Dads; Important Guides to Boundary Setting

The plan for this day’s blog was to be a follow up on homeschooling children and technology but an article on the importance of dads and play so close to father’s day caught my attention. Researchers have studied for years the benefits of caring and nurturing mothers but they have had more trouble pinning down the role a father plays in the developmental life of his young children. What family psychologists discovered is that the bonding and security a mother provides her child  helps to promote healthy cognitive and social skills later in life. What a father’s bond provides is not often seen until later in the child’s life and is exhibited as teaching boundaries and healthy risk taking. This leads to more thoughtful and less aggressive behavior as teens and adults.

How dad provides this might surprise you. The rough and tumble free form games that a father often plays with his children like pillow fighting, wrestling and “scare me” are the answer. Fathers are more likely to allow children to push themselves while playing and this stretches the child to assess risks and rewards while developing emotional intelligence under fire. This ability to learn self-control has become a predictor of a teenager possessing healthy attitudes about relationships with others while also knowing how to set limits with peers. What researchers also found interesting was the uncanny ability of fathers to read their children and follow their lead. Dads most often knew when play needed to stop or be curtailed and also how to let the child win at play often enough that they did not lose interest.  Once again play exhibits a special role in the development of cognitive skills and self-confidence in our children. ( Please read the previous blog on the importance of play on the website.) Apparently, healthy challenges lead to children who know how to forge ahead with self-confidence but also step back and assess the severity of a situation.

I am glad to relay this information because I know very often fathers cannot be as involved in the day to day workings of their children’s homeschooling as they might wish to be. So as a father rest assured that when you take time to play with your child you are providing life lessons just as valuable as those learned from books, experiments and discussions.

 

Note:  Researchers found that mothers who are willing to play free form games can also instill these life lessons in their children, so a one parent household can provide the same benefits.

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