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Allan Schwartz, Ph.D.Allan Schwartz, Ph.D.
Dr. Schwartz's Weblog

On Fathers On Father's Day

Allan N. Schwartz, LCSW, Ph.D. Updated: Jun 15th 2008

 There was a time, quite recently, when the question was raised as to whether fathers were necessary in the rearing of children. I believe that research and common sense have put the question to rest. Discarding the research and focusing on those raised without the presence of a father, it is clear that many of them would have been better off if a father had been present.

In my opinion, based on both my life and professional experiences, human beings need the presence of both mother and father to make a healthy adjust to adult life. It is not a matter of who is more important, mother and father, but how they relate to one another and to the children.

For purposes of this posting, we will focus on the father:

What do fathers do?

The presence of a strong and supportive father helps daughters learn about the opposite sex and how to relate in ways that are warm and safe. Very supportive father's help girls gain in self confidence and go on to have successful careers in a competitive world. In other words, a really supportive and encouraging father sends an important message to his daughter that she can be aggressive in the outside world because there is no reason why women should not compete and succeed.

The presence of a strong and supportive father helps sons learn how to fulfill the masculine role in ways that are competent and loving. A supportive and encouraging father helps his son learn how to be a man in an aggressive world but also how to be a father when his time comes, and how to be a family man.

To a very large extent, children learn from the models of behavior presented by their parents. In other words, there is a lot of learning by imitation. If children grow up in a family where there is a lot of domestic violence there is a good chance this is the road they will follow when they are adult.

It seems to me that Fathers Day presents all of us with the opportunity to remind ourselves that both parents are necessary to raise healthy and happy children. In addition, it is important for men and fathers to understand that it is part of their role to wash dishes, cook, vacuum and change diapers, right along with Mom.

Happy Father's Day

Allan Schwartz, LCSW, Ph.D.

Readers who live in the Boulder, Colorado metro area, or in Southwest Florida may contact Dr. Schwartz for face-to-face consultation. He is also available for psychotherapy through Skype video for those who are not in Florida or Colorado. He can be reached via email at for details.

Reader Comments
Discuss this issue below or in our forums.

Agree - on the internet I call myself - Jun 17th 2008

I should probably not respond in such an emotional state but it seemed like "Beschert" for me to read your page today. It is because I agree that puts me in a strange unwanted state every father's day-I suppose many eple have their issues, some even difficult Fathers day memories (I think what I'm trying to say is that ours is not an evil horrible history that some have told and it causes me to feel guilty to complain).

I am shaking but I write because I can't seem to solve for my children the problem of their having to grow without their father. Their prince was taken from us by cancer when they were 12 and 16. All the benefits you speak of feel like little knives peircing my soul. Yes, my children also loss the strong mother they knew would always be there too. One gone to cancer the other in survival mode that worsened to chronic depression. Whenever I can summon my strengths I keep working on improving as I do now discovering this web site. I owe them - I need to learn how to put this loss where it belongs and give them back their full mother. Ya think! I'm way way in deep agony that I cannot take this unnecessary burden from them. I know no magical answers are going to come to me. I am in therapy and take antidepressants and will be working on some of the techniques ...right this moment i'm doing the negative focus and the I I I I statements. It takes me a long story to come to my basic quest---Is ther information out there on how to seperate my children from this illness that holds me, how to let them live their lives and yet deal with this feeling of wanting them in my life. They are far away - how do I hit some middle ground?

I apologize for my wordiness

Happy Father's day to all those who are surrounding their children with such comfort and joy.


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