Despite the stereotypical image of the deadbeat divorced dad, most fathers want to spend more time with their children. It can be more of a challenge when the children do not live with them full-time.
This is really a shame because, according to Fatherly, children with fathers who engage with them from birth and maintain lifelong engagement, are more likely to succeed.
How involved fathers have a positive effect on children
The positive effect on a father’s engagement with his children is evident at a very young age. Research shows that children whose fathers played with them when the children were infants score higher on cognitive tests at age 1, age 2 and age 3 than children who do not have supportive fathers who engage with them.
As long as the father remains involved, the benefits increase as children grow. Children of involved fathers have fewer psychological problems and are less likely to engage in risky sexual behaviors as adolescents. As adults, they are more likely to have stable, healthy relationships and higher-paying jobs.
Why many fathers feel they do not spend enough time with their children
According to Pew Research, 63% of fathers say that they do not spend enough time with their children, compared to 35% of mothers who say the same thing. In one out of five cases, fathers say that the reason they do not spend enough time with their kids is that the children do not live with them.
Admittedly, there are situations in which it may be detrimental for children to spend time with their fathers. Also, the quantity of parenting time is not necessarily a reflection of the quality. Nevertheless, splitting parenting time as evenly as possible, when appropriate, could benefit children and fathers alike.