The Powerful Role a Good Dad Plays in a Child’s Life

A Father’s Day Message

By Emie Marulanda

A good Dad can change the world! Just as mothers play a vital role in their children’s lives, father’s play an equally powerful role in their children’s lives–that no one else can truly fill. And this role has a significant impact on a child’s development. 

In a study from The Fatherhood Project, a non-profit organization, they found a number of distinct and significant changes in children when a father is present and engaged with them during their early and formative years. Some of these findings include: children will be less likely to have a teen pregnancy, do better in school, have reduced mental health issues, and much more. “Father involvement using authoritative parenting (loving and with clear boundaries and expectations) leads to better emotional, academic, social, and behavioral outcomes for children.” (Children’s Bureau, 2018). 

Whether you are a father, grandfather, step-father, single father, or father figure, you have an important role to play in your child’s life! There are 3 vital roles that we’ll focus on here: Leader, Teacher, and Provider.

Good Fathers are Leaders 

Fatherhood is leadership, and it is the most important kind of leadership you could have. You are the leader of your children, and it is your responsibility to guide them on how to grow and take up their own responsibilities in life.Together with your spouse, you must be actively involved in establishing a home where there is love and guidance available to your children, that they may feel they can seek out your insight and wisdom when it is needed. 

Being a good leader means to keep order, but to also show an increase of love towards your family. Establish and enforce the rules and routines in your home, and give affection and praise for well-doing as well. Actively help set goals for your home and family, and lead each of them in what it takes to accomplish said goals. Father’s lead with patience, honesty, empathy, respect, and love. 

Great Dads are Teachers 

A father plays an essential role with their children’s education and development, and encourages inner growth and strength. “A father has the capacity to influence their children for good or bad. Their influence impacts all areas of a child’s development including; self-worth, prosocial development, education, and emotional and physical development.” Countless studies have shown that fathers who are affectionate and supportive of their children have a significant impact on their cognitive and social development. It also gives them a general sense of well-being, self-confidence, and self-assurance. Additionally, children will model their father’s behavior. 

For fathers with daughters, daughters depend on their fathers for security and emotional support. Fathers who are loving and gentle can set the bar high for other relationships in their daughters’ lives. They will look for the positive characteristics and qualities that their fathers embodied when they’re old enough to start dating. For fathers with sons, they will model their behavior after yours. Fathers who are caring and show respect to others will give a good example for their sons to do the same. 

Children Need Dads Who Are Providers 

The role of provider can be commonly misconstrued as primarily providing monetarily for the family. However, probably the best thing a father can do for their children is provide their time. Not only spending time with your children, but actually being mentally present makes your child feel that they are cared for. Now, being present doesn’t mean simply being in the same area as your children while engulfed by your phone, TV, or video games. It doesn’t mean standing on the sidelines of their sports game or flute recital while reading emails from work the whole time. 

Being present with your children means putting away all distractions and listening. Really listening. It means being available, listening, playing together, watching your child accomplish something, attending their extracurricular activities, meeting their friends, etc. You will become a resource to them that they can come to for advice and love. “Many times we get so carried away with our lives that we sometimes forget to be part of our children’s lives. Do you truly know your child? Take some time to play with, talk to, and have one on one time. Get to know your child and what is happening in their life. This is the best way to tell your child you love them, spending time together–without screens.”

Living these roles doesn’t come with a play by play or a handbook, so it’s a good idea to use your intuition and remember the good examples you’ve had in your life. Just be the best dad you can be–you’re doing better than you think! 

Moms, encourage your spouse or partner to be a central figure in their child’s life. Be their support and their full partner when it comes to making the rules and routines of the house. Celebrate their gifts and talents. Both father and mother working together can have extraordinary results in a child’s life.

For amazing ideas and discussions to help you become this powerful father, check out our books 30 Days to a Stronger Child and Conversations with My Kids: 30 Essential Family Discussions for the Digital Age.

All of our books are available here on our website and on Amazon!

Emie Marulanda is a student at Brigham Young University-Idaho who is currently studying Marriage and Family Studies. She is passionate about empowering parents to empower their kids for a bright, healthy future. 


(2021, March 19). A Father’s Impact on Child Development. Children’s Bureau. 

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