Updated: Jun 27, 2022
As an eternal optimist, my mind is wired to think about the positive impact that can come from all situations - including the most challenging ones. During the past few months I have dabbled with several questions, including one about the impact of the pandemic on dads… more specifically, what has this meant for the relationship they have with their kids despite the stress, economic hardship, job insecurity, and illness (or worse, death) of loved ones they have experienced.
Prior to the pandemic, 80% of surveyed fathers said they wished they could spend more time with their children. Early last year the world turned upside down and those wishes were granted - probably not the way anyone had expected, but granted nonetheless. So, what can we make out of it?
According to a recent Harvard study, 68% of fathers reported feeling closer to their children vs. prior to the pandemic. The study went on to highlight that dads seem to be enjoying more meaningful conversations with their children, getting to know them better, and sharing more about their lives. In a twisted way, the pandemic has given dads a chance to participate in their children’s lives like never before. Also, this seems to be a change that is here to stay: another study (from New America) found out that fathers, after the pandemic, intend to continue building on this newly found emotional connection. That same study learned that a significant number of fathers now agree that “showing love and affection” and “teaching their children about life” is more important than simply being the breadwinner. I can also see this same dynamic playing out in my household, with my husband significantly closer to my daughters - to the point where I am the one learning about some things from the girls directly from him vs. the other way around.
Overall, men actively participating more and more in their children’s lives is a very good thing. Studies have proven that father’s engagement strengthens cognitive and emotional development while increasing the chances of academic and professional success, leading to a greater life satisfaction. Given all the emotional challenges our kids have experienced over the last year, I know this is a welcome support for all our families.
Dads - I hope you enjoy your day knowing that you are making a difference in your children’s lives. You don’t need to be perfect, you just need to continue trying your best to be there for them. They will appreciate you and love you even more so for that.
Happy Father’s Day!