Fathers’ involvement makes a difference

Good father-child relations are associated with an absence of emotional and behavioural difficulties in adolescence and greater academic motivation.

Being an ‘involved’ father makes a concrete difference to child outcomes, according to researchers Professors Eirini Flouri and Ann Buchanan5.

An ‘involved’ father, as defined in their research, is a father who reads to his child, takes outings with his child, is interested in their education and takes a role equal to the mother in managing his child. He may or may not live with the child’s mother, and may or may not be the child’s biological father.

Findings show that, generally, the higher the level of a father’s education, the greater is the likelihood of his being involved with his children. Good father-child relations are associated with an absence of emotional and behavioural difficulties in adolescence and greater academic motivation. When children grow up those who have felt close to their fathers in adolescence are more likely to have satisfactory adult marital relationships.

The study further shows that children with involved fathers are less likely to be in trouble with the police and that early father involvement protects children in separated families against later mental health problems. Father involvement is also strongly related to children’s later educational attainment.

Good quality relationships important to child development