Why Fathers Are Important
How a relationship with Dad can change a child's life
Dads and Play
Fathers play differently with children, using more
physical and vigorous play activities. Fathers use
more physical contact and spend a larger proportion
of time playing (40 percent vs. 25 percent for mothers).
Mothers almost automatically join at the child’s
level of play, often allowing the child to direct the
play activity. In contrast, fathers are more likely to
position themselves as the leader. Fathers
encourage teamwork and stimulate children to
experiment with new games, to learn new skills, to
compete, and to push the limits of their knowledge
and abilities. Children need both types of play
interaction: a chance to direct and the opportunity
to be challenged.
When mothers discipline children, they tend to
adjust the discipline to the child’s current state of
mind. A father is much more likely to discipline by
“rules.” Mothers offer children flexibility and run
the risk of continual bargaining. Fathers offer
children predictability and run the risk of rigidity.
Mothers offer sympathy; fathers offer consistency.
Fathers make a unique contribution as parents.
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