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Parents: How Fathers Can Build Relationships With Their Kids

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Fathers play a significant role in the development of their children and nothing is as heart warming than the relationship between a daughter and her father. Even though I may be an adult who no longer lives with my father, he still plays an integral part of who I have become and who I am growing to be as a woman.

The Importance of Fathers

There are multitudes of studies which have produced data supporting the point that an "actively engaged father" produces children who learn better, have higher self-esteem, and have lower depression than those with absentee fathers. Kyle Pruett, Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at the Yale Child Study Center, believes "men are the single greatest untapped resource in the lives of American Children."

Many studies have found that children with attentive fathers are more able to handle the stresses and frustrations that life brings. During the period of time between infancy to kindergarten, fathers are the instigators of play. Roughhousing with dad teaches a child how to handle aggressive situations and how to have physical contact without losing their emotions. Fathers also promote independence and achievement.

All in all, these studies cannot compare to the smile of a child when his or her dad comes home from work and wants to kick a ball around before dinner. Every child believes their father is the best, and they are correct. Dad is the superhero from a very young age and continues to be into adulthood. My own father sacrificed much during my childhood. He was present at every soccer game, coaching from the sidelines, whether I wanted it or not. He helped me understand my math homework during high school, often late into the night. And as an adult, my father is still the person I call on a Friday night when my car has problems.

My best friend and her husband are currently looking for a house. At one particular house, the backyard has a hill. Her husband decided to play with his son and roll down the hill several times. During this escapade, the realtor stated that she was very lucky to have a husband who played with their son. I never realized how important such acts were because my father was always a great example of someone who engaged with his children; he is constantly roughhousing with nieces and nephews as well as his grown children.

At the end of the day, my father guides me through life, even at the most inconvenient times. So men, be the kind of father who teaches their children through example. A father who values his time with his children more than his career. Be the father that you wanted when you were a child.

What is your favorite memory with your father?

Photos courtesy of Marissa Huntsman

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Marissa Huntsman

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