Things A Father Does Best

Brian Kuehmichel
June 10, 2011



Researchers agree that fathers play a unique and crucial role in nurturing and guiding children's development. The authoritative parenting in which children do best "involves spending time with children, providing emotional support, giving everyday assistance, monitoring children's behaviour, and providing consistent, fair and proportionate discipline."1 James 1:17; Deuteronomy 6:7 & Psalm 25:4

Lets briefly examine the Leadership of Biblical Fatherhood.


Fathers teach the dignity of women.

Ephesians 5:25 & Colossians 3:19 — They display a pattern a respect for their wives which enforces respect from their children and their playmates toward women and girls.

Fathers model love for and fidelity to their wives.

Ephesians 5:25 & Colossians 3:19 — They demonstrate to boys and give their teenage girls confidence in approaching a relationship with the opposite sex. Fathers encourage and require respect for their wives and daughters. This helps their daughters expect men to be interested in them for reasons beyond sex.

Fathers make a place for mothers to nurture their children.

1 Timothy 5:8 & Luke 6:36 — They provide the economic platform for stability, increased learning opportunities, increased participation of mothers in the household and in the nurturing of their children leading to less stressed and happier households. Support from fathers, both financial and emotional, enables a mother to be more competent. The caring, thoughtful, and emotionally stable mother is more sensitive to the varied needs of each child.

Fathers provide a sense of security for their children.

Ephesians 5:25; 1 Timothy 5:8; Luke 6:36 & Colossians 3:21 — They provide a platform for healthy intellectual development that leads to better choices by their children. "Fathers can give their children a sense of security and purpose that half a couple cannot."2 Fathers encourage their children to learn new skills, to take on new duties, to try new experiences and to become more independent. This results in better high school graduation rates with higher education levels and improved societal contributions.

Fathers provide a durable platform for emotional development with their children.

Colossians 3:20-21 & Ephesians 6:2-4 — They can have a major influence on helping their children build strong social relationships during childhood and later in life. Fathers also require the same children to take responsibility for their own actions. Fathers provide a model of responsible adult behaviour for their children that lasts well into adulthood. This results in lower rates of teen alcoholism, drug abuse, pregnancy, criminal activity, etc.

Fathers influence their children's moral development.

Ephesians 6:1-3; Colossians 3:20-21; Titus 2:12 & Hebrews 12:9 — They provide models for children to admire and emulate. Fathers encourage much better personal moral judgement, moral values, and rule-following. Their influence prompts tolerance and understanding in relationships and their children engage in more socially responsible behaviour. This effect decreased conflicts between their children and their friends.

Fathers present unpredictable, stimulating, and exciting interaction with their children.

Ephesians 6:4 & Colossians 3:21 — They really play with their babies in different ways than mothers. Men provide a wider range of verbal and physical stimulation by being more boisterous and active. Even while playing with their children fathers are guiding their children's intellectual and social development. "Playing with fathers also helps children develop emotional knowledge, so that they can identify their own emotions, acknowledge the emotional experiences of others, and describe the causes of emotions."1

Fathers teach us to care for others.

James 1:27 & 1 Timothy 5:3-10 — They impart to children an empathy that helps children to be sensitive, thoughtful and generous. In prosocial development, as in other aspects of children's lives, families are the first and most influential teachers.3

Fathers teach us confidence.

2 Timothy 1:7 — They challenge children to try more things, they hold out longer when children struggle, and they encourage problem solving skills, require completion of tasks and a can-do attitude.

Fathers speak using broader language skills.

Acts 5:42; Acts 18:11; 1 Corinthians 2:13 & Colossians 1:28 — They speak using adult terms giving more intricate and precise explanations to children.

Fathers enforce law and order.

1 Timothy 1:9 & Hebrews 12:9 — They establish a structure of beneficial heirarchy for children which helps them develop good manners, social skills and inter-generational respect. Fathers also affirms their children's progress and show boundaries to love and affection. "Kids need a dad more than they need a friend, and you're the best option for that... and if you won't be a father to them, they'll be looking for that influence elsewhere."4

Fathers give their sons a foundation for their identity.

1 Timothy 3:1-9 & 4:13-15 — They display a reserve, a distance, a 'try it yourself' position that allows their children to discover, explore and develop their own identities.

Fathers assert the proper place of power in the relationship.

2 Timothy 3:16 & 1 Peter 5:5 & Colossians 1:28 — They set the tone of acceptable behavior in the family unit. "A committee brought together by the Board on Children, Youth, and Families of the National Research Council has concluded that 'fathers, in effect, give children practice in regulating their own emotions and recognizing others' emotional cues.'"5 Fathers who participate interactively with their children "provide the essential battering ram boys need to form their specific identities."6 In the journey to maturity, sons go through a process that rejects their fathers even as they compete with them while seeking respect for their own identity. During play fathers create obstacles for their children and demand respect for limits and boundaries (the eyes, the face, too hard, too far, too messy, etc.)

Fathers influence their children's economic development.

1 Corinthians 12:4, 31; 14:1 — "Children who grow up in fatherless families are poorer, less healthy, less educated. They die much earlier, commit more crimes, and give birth to more babies out of wedlock."2 The self-control a father displays translates into endurance through learning difficult material, completion of tasks including education and work projects which translate into improved work performance, better pay and financial security.


BEST TEN THINGS A FATHER CAN DO
1. Know himself to the core 2. Recognize his hot buttons 3. Recognize the source of his hot buttons 4. Accept his hot buttons 5. Feed himself - physically and emotionally 6. Forgive himself 7. Laugh with, not at 8. Walk a wavering middle line with discipline 9. Lead by example more than by words 10. Understand his child's need to push against him at each stage of pending separation.6

WORSE TEN MISTAKES A FATHER CAN MAKE
1. Hit his children 2. Yell, shout, rant and rave 3. Apologize frequently 4. Lecture his children 5. Run away, physically or emotionally 6. Tease his children 7. Demand respect 8. Lie to his children in any way 9. Lie to himself 10. Berate himself6

"For both boys and girls, fathers' positive parental control predicted higher Performance IQ and fewer internalizing problems over six years later. These findings add to the increasing body of literature suggesting that fathers make important contributions to their children's cognitive and behavioural functioning, and point to the benefits of developing policies that encourage fathers to spend time with their children (i.e., parental leave for men) and promote positive fathering and involvement through parenting courses."7



References:

1. How Do Fathers Fit In?, http://www.civitas.org.uk/hwu/FatherFactsheet.pdf

2. Fathers provide sense of security in children's lives, Camille Olive, http://www.pennlive.com/editorials/index.ssf/2009/06/fathers_provide_sense_of_secur.html

3. Caring about Caring: What Adults Can Do to Promote Young Children's Prosocial Skillshttp://www.naeyc.org/files/yc/file/201107/CaringAboutCaring_Hyson_OnlineJuly2011.pdf

4. How To Be A Good Dad — 10 Things My Father Taught Me, Jason Ivers, http://www.amiracleaday.com/articles/2007/10/16/how-to-be-a-good-dad-10-things-my-father-taught-me/

5. What Fathers Do Best (Hint: Not the same things as mothers), Steven E. Rhoads, http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1422859/posts

6. What Fathers Need to Know, Evelyn Cole, http://easyfreetips.com/fathers/what_fathers_need_to_know.html

7. Fathers' influence on children's cognitive and behavioural functioning: A longitudinal study of Canadian families, Pougnet, Erin; Serbin, Lisa A.; Stack, Dale M.; Schwartzman, Alex E., http://psycnet.apa.org/journals/cbs/43/3/173/


Resources:

Where have all the fathers gone?, By Kate Fraher, Researcher, Institute of Marriage and Family Canada


Addendum:

A Change of Trajectory, Charles Colson, Breakpoint, March 12, 2012

Ten Things NOT to Do with Young Children, Harvey Bluedorn, Trivium Pursuit Blog, posted on Sunday, August 9th, 2009.



For more information see: Are You Going Somewhere? (includes "The Speech") | Biblical Headship - Part I | Biblical Headship - Part II | Purposes of Marriage | Are You Seeking a Suitable Marriage Partner? | Parents' Work: Invaluable but Nearly Invisible | The Case for Marriage | Things A Father Does Best | Things A Mother Does Best | Why a Family? - Why Become a Biblical Family? | In This Our Home