In my last post I referenced a book by Paul Raeburn entitled: Do Father’s Matter? What Science is Telling Us About the Parent We’ve Overlooked.
Below I highlight 8 of his findings plus two Biblical reasons for why dads matter. I won’t go into the Science or give much detail. You can check out the book. But these are some of the things I found fascinating about the power of dads.
We’ll start with the science:
10) A father’s environment, behavior, and even appearance can have a substantial impact on fetal health—and on the health of his grandchildren
- Obese fathers were associated with a 60% increase in the risk of having a child with a low birth rate. It didn’t matter if mom was obese.
9) The children of fathers who embrace and support their partner’s pregnancy have an easier transition into kindergarten
- Fathers involved with their partners during pregnancy reduce the risk of the child dying in the first year of life
- Death rate for infants whose fathers are not around or not involved is nearly four times that of infants whose fathers are involved
8) When the father is in the delivery room, women report less pain, need less medication, and cry less…but the fathers cry more!
7) While moms tend to hold their children more than fathers, dads are more likely to play with their children when they pick them up.
- Fathers, through play, are more likely than moms to encourage infants to explore and to challenge them
- Interactions with dad that are playful, affectionate, and engaging predict later popularity in school and among peer groups, perhaps by teaching their kids to read emotional expressions on their dads’ face, and later on those of their peer group
- Kids see mom as crucial to their wellbeing. Dad is a playmate on a certain level. His play, often unpredictable, helps kids learn to be brave in difficult situations or in meeting new people
- Moms tend to be more attuned to their children and tend to use words the kids are more familiar with. Dads aren’t as attuned so they use a broader vocabulary, and their kids therefore learn new words and concepts
5) Children whose fathers play with them, read to them, take them on outings, and help care for them, have fewer behavioral problems in their school years and are less likely to get caught up in delinquency or criminal behavior as adolescents
4) Girls who have a warm relationship with dad and spend a lot of time with him in the first 5-7 years of their lives, have a reduced risk of early puberty, early initiation of sex, and teen pregnancy
- Researchers have discovered a robust association between father absence—both physical and psychological—and accelerated development and sexual risk-taking in daughters
3) Sons who have fond childhood memories of dad are more likely to be able to handle the day-to-day stresses of adulthood
We’ll wrap up with two Father affirmations from the Bible
2) God says Fathers matter
- God is neither male nor female. At times, God speaks from the perspective of a mother. But ultimately God chose to be addressed as and known by Father. That’s how important dads are.
1) Dads are created in the Image of God–male
- God wired a dad’s brain and his hormones with a unique perspective on life that kids need, the church needs, the community needs, and the world needs