This article has been written by Dr Santosh N, MBBS, MD, Consultant Neonatologist & Paediatrician, Apollo Cradle Jayanagar
Fathers occupy a critical place in every child’s development. Findings from the science of early childhood and early brain development show that being positively engaged early in their children’s lives leads to a positive, lifelong impact that fathers can have on children.
The effect on a new-born:
Even before a child is born, the father’s attitude regarding the pregnancy, misbehaviour during the prenatal period, and the sour relationship between the father and mother may indirectly affect the baby or have adverse effects during childbirth.
A father’s involvement during the infant stage can influence positive health outcomes in newborns such as improved breastfeeding and impressive weight-gain in premature babies. Repeated studies have shown that the absence of a father’s engagement in a child’s life is detrimental to the overall healthy growth of the child – physical as well as psychological.
As kids grow older:
- For young boys, qualitative engagement with their father reduces the frequency of behavioural problems.
- For young girls, it is known to reduce psychological problems and likelihood of depression when engagement with their father is better.
- Children who’ve had underdeveloped relationships with their father may experience difficulties in developing productive, healthy relationships in life.
- Children whose fathers are involved in their day-to-day activities are less likely to act out in school or engage in risky behaviour during adolescence.
- It is observed that when a father’s involvement with his child is more, children tend to grow to have higher levels of sociability, confidence and self-control.
What a father's absence can do to your child: