What is The Impact of a Father?

You are about to become a father. Whether you chose fatherhood or were surprised by it, we are here to support you. Women’s Resource Center offers parenting classes to help you navigate this exciting new journey and provide you with the confidence, knowledge, and skills necessary to be a successful father.

The Impact of Fathers

Fathers have a profound impact on their children’s lives, whether they are actively involved or not at all. You can choose to parent or choose not to parent, but you cannot negate the impact you will inevitably have on your child’s life.

The Positive Effect of Involved Fathers

An active and nurturing father can have an incredibly positive impact on their child’s life. Here are a few of the most significant ways you, as a father, can influence your child’s life:

  1. Father involvement impacts infant health outcomes, including improved weight gain in preterm infants and breastfeeding.
  2. Children who feel a closeness to their father are twice as likely as those who do not to enter college or find stable employment after high school, 75% less likely to have a teen birth, 80% less likely to spend time in jail, and half as likely to experience multiple depression symptoms.
  3. The quality of the father-child relationship matters more than the specific amount of hours spent together. Non-resident fathers can positively affect children’s social and emotional well-being, academic achievement, and behavioral adjustment.
  4. High levels of father involvement correlate with children’s sociability, confidence, and self-control. Children with involved fathers are less likely to act out in school or engage in risky adolescent behaviors.
  5. Father involvement using authoritative parenting (loving and with clear boundaries and expectations) leads to better emotional, academic, social, and behavioral outcomes for children.
  6. Children with actively involved fathers are 43% more likely to earn A’s in school and 33% less likely to repeat a grade than those without engaged dads.
  7. Father engagement reduces the frequency of behavioral problems in boys while also decreasing delinquency and economic disadvantage in low-income families.
  8. Father engagement reduces psychological problems and rates of depression in young women.

The Effect of Absent Fathers

If there are so many positive effects of involved fathers, then the absence of a father has a profound negative impact.

  1. A father’s absence hinders development from early childhood through adulthood. The psychological harm of the father’s absence experienced during childhood persists throughout life.
  2. Children in father-absent homes are almost four times more likely to be poor. In 2011, 12% of children in married-couple families were living in poverty, compared to 44% of children in mother-only families.
  3. Children living in female-headed families with no spouse present had a poverty rate of 47.6%, over four times the rate in married-couple families.
  4. Fatherless children are at a dramatically greater risk of drug and alcohol abuse.
  5. Children of single-parent homes are more than twice as likely to commit suicide.
  6. Seventy-one percent of high school dropouts are fatherless. Fatherless children have more trouble academically, scoring poorly on tests of reading, mathematics, and thinking skills. Children from father-absent homes are more likely to be truant from school, more likely to be excluded from school, more likely to leave school at age 16, and less likely to attain academic and professional qualifications in adulthood.
  7. Being raised by a single mother raises the risk of teen pregnancy, marrying with less than a high school degree, and forming a marriage where both partners have less than a high school degree.

We are Here for You

Whatever the status of your current relationship, circumstances, or how hesitant you are to embark on this parenting journey, we are here to help and support you. We understand the crucial role you play. We offer a parenting program exclusively for dads. Contact us to sign up for our program or with any other questions.


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Weitoft, G., Sandler, I., Jacobs, D., Gould, M. Absent Parent Doubles Child Suicide Risk. The Lancet, Jan. 25, 2003