, a family friend, a coach, or someone else entirely. Whoever it is, simply has to show a child how a man should act in life. This will pave the way for them to either become a great man or be able to spot one.