Q:

How do you describe a good father?

A:

Good fathers make an ongoing effort to spend time with their children and offer positive attention, says Scott Kelby in Parents magazine. Quality time can be as simple as sharing jokes or asking kids about their day. Children value fathers who are readily available, whether they need advice, a hug or a super-fan at competitions. When fathers are not around, children are more likely to misbehave for attention, says Kelby.

Through daily interactions with others, responsible fathers provide children with examples of healthy behavior, high self-esteem and how to react to everyday situations, says Mark Banschick, M.D. in Psychology Today. Boys often mimic other males when showing aggression and asserting their independence, while girls with supportive fathers may be more confident and successful.

Men who foster balanced, loving relationships with their partners also set standards their kids try to achieve as adults, Banschick states. When children are exposed to a healthy model of love, they know what to look for and how to treat their own partners.

Good dads often inspire children to take beneficial risks and develop independence while also protecting their kids from various social dangers, says W. Bradford Wilcox in The Atlantic. Instead of being overprotective, many fathers encourage kids to tackle challenges and go out of their comfort zone, whether the challenge is swimming in the deep end or trying out for a team.

On the other hand, attentive fathers offer an intimidating presence that may discourage predators and influence social decisions, according to Wilcox. A National Marriage Project survey linked high rates of teen pregnancy and delinquency to households where fathers were not present or did not maintain high-quality relationships with their children.

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