ROLE OF THE FATHER

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Sir Godfrey Gregg

In almost all cultures fathers are regarded as secondary caregivers. This perception is slowly changing with more and more fathers becoming primary caregivers, while mothers go to work or in single parenting situations, male same-sex parenting couples.

Fatherhood in the Western World

In the West, the image of the married father as the primary wage-earner is changing. The social context of fatherhood plays an important part in the well-being of men and all their children. In the United States, 16% of single parents were men as of 2013.

Importance of father or father-figure

Involved fathers offer developmentally specific provisions to their children and are impacted themselves by doing so. Active father figures may play a role in reducing behaviour and psychological problems in young adults. An increased amount of father-child involvement may help increase a child’s social stability, educational achievement, and their potential to have a solid marriage as an adult. Their children may also be more curious about the world around them and develop greater problem-solving skills. Children who were raised with fathers perceive themselves to be more cognitively and physically competent than their peers without a father. Mothers raising children together with a father reported less severe disputes with their child.

The father-figure is not always a child’s biological father and some children will have a biological father as well as a step- or nurturing father. When a child is conceived through sperm donation, the donor will be the “biological father” of the child.

Fatherhood as a legitimate identity can be dependent on domestic factors and behaviours. For example, a study of the relationship between fathers, their sons, and home computers found that the construction of fatherhood and masculinity required that fathers display computer expertise.

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