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  • Luisa Scherer

The Importance of the Father Figure to Child Development

Updated: Jun 19, 2023



The father figure is changing and it is no longer seen as the family provider. Domestic chores are increasingly being shared equally and so are the parents’ responsibilities. Nowadays, the mother is not the only one responsible for the raising and rearing of a child. The father figure is just as important as the mother, and a good relationship between the child and the father figure has countless positive benefits to kids’ lives. 


The mother is more present in the first few years of a child’s life — after all, she is the one who breastfeeds. When they are babies, kids see themselves and their mothers as one thing, and overtime they start to perceive there is a separation between them. The father is part of this process. This figure shows the world to the child and motivates them to explore it, even if unconsciously. 


What is the role of the father?


An article published in the Brazilian Journal of Psychopedagogy explains the importance of this parent figure. “The role of the father in child development and the interaction between father and child is one of the decisive factors to social and cognitive development, facilitating the child’s learning ability and integration into the community.” The article also explains that the connection between father and child is reflected later on in their adult lives, in their psycho-affective constructions, and by having an impact on their social relationships.

 

A good relationship between the child and this figure also affects the way kids act when they come across challenges, and they tend to be less aggressive. 


Psychologist Márcia Orsi explained in an interview to Pais&Filhos magazine that “research has shown that the father figure makes the entrance into social relations safer for the child.” This parent figure is indispensable to establish boundaries, an important factor of the child’s character-building process. 


Kids need quality attention from their fathers or father figures. Girls and boys need love, care, and affection. That is why having alone-time with them is incredibly healthy for the child. Reading stories, visiting parks, going to the movies, teaching how to ride a bike, etc., are activities that create memories together and help children see themselves in the world. 



Written by Luisa Scherer

Translated by Mariana Gruber

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