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DAD.info | Fatherhood | Being Dad | Father’s Day: Why are dads so important?

Father’s Day: Why are dads so important?

Maya Griffiths

Maya Griffiths

To all the dads who are devoted and are committed to their kids, we salute you. Those little everyday actions that may not seem important have more of an impact than you know.

This father’s day we want to celebrate dads for the marvels that they are and the positive effects they have on their kid’s lives. Your presence is life-changing.

The effect on fatherless kids

A million children in the UK have no meaningful relationship or regular contact with their fathers, according to a Centre for Social Justice report.

The consequence can be devastating: for example, 76% of young men in UK prisons have absent fathers. Fatherless children also often suffer from self-esteem issues, eating disorders, and incredibly high risk of suicide- it was found that 63% of young people committing suicide in the US had no father in their lives. Drugs and alcohol can also be an issue for fatherless children as they grow up.

Why doesn’t dad want to know me?

For children who grow up without fathers, they will always take it personally. ‘I’d always wonder why,’ says Laura*, who grew up without her dad. ‘I knew he was out there and I imagined him coming into my life one day, to fill the hole. For a little while when I was a late teen, he did. But by then I was old enough and cynical enough to recognise that he hadn’t bothered with me for my entire childhood. He hadn’t even known my name. Trying to get my head around it was devastating.’

Knowing that a parent hadn’t wanted to be involved in her life was something that she could never fulfil. ‘It’s the ultimate rejection,’ Laura says. ‘My dad just went off and lived his life and I was a mystery. Even when we did get to know each other, he was still selfish and absent and I just couldn’t forgive him for being so uninterested.’

The difference a dad makes

You being present in your child’s life has a ripple effect that only you can cause. Statistics show that children with fathers in their lives are twice as likely to complete further education, and 80% less likely to be in trouble with the law. Shockingly, 90% of homeless people grow up without dads.

You don’t have to live with your child to impact them positively either: children who have regular positive time with their dads do better at school and can regulate their emotions better. Fathers who are supportive and loving to their children provide them with self-esteem and a healthy foundation from which to flourish.

‘I see my husband coming to every sports event, every concert, and asking my son every single day about his day at school, and I feel so lucky he’s my son’s dad,’ says Laura. ‘He’s devoted, he’s loving, they go to the football together and share silly handshakes and jokes; it’s wonderful. I would have given my left arm to have had that myself. Without his dad my son would have a massive black hole in his life.’

*Name changed

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