The role of dads has changed greatly in our society with many fathers now taking a more active and caring role in the raising of their children. There is widespread support among researchers, policy makers and community members, for fathers increased involvement in children's lives. Studies (e.g. Allen & Daly, 2007; Amato, 1994; Culp, et al., 2000; Fletcher, 2008) have shown that your involvement in your child's life can be associated with positive child outcomes including:
- Well developed social skills
- Elevated cognitive abilities
- Improved academic performance
- A greater sense of self-competence
- High levels of self esteem
- Good mental health and wellbeing (e.g. less depression)
- Less aggression
- Fewer behavioural problems
Overall, the benefits of your involvement in raising your child are clear. It is in the best interests of your child to have a close relationship with a supportive, caring, nurturing and active father.
Your child’s brain grows faster between the beginning of pregnancy and 3 years of age than at any other stage in his or her life. This time is often referred to as the ‘critical period’ of development as it creates the foundation for longer-term positive outcomes and many believe that the neural pathways (learning connections) that are formed in the brain during this period are established for life. The development of your child's brain is determined by his or her daily experiences, with you and the world. Positive experiences from the earliest age support healthy brain development which then supports future learning.
Dads provide an important influence on child brain development, in ways that are unique and independent to the mother's role. In providing positive experiences, dads can help to shape their child's development in this area.
Connecting with your Child
- Good fathering outcomes are based on you having a strong, consistent, positive connection to your child.
- How will you connect on an emotional level?
- What type of relationship do you want with your child?
- Dads have a role to play in helping their child to form secure attachments in the world. Ideally, a secure child with healthy attachment experiences his or her dad as a secure base from which to explore the world; as a place of safety and a source of comfort; feels safe to express emotion and social needs; feels protected by dad; and anticipates soothing and support from dad.
Working Together with your Partner
The best parenting happens when mum and dad work together as a team. Parenting in the early years is a joyful experience for most, and at times challenging. The challenges of parenting are more easily met when the parents have a good relationship and work together in the best interests of the child. By supporting your partner (e.g. breastfeeding, sharing housework, bathing baby), you have the opportunity to maintain a good relationship, make day to day parenting easier, and give your child a great start in life.
SMS4dads is a new project to keep in touch with dads before and after the birth through their mobile phones. Any dad can enrol anywhere in Australia from 6 months before the birth until 3 months after the birth. The messages will be sent until the baby is 6 months old.
Parenting Workshops you might find useful
For more information see the following pages
|Email:DadsWA@ngala.com.au||Phone: (08) 9261 4444|
Allen, S., Daly, K. (2007). The effects of father involvement: An updated research summary of the evidence inventory. Centre for Families, Work, and Wellbeing: University of Guelph.
Amato, P.R. (1994). Father-child relations, mother-child relations, and offspring psychological well-being in early adulthood. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 56, 1031-1042.
Culp, R.E., Schadle, S., Robinson, L., & Culp, A.M. (2000). Relationships among paternal involvement and young children's perceived self-competence and behavioural problems, Journal of Child and Family Studies, 9, 27-38.
Fletcher, R. (2008). AFRC Briefing, 9, Australian Family Relationships Clearinghouse, Australian Institute of Family Studies.
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When: 9 Dec, 10:00am
Babies up to 12 months. Covers the impact of nutrition on brain development in the first year of life. Topics include the timing of introducing solids, variety, quantity and quality of foods and strategies to establish and encourage long term healthy eating patterns.