Dear ol’ Dad: The perks of his parenting

posted at 5:30 pm on June 19, 2011 by Tina Korbe

What is it about fatherly wisdom that instantly presses the reset button on a rushed life, illuminating what actually matters? This past week, my dad’s work brought him to nearby Baltimore and I had the pleasure of joining him for dinner in the city — a once-common, but now-rare occurrence, given that we live so far away from each other. The meal functioned as a welcome reminder of all that I most value — and I came away from our conversation feeling exceptionally happy.

Turns out, studies support my ephemeral feelings. According to research, I’m right to attribute much of my generally upbeat attitude to the relationship I have with my dad – and I can also thank him for the thick skin that’s enabled me to live and work in a partisan place like D.C. in the first place. The perks of a father’s parenting are remarkably well-documented, as The Wall Street Journal reported this week.

As an estimated 70.1 million fathers prepare to celebrate Father’s Day in the U.S., recent research shows that their distinct style of parenting is particularly worth recognition: The way dads tend to interact has long-term benefits for kids, independent of those linked to good mothering.

Beyond rough-and-tumble play, men tend to challenge crying or whining children to use words to express themselves. Men are more likely to startle their offspring, making faces or sneaking up on them to play. Even the way parents hold babies tends to differ, with men cradling infants under their arm in a “football hold” and moms using the “Madonna position” seen in Renaissance artwork—tucked under their chins face-to-face, says Kyle Pruett, co-author of “Partnership Parenting” and a clinical professor of child psychiatry at the Yale School of Medicine. …

The benefits of involved fathering are known: improved cognitive skills, fewer behavioral problems among school-age children, less delinquency among teenage boys and fewer psychological problems in young women, based on an analysis of 16 long-term studies of father involvement, published in 2008 in the scholarly journal Acta Paediatrica.

The website FamilyFacts.org fleshes these ideas out still further:

  • Among adolescent boys, those who receive more parenting from their fathers are less likely to exhibit anti-social and delinquent behaviors.
  • Among adolescent girls, those who have a strong relationship with their fathers are less likely to report experiencing depression.
  • Adolescent males who report a close relationship with their fathers are more likely to anticipate having a stable marriage in the future.
  • Adolescent girls who have a close relationship with their fathers are more likely to delay sexual activity.

Clearly, an involved father contributes to a higher quality of life. But these facts have more than just personal implications: They also have policy implications. In some ways, the rhetorical dichotomy between fiscal and social issues is a false one. The Heritage Foundation’s Robert Rector explains why:

Child poverty is an ongoing national concern, but few are aware that its principal cause is the absence of married fathers in the home. Marriage remains America’s strongest anti-poverty weapon, yet it continues to decline. As husbands disappear from the home, poverty and welfare dependence will increase, and children and parents will suffer as a result.

In other words, all of society has a stake in stable marriages and family life. When marriages break down, the government’s welfare obligations grow. Perhaps the simplest way to promote fatherly involvement is to educate those who are unaware of just what a difference a dad makes. May this little post be a tiny part of that. To the fathers who are reading, thank you for all you do for your children — and for the country. Happy Father’s Day!

 


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Happy Fathers Day, to everyone..Military Dad’s as well!

Also, Happy Husband/Guy day! Because they never really get acknowledged either…

upinak on June 19, 2011 at 5:34 PM

My son lives with my ex-husband in Illinois…and my ex is one H*LL of a dad! He’s done a phenomenal job with our son.
Happy STEP-Fathers Day too!
*smiles and bows slightly @ Mr. Twerp*

annoyinglittletwerp on June 19, 2011 at 5:39 PM

Happy Fathers Day! Be a father to your child.

visions on June 19, 2011 at 5:41 PM

Happy Father’s Day to a group of men to easily diminished and so badly needed.

Cindy Munford on June 19, 2011 at 5:42 PM

Right now, in America, it is harder than ever to be a Dad. Any male, who is not impotent, can sire a child…as is being proven daily across our country.

However, it takes a man to be a Daddy, a Papa, a Pop, a Pops, somebody’s Old Man, or, simply, Dad.

kingsjester on June 19, 2011 at 5:44 PM

The crucial role of fathers is indisputable. Unfortunately, there’s an entire world view that says Father don’t matter.

The Zoo Keeper on June 19, 2011 at 5:44 PM

Thank you, Tina. My husband is an excellent father to our kids. People are amazed that we have raised four children to adulthood with absolutely no problems.

Rose on June 19, 2011 at 5:50 PM

When marriages break down, the government’s welfare obligations grow.

We’re lucky now if marriages even start to begin with.

forest on June 19, 2011 at 5:53 PM

All my life I tried to emulate my old man. Even though he no longer is alive my imitation of him, no matter how poorly it is, will always be my main goal. There is another type of Father that rarely gets our attention and that is our Heavenly Father, so today I thank you Heavenly Father for my earthly old man.

fourdeucer on June 19, 2011 at 5:54 PM

Happy Father’s Day to my dad who served 2 tours in Korea and 1 in Vietnam and who was the constant disciplinarian in my house. Without him I’d never appreciate the importance of a strong male role model in my life. RIP Dad. I hope I can be half the man that you were.

Rambotito on June 19, 2011 at 5:54 PM

Marriage remains America’s strongest anti-poverty weapon, yet it continues to decline.

That’s why we need homosexual marriage and every other type of marriage. It will end poverty in our lifetime and dare I think it. Social injustice and war also.

Tommy_G on June 19, 2011 at 5:54 PM

Thanks Tina…

… I appreciate it!

Seven Percent Solution on June 19, 2011 at 5:55 PM

Happy Father’s Day to all you dad’s out there. Great post, Tina, and your points are well made.

simkeith on June 19, 2011 at 5:59 PM

Nice post.

I agree with some of the sentiments here, as well. It’s one of my driving forces in life, to be as good a Dad as he was and is.

It’s amazing how I still remember lessons from my youth, and even encounter similar situations with my kids.

reaganaut on June 19, 2011 at 5:59 PM

Got a Fathers Day card from oldest daughter. Said “Do you remember when I peeled your eyelids back to wake you? Thanks for letting me live.”
Gotta love that girl.

countrybumpkin on June 19, 2011 at 6:01 PM

countrybumpkin on June 19, 2011 at 6:01 PM

So funny!!!

Cindy Munford on June 19, 2011 at 6:04 PM

“Everything is a little more awesome on father’s day.”

; )

RalphyBoy on June 19, 2011 at 6:06 PM

My daughter, age 12, has picked up playing the guitar over the past couple of months and for Father’s Day, I got the first song she ever wrote.

One proud Daddy!

crosspatch on June 19, 2011 at 6:07 PM

The folded flag that draped my father’s casket (WWII vet) hangs in my office. When I sit down to read the blogs or news and get saddened or frustrated watching my country suffer, all I have to do is look at that flag and remember his sacrifice. And I take a deep breath and make another promise not to let that sacrifice to have been in vain. Thank you Dad. I love you and I miss you every day. You are why they’re called the Greatest Generation.

TxAnn56 on June 19, 2011 at 6:08 PM

All my life I tried to emulate my old man. Even though he no longer is alive my imitation of him, no matter how poorly it is, will always be my main goal. There is another type of Father that rarely gets our attention and that is our Heavenly Father, so today I thank you Heavenly Father for my earthly old man.

fourdeucer on June 19, 2011 at 5:54 PM

Very well said.

itsnotaboutme on June 19, 2011 at 6:08 PM

Single moms, you can make up for not having their dad around by (carefully!) getting good men involved with your kids.
And most importantly, introduce your kids to the Father in Heaven.

itsnotaboutme on June 19, 2011 at 6:14 PM

itsnotaboutme on June 19, 2011 at 6:08 PM

Thank-you

fourdeucer on June 19, 2011 at 6:14 PM

My late father and I were not close(to put it mildly) when he died-but the older I get….I realize more and more, just how much my father’s daughter I really am.

annoyinglittletwerp on June 19, 2011 at 6:16 PM

Kids came over for Dad’s day brunch, that’s a good day.

Speakup on June 19, 2011 at 6:18 PM

That’s why we need homosexual marriage and every other type of marriage. It will end poverty in our lifetime and dare I think it. Social injustice and war also.

Tommy_G on June 19, 2011 at 5:54 PM

You forgot Global Warming.

darwin-t on June 19, 2011 at 6:19 PM

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2011/06/19/sunday/main20072372.shtml

Of course, CBS News went the “Tallulah Has 2 Daddys” route.

Marcus on June 19, 2011 at 6:25 PM

My father was distant and abusive during my life, however, I dug through his past and I was able to learn WHY he was like that, thus, eventually able to forgive him. I am now his full time caregiver and am thankful to God for giving me the chance to change things. We hardy have any money since we have to live on his SS check but God provides what we need…and it’s how I know God is pleased that we eventually got it right.

It’s never too late to make amends although I know it’s not possible for some to do so.

GoodBoy on June 19, 2011 at 6:26 PM

darwin-t on June 19, 2011 at 6:19 PM

I was just hitting the highlights.

Tommy_G on June 19, 2011 at 6:27 PM

But, but…I found out years ago that not only are fathers not important (the lesbians raise better adjusted kids argument) but fathers are actually dangerous to families as some fathers’ consumption of family resources in terms of gambling, purchasing alcohol, cigarettes, or other nonessential commodities, actually increased women’s workload and stress level.

Silly Tina.

eeyore on June 19, 2011 at 6:29 PM

This is a very poignant day here. I lost my bride of 27 years to brain cancer in March. The 3 kids (25, 23 and 20) and the new daughter-in-law were absolutely amazing as we went down that beyond-difficult path with her. I honestly don’t know if I could have made it through without their enormous efforts. Today they are making me feel like a king. While I still hurt deeply for my Rose, I feel so blessed having these great kids in my life, and I celebrate them today.

Patrick S on June 19, 2011 at 6:29 PM

Pop was a Marine, and a cop. Rapped his knuckles on my skull when my skull needed it, picked me up when I fell on my keister and dusted me off.

Here is to ya, Pop. I’ll be there when I get there.

Limerick on June 19, 2011 at 6:32 PM

Mom and Dad divorced when I was three. He was from the Midwest and had been stationed on the East Coast when he was in the Air Force where he met Mom. He left the Air Force shortly after my younger sister was born and they were soon divorced. He could have gone home, back to where he was from, but he didn’t. He was always there. He never lived too far away, never missed a child support check, and was always around when we needed him, even though we didn’t live with him.

My wife passed four years ago last week. Raising two kids by myself thousands of miles from “home” where I don’t really know a soul is hard, but very rewarding. Most resources for “single parents” are really for single mothers. Nobody wants a single male in their babysitting share group. Even trying to get connected with a single parenting group is impossible for a sole custodial father. It feels very “creepy” to them when a male even inquires about their groups.

I would say there are a lot more resources out there for single mothers than there are for single fathers.

crosspatch on June 19, 2011 at 6:32 PM

Mother’s Day has the highest number of phone calls, however, the most collect calls are made on Father’s Day. :)

GarandFan on June 19, 2011 at 6:34 PM

Patrick S on June 19, 2011 at 6:29 PM

I’m sorry for your loss.
*speechless for once*

annoyinglittletwerp on June 19, 2011 at 6:38 PM

men cradling infants under their arm in a “football hold”

Personally, I hold my daughter and strike the Heismann stance.

John the Libertarian on June 19, 2011 at 6:38 PM

Patrick S on June 19, 2011 at 6:29 PM

Our prayers for your loss. You have great kids because you and your Rose raised them up to be great. Well done.

chemman on June 19, 2011 at 6:41 PM

Patrick S on June 19, 2011 at 6:29 PM

May God hold you and your great kids in the hollow of His hand. God bless.

kingsjester on June 19, 2011 at 6:44 PM

Great post, Tina. Its hard to believe that many of the things you say here are now considered controversial.

Kataklysmic on June 19, 2011 at 6:54 PM

For all of you Texas fathers, remember not to spank your naughty children.
You don’t want to end up a felon.

Badger40 on June 19, 2011 at 6:56 PM

For all of you Texas fathers, remember not to spank your naughty children.
You don’t want to end up a felon.

Thanks for the reminder, Badger40! We have to be careful here in Texas now.

My family let me take a four-hour nap this afternoon after church. That was a great Father’s Day gift!

Happy Father’s Day from this father in Fort Worth to all of the other fathers out there.

MeAlice on June 19, 2011 at 7:18 PM

Patrick S on June 19, 2011 at 6:29 PM

So sorry to hear of your loss. Congratulations on raising a family. There is nothing better than the love of a family.

Cindy Munford on June 19, 2011 at 7:30 PM

That’s why we need homosexual marriage and every other type of marriage. It will end poverty in our lifetime and dare I think it. Social injustice and war also.

Tommy_G on June 19, 2011 at 5:54 PM

This is a joke or your Dad was a total wuss.

rcl on June 19, 2011 at 7:58 PM

I had one of the best Father’s Days in a long time today. Spent most of the day “yelling” at my 9-year old and several of his friends.

“Move your feet!” “Creep!” “Stay low!” “Drop-step and get under it!” “Throw through him, not to him!” “Throw a bullet, not a grenade!” “Load earlier!” “C’mon, violent hips through that ball!” “Dipping your shoulder again, don’t do it!” “Down, slide, down!” “If he’s standing on your base, take out his ankles and legs!” “C’mon guys, get intense or grow pony tails and just hope some girls’ softball team will let you try out with them!”

Yep, nothing better than coaching in a state championship baseball tournament on Father’s Day.

And, when my much older son, now on college summer break, showed up to see his old man going through all this again, a special day it was.

Happy Father’s Day to all of us guys lucky enough to be called “Dad”.

TXUS on June 19, 2011 at 8:08 PM

Great post Tina. I just got off the phone with my daughter. She’s at home with her Mom while hubby’s overseas. I’m working 500 miles away and couldn’t make it home.

Since I worked from home most of her younger years I spent mucho time with her. She’s tough, sits a saddle well and won’t take any guff from anyone but she’s 100% female. She wore a dress or skirt and high heels everyday to high school. Then she’d pull on her boots and ride a cutting horse.

I thank God for the honor of being that girl’s Dad. Double thanks that He sent her a man I’d be proud to call my son.

rcl on June 19, 2011 at 8:08 PM

It’s good to be a Dad every day, especially today!

Khun Joe on June 19, 2011 at 8:11 PM

I think it’s the part where the kids remember you (yes on Father’s Day too) regularly that let’s you know that you did a good love raising them. When they just want to see you, talk with you, while busy with their own families says that you were, and remain, important to them.

Robert17 on June 19, 2011 at 8:31 PM

Yes, Time to Educate Yourselves….More than half marriages end in divorce today, and in over 90% of those, fathers who desperately want to remain in their childrens’ lives, will become visitors to their children less than 30% of the time if at all. The biggest civil injustice today is a system that financially incentivizes a vindictive or greedy ex, lawyers, and the family court itlsef to keep fathers nothing more than a support payment to their children. Nowhere else can fathers have parental rights taken curtailed, their livelihood and belongings taken away, or be put in debtors prison. Nowehere else could a father be required to pay amounts sometimes exhorbinant enough to destitute them, and while doing so be forbidden from seeing their children. All in closed proceedings. No wonder more distraught fathers have committed suicide in the past ten years than died in WW2! All readers should not aquiece quietly. Actively support state legislation to mandate the courts presumption of equally shared parenting, most politicians won’t touch the juvenile or family court judges. Read Fathers and Families. May God help those fathers who don’t give up, today iis very tough for them.

Rea1ityCheck on June 19, 2011 at 9:58 PM

Being a dad of an adolescent boy is …well…enlightening. I am going to laugh a lot when he has his own children to take care of. Patience is a virtue….chuckle

percysunshine on June 19, 2011 at 11:05 PM