Friday, June 17, 2011

What Children Need from Their Fathers : The Children Speak

According to an article that appeared in the Washington Times a few years ago, written by Stuart A. Miller and Rich Zubaty, 85% of prisoners, 78% of high school dropouts, 82% of teenage girls who become pregnant, and the majority of drug and alcohol abusers come from households with no fathers in the home. Other studies have been done that bear out these stark statistics.

From the beginning, God intended for fathers to play an important role in a child’s life.

Most Scripture pertaining to the disciplining of children is directly addressed to fathers.

Without a doubt, boys and girls have specific needs that only their fathers can fill. What are those needs?

For the answer, I went straight to the ones who know—the children. And I asked what attributes would the "ideal" father possess, and how would he behave. What would make him a great father, in their opinion? 

Their answers might surprise you. Some of those I spoke with were raised by single moms, but they answered the question based upon their ideal father. Their ages range from 14 to 21 and here is what they had to say about a father’s role.

What the Boys Had to Say

  1. Spend time with me, just talking together.
  2. Don’t be too proud to say, “I was wrong,” and  “I’m sorry.”
  3. Show affection to your wife by hugging her, kissing her, and buying little things for her.
  4. Acknowledge my achievements.
  5. Punish me when I need it. When I don’t get punished, I feel like you don’t really care how I behave.
  6. Let me handle some difficult situations myself. It will help me become a man.
  7. Trust me by allowing me to go with my friends sometimes.
  8. Don’t try to be macho or Mr. Wonderful. Just be yourself.
  9. I hate it when you show off in front of my friends. I don’t want you to act like a teenager. I want you to act like a father.
  10. When I have a problem, sympathize with me.
  11. Take an interest in the things that are important to me. I may not want to play sports. That doesn’t make me a sissy. I need you to love me for who I am, not who you want me to be.
  12. Don’t be ashamed to admit that you don’t know everything. It doesn’t make you less of a man, but it does make you more believable as a father.
  13. Show me more kindness.
  14. Please don’t provoke me by constantly nagging me about everything. It discourages me from trying to do better.
  15. Set a Christian example for me and take me to church regularly.

What the Girls Had to Say

  1. Always love my mother.
  2. Love me unconditionally for who I am and respect the career I choose.
  3. Discipline me after your anger has subsided.
  4. Don’t favor my brothers over me; there are times when I need you to just be with me.
  5. Don’t say one thing and do another; I hate hypocrisy.
  6. Work less hours, even if it means not having as many things.
  7. Please don’t yell at me, and don’t yell at my mother.
  8. Share your interests with me. Take me fishing or hunting, or teach me how to work on the car. Whatever you enjoy doing, include me in your world.
  9. Tell me you love me often, but also show it by hugging me a lot.
  10. Please don’t tease me when I am in a bad mood; respect my feelings.
  11. Make some good memories with our family by playing games, planning family vacations, or just laughing more.
  12. Don’t be afraid to tell me no. It shows me you care.
  13. Tell me about how you learned some of life’s tough lessons.
  14. Show your family more affection, both verbally and physically.
  15. Teach me about God, and take me to church.

Article first appeared in The Dallas Morning News. All rights reserved.

Happy Father's Day to my dear dad, and to my wonderful husband, and to all of the great fathers in your life.

Linked up with Spiritual Sundays.


  1. Dayle,
    This is such a good article. There are so many truths to what the children are telling us. I'm very glad that I had a Mom AND a Dad to raise me even though many times I wished I wasn't the oldest. :)
    Nice tribute to you dad and all dads everywhere.


  2. I never knew my father. Saw my mother briefly only three times in all these years. Makes a big difference, I think, in how one builds confidence.

  3. Excellent article, Dayle. Very telling - letting the children draw the image of the ideal. My heart breaks to know of the loss in the homes of some of my students. Loved the photos, too. I took my own trip down memory lane this weekend writing about my dad. He wasn't perfect, but he was the best he knew how to be. I am so grateful!
    Joy to you!

  4. I had missed this one, Dayle. I'm glad I didn't miss it completely. I always get so much out of your Dallas Morning News articles. I wish we had someone like you in our paper.

    Loved it!
    I really liked the first one from the girls. That's such an important one in my book, too.

  5. I enjoyed going through it in fact it made me nostalgic. My father went to the Lord on 3rd Feb. this year.

  6. Beautiful post, Dayle. Every father should read this. I'm just now getting around to some of the links for Spiritual Sundays and the one for this post just took me back to the Spiritual Sundays blog. I found the post and fixed the link but probably a lot of people missed it because of the link. Wish I had noticed it earlier.


Dear Readers, I adore your company and your comments. If you ask questions here, I respond to them here, so please check back when you have a chance. Kind regards, Dayle