In addition to providing economic support, an involved father helps to improve behavior that can lead to social connections, educational achievement and reduced risks of criminal activity. Unfortunately, the National Fatherhood Initiative states that one in three children in the United States have no biological father at home. It is important to understand how an absent father can affect a child’s behavior in order to combat any potential issues.
An absent father is one of several factors that could inhibit a child’s social growth and confidence. According to the Colorado State University Extension, well-fathered children are more social as adults. The Child Welfare Information Gateway also indicates that a good relationship with the child’s mother is also important, and that a solid parental relationship indicates greater emotional health for the child.
A nurturing relationship with a baby’s father early in life leads to better cognitive development. An infant relies on bonding and response to her needs in order to feel secure about learning about her environment. The importance of an involved father continues into the school years as well. The Child Welfare Information Gateway states that while mothers are more focused on a nurturing relationship, fathers are typically more focused on pushing achievement. According to a 1996 National Household Education Survey, a child is less likely to have been suspended or expelled if her father was highly involved at her school, and she is more likely to succeed in school if she lives in a two-parent household.
An absent father can affect a child’s anger management skills, especially in young males. A child without a father in the home is more likely to be incarcerated, according to the National Fatherhood Initiative. Additionally, he is more inclined to use drugs if he does not live with both parents.
Although the physical presence of a father is important, being emotionally available and involved is just as important. If you are concerned about your child’s lack of relationship with a father figure, try talking to your child’s doctor or a family specialist about how you can include additional positive role models in your child’s life. Your child might benefit from a mentoring program, a specialized program at school or more focused time with another male family member.