A clever phrase that clearly indicates just how important is the time a father spends with his children and how positively his children view that time, almost equating it with love! Time spent having fun together, playing football, going camping or hiking, the father being interested in the child’s interests, and just being there for the child. Time taken to get to know his child, of being known by the child and time to demonstrate how a father cares.
Time spent with children therefore can be seen as a social determinant of health for both father and child that may seem a bit out of left field, but research has shown that the role of the father is an important factor in the overall development of children. A father is a role model to his children and his influence as a role model is affected by the amount of time they spend together. There is a protective aspect to having an open and easy communication between father and child that helps to maintain emotional wellbeing and can decrease aggression and violence among boys.
The positives that fathers can accrue by spending time with their children are that they learn about their child, hear their hopes and fears, and increase their sensitivity and awareness of child’s needs for attention, love, guidance and discipline. There are positives in being an involved father by the enjoyment of his relationship with his child, their shared fun in activities and the knowledge that the child is secure in a strong attachment to him.
As the children get older fathers can try to maintain an active, playful and physical style of fathering. In this modern time of relationship breakdown, separation and divorce, maintaining a close, father /child relationship can be fraught with difficulties. Yet if fathers are able to overcome this, they will continue to enjoy father time with their children that is good for both father and child.