Who needs dads?

Fathers come in all shapes and sizes. A father may not even be related to his child or live with his child all the time. He might be a grandfather, step-father, foster father, or uncle. Children can have more than one father, or have relationships with other men who parent and care for them.

There is no one right way to be a father. Each father brings his own ideas and experiences to being a parent or carer, and has a lot to contribute to the mental health and wellbeing of his child and family.

Children  need secure, loving relationships with their parents . Not long after birth, babies start to notice that their mum and dad feel, sound, smell and look different from each other and from other people. In particular, a baby might notice that their father has a deeper voice and bigger hands, and may spend lots of time looking at their dad, fascinated, noticing everything that is unique to him.
When dads bond, engage and spend time with their baby, they are introducing their child to something new and interesting - their dad!

  • Young children who receive lots of affection from their dad will have a more secure relationship with him.
  • Children whose fathers are involved in their life are more likely to be emotionally secure, confident to explore their surroundings, and have a better social connection with their peers.
  • Men who are involved in their child’s life feel more confident and effective as a parent or carer, find parenthood more enjoyable, feel more important to their child, and feel encouraged to be involved.
  • When fathers are involved in their child’s everyday activities like eating meals together, reading and helping with homework, children tend to have fewer behaviour difficulties and better social skills.
  • How a father feels about being a dad and how he cares for his child has a large influence on a child’s social and emotional development. Children whose fathers feel good about being a dad and are sensitive and responsive to their needs tend to have better social and emotional skills.


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