Understanding the Role of the Father in Child Development

How a father plays the PERFECT role in a child's life

- | 53 Aha! comments | Posted in category: Family & Parenting

Man playing the role of father in child development with his baby

What could be the role of the father in child development, many would ask?

With Father’s Day just round the corner, I thought this would be the right time to share about it with you.

If you’re a parent, you very well know that parenting is a tough job. And to do it single-handedly is even tougher.

There are many single mothers who try to fill up the void created by the absence of fathers to fulfill the role of the father in child development.

However, there are married women too who try to do the same because the fathers in those families make no difference as they don’t realize the importance of their role.

But the scenario isn’t always all that bad because there are also many fathers who understand their importance and play the role of the father beautifully for the development of the child.

So, we’ve three kinds of families with different types of fathers, and any research will spot out the difference in the development of the child in each of these families.

This post is for all mothers, whether single or married, non-involved fathers, involved fathers, and even those young men who are about to or will become fathers in the near future.

Once aware and educated about the importance of being a father, every man can be a good father so that his children would be proud of him.

On Father’s Day, here’s my tribute to all wonderful fathers who make a difference to their children and their lives. It’s to tell them that they are ALL special.

“Fathers, like mothers, are not born. Men grow into fathers and fathering is a very important stage in their development.” ~ David Gottesman

Importance of a Father

Whether fathers realize it or not, but they’ve the potential to influence, develop, and make a difference in the life of their child.

That is why the role of the father in child development can never be underestimated.

Research studies reveal that the importance of a father, his love and contribution is as important as that of mother’s, in the complete development of the child.

It doesn’t mean that mother’s are no good! Many mothers, especially single mothers are raising their children and seeing to their overall development.

Mothers are special people, and their role is of utmost importance, but a father is no less. An involved father can take care of his children as well as a mother would do.

I know of many father’s who are single-handedly taking care of their children, and they are doing wonderfully – hats-off to them!

If you’ve read my earlier post about my father, you’d know how much he influenced my life. He has been my ideal and my hero, and I’ll always be grateful to him for all that he did, and still does for me.

After my mother passed away more than a decade back, he took up the dual responsibility of being a father as well as a mother with dedication and grace.

To date, he makes sure we’re on the path of progress and is always there whenever I need him as my pillar of strength – I love him 🙂

My father is important for me and made a difference in my life. I know the importance of a father. What about you?

As a father, do you play your role in your child’s development?

“It is a wise father that knows his own child.” ~ William Shakespeare

The Role of the Father in Child Development

No doubt the father’s role in child development has changed in the previous decades in many cultures and countries.

A father was once only supposed to be the bread winner, a protector, disciplinarian, and the undisputed authority or the head of family! However, things have changed with time.

Presently, just like a mother, a father too needs to play many roles for the proper development of his child and to be a better parent.

This increases his importance for the child, and in the family.

It has been proven that as a father, you have a direct impact on the healthy development and well-being of your child.

If you’re an involved father, you make a huge and significant difference in various aspects of your child’s character and personality, and foster his or her overall development.

man playing role of the father by taking care of baby

“Nothing I’ve ever done has given me more joys and rewards than being a father to my children.” ~ Bill Cosby

The PERFECT Father

To be a father, you need to be an all-rounder. You need to do anything and know everything. Just kidding. 🙂

I shouldn’t pressurize you with so many requirements, but yes, the kids do have such high expectations from their father. Their father is their hero – their Superman!

Though it’s not easy and possible for anyone to be perfect, but you can surely adopt the PERFECT formula to play many roles of a father in your child’s development.

Here is the PERFECT father acronym created just for you wonderful fathers. 🙂

P – Protector
E – Educator
R – Role Model
F – Friend
E – Entertainer
C – Counselor
T – Trainer

Here’s the complete description of all the important roles that you as a father need to play for your child, because without these your child’s development is incomplete.

“I cannot think of any need in childhood as strong as the need for a father’s protection.” ~ Sigmund Freud


As a father, you need to provide complete protection to your child – in the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual aspects.

By doing so, you protect the body, mind, heart, and soul of the child from any harm or dangers.

Besides these securities as a father, you have to provide financial security and material support too.

You also need to let your child know that you’re there for him or her, anytime and anywhere so that he or she feels secure and fearless.

You might not realize it, but a child needs to feel secure from within and that’s where the importance of a father and his role comes in.

By playing the role of a protector, provider, and a nurturer, you fill the child with self-confidence, and feelings of security and stability that help create the right environment for the child’s development.


As a father you need to teach the right personal values and principles to your child.

You need to take care of the following –

  • Impart the values as relevant to your family, society, and country so that it helps your child in personal and social development.
  • Teach your child to face the world, and learn to be happy in life.
  • Teach your child to be disciplined and well-mannered.
  • Teach them the way they should carry themselves so it’s conducive to their development.
  • Use your authority, but effectively, so that it has positive consequences. More than punishments, you need to reward good behavior.

By playing the role of an educator, the father creates feelings of self-worth in the child that motivates the child to develop himself or herself.

Role Model

As a mother or a father you’re always under observation, and your children watch you ALL the time.

They make a mental note of all you say and do. So, you need to be careful of what you talk, and how you act and behave.

As a father, you need to maintain your composure, be responsible, and model yourself exactly as what you’d want your child to do.

The role of the father in child development helps the child to take the right path and destination.


As a father, a healthy friendship with your child helps you and your child to stay away from a lot of trouble. By being a friend, you’ve better chances of preventing your child from going astray.

You’ve to set boundaries so that your child doesn’t take you for granted and continues to respect you.

At the same time, your child should be comfortable to share his or her feelings, experiences and thoughts with you.

Your child shouldn’t feel hesitant to ask or disclose things, which only happens once you bond and connect with him or her.

By playing the role of a friend, you can guide your child in the right direction and help create a positive and encouraging environment at home.


Being a father doesn’t mean that you always have to be strict, or be a disciplinarian. Fathers should be fun to be with. They need to be loving, and should learn to be enjoy being with their kids and family.

Fathers are usually more involved than mothers in physical play that requires more of energy.

As a father, you should be a good playmate to your child, and indirectly encourage his or her social and emotional growth.

While playing, not only does a child build muscle, flexibility, fitness, and better mind-body coordination, but a child also learns about following rules, being independent, sportspersonship, and the spirit of perseverance among other things.

Celebrating, entertaining, and playing also help you develop a good rapport with your child as a father.

So your child also opens up, share things, and builds an emotional bond with you.

The role of the father in child development as an entertainer helps the child to develop freely and motivates him or her to reach greater heights.


As a father, besides being a friend to your child, you also need to be his or her counselor, philosopher, and guide.

You need to –

  • Tell your child all about life that you’ve learnt yourself.
  • Be able to sense if something’s wrong with your child, or know if he or she needs any kind of help.
  • Talk with your child and direct him or her to make the right choices, and take the right path in life. Gain the trust and faith of your child so that they seek your help when in need.
  • Be the problem solver for your child.
  • Teach the problem solving skills to your child so that he or she can deal with the obstacles to his or her growth and development.


As a father, you’re your child’s coach – a life coach that takes care and responsibility of training the child to face all problems in life and solve them on the go.

You teach your child how to make decisions and act on them, so as to make the child responsible, self-reliant and ready to face the challenges of life.

Your job as a trainer is to impart all skills and techniques so that your child can excel in life.

While playing the role of a trainer, you also act as a coach, and teach your child to have discipline in all aspects of life. After all, discipline and hard work are important components of success in life.

These values and skills definitely help foster the true and complete development of the child.

child experiencing importance of a father by enjoying ride on his back

The role of the father in child development IS important.

As a father, I hope you, and all existing or would-be fathers realize their own importance and what difference they can make directly to their child, and indirectly to the world.

All a father needs to do is love his child unconditionally. A good father-child bonding results in better intellectual, mental, and emotional development of the child.

A well-developed child will spread positivity, carry the light of peace and success to the next generation, and help make the world a better place.

“Any man can be a father. It takes someone special to be a Dad.” ~ Unknown

Mothers and fathers have their own styles of parenting and roles to play. They’re different yet important, and it’s best when they raise their kids together.

A father cannot completely take the mothers place, nor can a mother cannot completely replace the father herself.

Importance of a father or a mother in a family cannot be denied. I can vouch for that as I’ve seen my father, and now I see my husband who is yet another wonderful father to our children.

Your child needs both, the father and the mother in his or her life. If you are single, doesn’t matter – you have the goodness of both parents within you.

Here is a lovely song and video that I’d like to dedicate to my father, and I’m sure many others would like to do the same.


Teresa James ~ Dad, You’re My Hero – Tribute from a daughter to her father ~ YouTube Video

“The greatest gift I ever had came from God; I call him Dad!” ~ Unknown

Wishing all of you a very Happy Father’s Day!

Over to you –

As a mother, do you think that fathers play an important role in the family? If you’re a single mother, have you ever felt the absence of the role of the father in child development? Being a father, how do you evaluate and associate yourself with the PERFECT roles of the father? For unmarried men – what lessons do you take away from this post? Do share in the comments.

Photo Credit: FreeDigitalPhotos

Show Comments

53 Comments - Read and share thoughts

  1. Thet Oo

    2015-09-06 at 3:22 pm

    Thanks so much Harleena , I’m also writer based on parenting . Your article gives me many inspiration and some references.I’ll always waiting for your writings.

  2. Pat

    2014-08-30 at 5:35 pm

    Dads make the best. Life coaches for boys and girls alike if they are interested in the job.
    It may well be the epitome of living life to impart the best of what they are to give to their children, and hence, is never boring, and always unique!

  3. Yvonne I. Wilson

    2014-06-16 at 1:21 am

    Hi Harleena

    This is very touching. Helping others to see the impact that fathers and fatherhood have on the lives of their children so well articulated through this acronym PERFECT is superb!

    I have raised my girls as a single parent after my divorce and I simply could not fill the shoe of father and make the difference like a father would. Thankfully, even though he was not living in the home anymore, he continued to maintain a bond with them and being there for them in whatever way that he could have and happy to say, that paid of/is working out quite well in our children’s life.

  4. Abir Hasan

    2013-12-18 at 11:33 pm

    Hi Harleena,

    Once again, I can just say, Wow! It’s a nice piece of article. The concept of introducing the acronym ‘PERFECT’ does make sense to me. I have a two year old son, and I know how much actually a child needs from a father, though mine is a minor one. The role of fathers in the development process of children is undoubtedly very significant. I myself feel my father who passed away in 2002 who was actually a good father to me, most probably fulfilling all of the attributes you described in your article. For me, my father is my hero who showed me the way to be a gentleman.


    2013-09-06 at 11:14 pm

    Dear Harleena, every time i find some different and useful information and you are writing so well as its feels awesome to be in your blog. As i am father of small little baby, you gave a good example, i have learned something which i may try in my life.

  6. Manish

    2013-09-03 at 6:30 pm

    Harleena, Your article touched my heart.
    As a father I can say that I need to learn a lot for becoming a good FATHER.

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Understanding the Role of the Father in Child Development

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