Sometimes dads get a bad rap. The media often portrays them as lazy, fumbling idiots, or controlling and aggressive jerks. But there is so much research that points to the positive long-term impact dads have on their kids' emotional, academic, social, and behavioral outcomes. In this episode, my husband and I are stepping outside the stereotypes to talk about the incredible force for good that dads are in the lives of their kids. Happy Father's Day!

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I was not quite 16 when I first laid eyes on today’s guest. In the beginning I knew him as a friend of my sister’s, but eventually he became my friend, and then my best friend. He didn’t know it at the time, but he was instrumental in helping me emerge from the darkness I talked about in episode 24. He helped me see who I was and recognize my potential. For over 20 years now we’ve been having incredible adventures together, including the greatest adventures of getting married and becoming parents. Early on in our marriage, hen we were putting ourselves through college, before we had kids, we scrimped and saved until we could take what we felt was the trip of a lifetime; backpacking through Europe. For three weeks we lived out of regular sized backpacks as we stayed in cheap hostels and slept on trains through 8 European countries. One night in Monte Carlo we were hoping to take a night train to Spain, but the train system was on strike so we ended up with only a bush over our heads. I’m usually the more adventurous/spontaneous one, but that was his idea.

 

Life hasn’t been all peachy king though. We’ve had experiences that we weren’t sure our marriage could survive. I have learned that being happily married takes a lot of work. Raising kids is the same way. It’s not enough to just float through life as our kids go from one birthday to the next until they age out of our legal responsibility for them. Raising healthy, thriving humans takes a lot of work and is ideally done by two committed parents.

 

Last month, I did an episode on the mom perspective, and today, in honor of Father’s Day, we’re going to talk about dads. To do that I convinced my favorite person to come on and share his perspective. So here we go, my conversation with my husband, Russ Homer.

 

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Conversation with Russ

 

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And that’s my husband, an incredible force for good in the world. This podcast would not be a reality without him. He is my rock. And now when I’m frustrated with him, I can come back and listen to this episode to re-kindle my love. ;)

 

So we talked a little about toxic masculinity and how it can harm bystanders in a man’s life, but we didn’t really touch on how it can be such a negative thing for the individual himself. When men live with a belief that they have to be tough, that they shouldn’t cry or be sensitive, it is just as harmful to them. I love it when my kids get to see Russ cry, because they realize that it’s ok for men to feel!

 

There is so much research that points to the long-term impact dads have on their kids. Here are just a few things researchers have pinpointed:

Father involvement is related to improved weight gain in preterm infants and improved breastfeeding rates.[1]

Father involvement using authoritative parenting (which, if you’ll remember from other episodes means loving with clear boundaries and expectations) leads to better emotional, academic, social, and behavioral outcomes for children.[2]

Children who feel a closeness to their father are: twice as likely as those who do not to enter college or find stable employment after high school, 75% less likely to have a teen birth, 80% less likely to spend time in jail, and half as likely to experience multiple depression symptoms.[3]

The quality of the father-child relationship matters more than the specific amount of hours spent together. Non-resident fathers can have positive effects on children’s social and emotional well-being, as well as academic achievement and behavioral adjustment.[2]

High levels of father involvement are correlated with higher levels of sociability, confidence, and self-control in children. Children with involved fathers are less likely to act out in school or engage in risky behaviors in adolescence.[4]

 

Isn't that amazing?! I love all of those!

 

If a dad isn’t in your home – exposing your kids to positive male role models can have a powerful effect! Grandpas, teachers, coaches, etc. can have a lasting impact.

Before I close, I just want to tell you about our family's favorite TV show that highlights the importance of family relationships. It's called Relative Race. and I can't say enough good about it. It's INCREDIBLE! Our entire family is in love with it. I have never felt so many huge emotions watching a TV show. We laugh, we cry, we anxiously sit on the edge of our seats, and so much more, all while watching four teams race to meet their relatives. We’ve witnessed contestants be reunited with their birth families and long-lost relatives, as well as family they never knew they had. It is such an uplifting, inspiring, intense show!!! 

That's it for today. Thanks for listening, and have an awesome day!

Brittany

[1] GARFIELD, C. F., & ISACCO, A. (2006). FATHERS AND THE WELL-CHILD VISIT, PEDIATRICS, 117, 637-645.

[2] MARSIGLIO, W., AMATO, P., DAY, R. D., & LAMB, M. E. (2000). SCHOLARSHIP ON FATHERHOOD IN THE 1990S AND BEYOND. JOURNAL OF MARRIAGE AND FAMILY, 62(4), 1173-1191.

[3] PRUETT, K. D. (2000). FATHERNEED: WHY FATHER CARE IS AS ESSENTIAL AS MOTHER CARE FOR YOUR CHILD. NEW YORK: FREE PRESS.

[4] ANTHES, E. (2010, MAY/JUNE). FAMILY GUY. SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN MIND.