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How Fathers Affect a Child’s Life? Research Paper

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Updated: Apr 2nd, 2020


Even though people believe that human personal traits are often inherent owing to the natural development and evolution of humans, child nurturing is a crucial developmental aspect that determines the traits of children (Schwartz & Finley, 2009). The outcome of the growth and development of a child has often been associated with the family background of the individuals.

Child rearing is the responsibility of the parents or caregivers in a family, and their nurturing techniques impose a direct impact on the development of the children and their behaviors (Slatcher & Trentacosta 2012). Maternal and paternal involvement in upbringing has an equivalent contribution to the growth and well-being of the children.

The past decades have witnessed a low paternal contribution to the development of children. Nonetheless, modern research concerning child psychology has revealed that paternal contribution is noteworthy in the parenting of the children. Therefore, this comprehensive literature review examines the manner in which the influence of the father’s involvement in parenting affects a child’s life.

Influence of Paternal Parenting

Paternal parenting influences the life of children behaviorally and socially. In most families, fathers are the sole providers and caregivers of the children and their mothers (Slatcher & Trentacosta, 2012). A growing amount of scientific evidence continues to implicate fathers with certain behavioral traits in the teenagers and youngsters.

According to Reczek, Liu, and Umberson (2010), children tend to view their fathers as the role models in their lives and such notions make them emulate most of the behaviors that their fathers exhibit. Behaviorally, some deviant and decent behaviors in teenagers are the products of imitated traits from their parents.

Slatcher and Trentacosta (2012) examined the impact of parental nurturing on the emotional and behavioral problems of the teenagers. They used 35 families in complete marriages to validate their arguments. Using 21 girls and 14 boys, with mothers and fathers of diverse ethnicities and ages ranging from 22 to 53, they noted that the negative emotionality of the father highly affects the child’s behaviors.

Whereas there are several life aspects that influence the behaviors of the growing children, the economic lifestyle and childhood family stresses influence the growth and future of the children. Schwartz and Finley (2009) investigated the relationship between mothering, fathering, divorce, and the lifestyle and behavior of the children.

Using 1,376 young adults who were university students, with 76% of them being female, Schwartz and Finley (2009) revealed that the involvement of fathers in parenting comes with stress and financial concerns. The students were from different immigrant communities who dwell in America and face various economic hardships as well as stresses owing to their socioeconomic problems.

According to Schwartz and Finley (2009), stress and economic hardships come from paternal irresponsibility that often causes divorce, family insecurity, poor care-giving, immoral growth, poor discipline, and low companionship. Families with irresponsible or naturally underprivileged fathers expose their children to violence, psychological disturbances, social alienation, poor educational performances, and insecurity.

The comprehensive investigation of Schwartz and Finley (2009) concerning the involvement of the fathers in the child development identified numerous domains in which the paternal contribution in children nurturing influences a child’s life. Fathers have a paramount duty to ensure discipline, moral development, physical development, school success, and the provision of familial companionship, leisure, social development, career advice, and the protection of their youngsters (Schwartz & Finley, 2008).

To understand how fathers are imperative in the growth and development of their children in the contemporary days, Howard, Lefever, Borkowski, and Whitman (2006) conducted a research to investigate the paternal influence on the children nurtured by adolescent mothers.

Using 134 adolescent mothers with firstborns in the Notre Dame Adolescent Parenting Project, the researchers noticed that fathers have an indispensable influence on the lives of children. The mean age of the adolescent mothers was 17.1 years during the childbirth, and during the interview period, only 8% of these mothers were still in their marriages.

Howard and other researchers presumed that when mothers are at risks, they often predispose their children to developmental delays and issues associated with poor schooling and dismal educational performances.

Howard et al. (2008) revealed that fathers married to adolescent women are very important in determining the growth and development of their children because responsible fathers foster cognitive readiness towards learning, enhance the intelligence of their children, increase positive adjustment to life hardships, and alleviate the growth risks.

In a ten year assessment of the adolescent mothers and the interaction patterns of the fathers married to the adolescent mothers, Howard et al. (2008) noticed that children often show increased intellectual growth and cognitive alertness in the presence of their fathers. Reczek et al. (2010) discovered that the children of the immature mothers tend to portray positive behaviors and higher degrees of discipline when they are with their fathers than when they are without them.

To examine the association between the involvement of the fathers and the development outcomes of the children, Sarkadi, Kristiansson, Oberklaid, and Bremberg (2007) conducted 16 different longitudinal studies of 22,300 participants. Among other complex measures of parental involvement, the researchers emphasized the cohabitation, responsibility, and engagement paternal participation variables. The term responsibility entailed the participation of fathers in the decisions pertaining to childcare, clothing choices, sleeping arrangements, and other practical matters (Sarkadi et al., 2007).

Engagement involved the father’s direct contact with the child, caregiving activities, playing, excursions, and learning, while cohabitation entailed the physical presence of the fathers.

The involvement of fathers in the appropriate parenting activities, such as the provision of financial support, behavioral change advices, and learning strategies of the children, impose a direct influence on child growth (Sarkadi et al., 2007). Properly directed children with an effective paternal involvement have a positive mind towards their educational goals and future careers.


Parenting has undoubtedly been a crucial life aspect in the moral, cognitive, physical, and psychological growth of the adolescents. While having a parent throughout the lifetime of a teenager is an important growth aspect, having both parents is normally the most important aspect in the growth and development of a child. The growing assertion that fathers have an imperative contribution to the growth, development, and the future of the adolescents is an important aspect to understand in the realm of the child psychology.

The involvement of fathers in ensuring that their children have an appropriate physical development, proper moral development, positive attitudes towards education, enough financial support, proper companionship, mentorship, and career advices is crucial for the teenagers.

Fathers, who ensure that their children receive suitable paternal care, optimistically affect the cognitive development, social life, behavioral attitudes, and the psychological development of their offspring. Such paternal involvements explain why and how fathers affect the growth, development, and the future of their children.


Howard, K., Lefever, J., Borkowski, J., & Whitman, T. (2006). Fathers’ Influence in the Lives of Children with Adolescent Mothers. Journal of Family Psychology, 20(3), 468-476.

Reczek, C., Liu, H., & Umberson, D. (2010). Just the Two of Us? How Parents Influence Adult Children’s Marital Quality. Journal of Marriage and Family, 72(5), 1205–1219.

Sarkadi, A., Kristiansson, R., Oberklaid, F., & Bremberg, S. (2007). Fathers’ involvement and children’s developmental outcomes: a systematic review of longitudinal studies. Acta Pædiatrica, 97(1), 153-158.

Schwartz, S., & Finley, G. (2009). Mothering, Fathering, and Divorce: The Influence of Divorce on Reports of and Desires for Maternal and Paternal Involvement. Family Court Review, 47(3), 506-522.

Slatcher, R., & Trentacosta, C. (2012). Influences of Parent and Child Negative Emotionality on Young Children’s Everyday Behaviors. American Psychological Association, 12(5), 932-942.

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