According to scientific studies, kids achieve better with paternal role models in their lives. Kids with involved fathers are less likely to drop out of school, or break the law; they pursue healthier relationships and get better paying jobs; they have lower risks of relying on welfare or becoming homeless; they are also less prone to obesity and are more likely to have higher IQ; moreover, they suffer from fewer psychological problems than their peers.

The benefits of the so-called "Father Effect" - when dads actively participate in family life - are numerous. “There needs to be a minimum amount of time spent together, but the quality of time is more important than the quantity of time,” says Paul Amato, a sociologist who studies parent-child relationships at Pennsylvania State University. Dads are really important for a kid's development: “When fathers are actively involved with their children, children do better,” says Amato. Just watching television together with your son or daughter is probably not enough.

Sons, even very young sons, need their dads. And despite popular wisdom, daughters need them as much, but for different reasons. Research has shown that, before puberty, the Father Effect is rather equivalent for children of both genders. All kids fortunate enough to have their dad in their life are doing well and, generally, are better than average. All fathers need to realize that their children are closely watching them and that what they do matter a lot and has huge and long-lasting consequences on their offspring. Last but not least, Amato reminds us that “Fathers and mothers are children’s most important teachers".

Picture: Father Effect (Kelsey Wroten)