How a Father Impacts Identity Positively and Negatively

A father impacts identity in big ways. I have a daughter coming soon and I want her to know and understand her identity. Many assert patriarchy within the family is the problem with society, but research suggests absent fathers are the root issue of many of society’s problems.

How a Father Impacts identity

When someone doesn’t understand their identity and worth, they make poor choices. When a father is absent, it can lead to low self worth. Consider some of these statistics from Psychology Today:

An Absent Father Impacts Identity Negatively

  • “Fatherless children are at a dramatically greater risk of drug and alcohol abuse, mental illness, suicide, poor educational performance, teen pregnancy, and criminality, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, National Center for Health Statistics.”
  • “63% of youth suicides are from fatherless homes according to the U.S. Bureau of the Census;”
  • “72% of adolescent murderers grew up without fathers. 60% of America’s rapists grew up the same way according to a study by D. Cornell (et al.), in Behavioral Sciences and the Law;”
  • “71% of all high school dropouts come from fatherless homes according to the National Principals Association Report on the State of High Schools;”
  • “Daughters of single mothers are 53% more likely to marry as teenagers, 111% more likely to have children as teenagers, 164% more likely to have a premarital birth and 92% more likely to dissolve their own marriages.”

That last statistic really hit me. I don’t want our daughter to fall into those statistics. I want to be a good father.

Fathering could use a publicist. We posted a video of Tom Brady emotionally discussing his amazing relationship with his father. I think it struck a chord because it’s rare.

Timothy Allen Pehlke and his colleagues concluded the media  conveys “negative messages regarding fathers, portrayed through foolish or immature behaviors and by being the butt of family members’ jokes.” Fathers are depicted as useless, but they are, in fact, more than necessary.

A Father Impacts Identity Through Words

I know how a father impacts identity first-hand. My dad greatly impacted my identity, and the truths he spoke into my life are unshakable. For instance, when I was in junior high and high school, my dad always told me he wished he was a great speaker like me. He told me how he desired the kind of intelligence I possessed.

How did my dad’s word affect me? When someone tries to tell me I’m dumb, I have a deep guttural laugh inside. Graduating at the top of my class, full ride scholarships, and IQ scores are great, but get this…my dad told me I’m intelligent!! It wouldn’t matter if I suffered D’s and F’s in school. Not even a grade point average could’ve dented that identity my dad placed within me.

When a father is involved, the miraculous happens. Here are some statistics:

An Involved Father Impacts Identity Positively

  • “Children whose fathers were highly involved in their schools were more likely to do well academically, to participate in extracurricular activities, and to enjoy school, and were less likely to have ever repeated a grade or been expelled compared to children whose fathers were less involved in their schools.”
  • “Higher levels of father involvement in activities with their children, such as eating meals together, helping with homework, and going on family outings, have been found to be associated with fewer child behavior problems, higher levels of sociability, and higher levels of academic performance in children and adolescents.”
  • “Youths who abstain from substances, as compared to those who don’t, typically feel closer to their fathers, spend more time with them discussing personal problems, and depend upon them for advice and guidance.”

we need fathers

Society needs fathers who are involved in their families and lead their families (this is the definition of patriarchy). We need more healthy, active, and present fathers. But, society doesn’t recognize these important men. I did research on my company and I didn’t find any paternity leave offered. Thankfully, California offers a Paid Family Leave program, but isn’t it time states and companies recognize the importance of father involvement?

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7 Responses to How a Father Impacts Identity Positively and Negatively

  1. Rashieda May 14, 2017 at 9:31 pm #

    I think in regards to the.positive effect a father has on his son, as you mentioned your father played an active part and you in turn looked up to him The admiration you felt . The positive attitude you had . And you get fathers who do not have the.temperament as your dad or the father who is abusive or absent through his own choice. How many of these don’t we and in this society. But children should be.reminded that all those bad attributes can be.changed to positives . Simply by ensuring that THEY don’t become such fathers

    • Kris Wolfe May 23, 2017 at 5:28 pm #

      Agreed. Overall, I did have a great father, even though he still had his flaws. I’ll do my best and know I’ll still come up short. But you’re right. If we each make a concerted effort, we can change the world simply by being fathers.

  2. Josh July 17, 2017 at 4:24 pm #

    Thank you for this article! It was amazing. One point that I think we can draw this too is that we don’t have to be blood to be father’s. If we have friends of the family with absent father’s, we can step in there. As integral as we men are to the healthy growth and development as children, we have a duty to do what we can, wherever we find ourselves.

    It doesn’t have to be a lifelong relationship either, in many cases our personalities and the shape they took can be traced back to one integral moment in time, such as your father telling you that you are intelligent. Even taking a moment of our time to pour into the life of the children around us can have a major impact on the upcoming generations.

    As a father of (2 now as of July 5th) little girls, I am eager and excited to be the father they need as well as the husband my wife needs. 🙂

    • Josh July 17, 2017 at 4:26 pm #

      Ew typos… sorry about those. I don’t see a way to edit. Cheers!

      I hope to visit Wales some day. I passed through the UK on my way to the highlands but my family didn’t choose to visit Wales unfortunately. :s

      I’ve heard some great things about people in Cardiff recently. 🙂

    • Kris Wolfe August 7, 2017 at 5:35 am #

      Josh, thanks for your comment. I’m a new father for one little girl. Who know what we’ll get next? I definitely agree with you. I’m lucky to have had many fathers over my lifetime aside from my physical dad. A fatherly role can make a HUGE difference.


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