How important is it for a father to be present in a child’s life?

Many Ohioans who have children love them dearly. In many instances, couples have children and stay together, so children can have a stable home with equal access to both parents. Yet, when children are born out of wedlock, it can be difficult for children and their fathers to develop the bond that is so critical to the child’s health and development. This is because custody is automatically granted to the mother, and fathers have to take certain legal actions to acquire legal rights to their children.

So how important are fathers in their children’s lives? The short and easy answer is “very.” Children who have loving, caring, and engaged fathers have been shown:

  • to have better educational outcomes, their IQs are typically higher,
  • to have better cognitive and linguistic abilities,
  • through studies, are more confident and emotionally secure,
  • as kids are less likely to get into trouble
  • to be more likely to have positive social interactions with their peers.

But that is not all. Children with affectionate fathers are oftentimes more likely to:

  • have higher self-esteem
  • avoid disruptive behavior
  • say “no” to drug use

So, the presence and active engagement of a father can be a powerful force in a child’s life.

Yet, even fathers who want to play a part in their child’s life can face legal hurdles. This is why it may be necessary to seek the assistance of a family law attorney who can help fight to secure fathers’ rights. By taking legal action, a dad may be able to establish paternity, acquire visitation rights, and perhaps even address any custody issues that may arise.

Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, “The Importance of Fathers in the Healthy Development of Children,” Jeffrey Rosenberg and W. Bradford Wilcox, accessed on Oct. 2, 2015

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