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Why You Should Never Doubt the Long-Term Impacts of Serving Dads

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Dec 19, 2023


Grab a pen or pencil. (Take your time. I’ll wait.)

If you serve dads, write down your work’s impact in helping them become more involved in their children’s lives. If you don’t serve dads yet, write down the impact you hope you’ll have in helping them become more involved.

Now count the number of impacts that are immediate or short-term (within five years).

Then, count the long-term impacts (five years or more) and compare the two figures.

I’ll bet you identified more short-term than long-term impacts.

I didn’t ask you to go through this exercise to place more or less value on either length of impact. It’s vital to focus on both. I asked to drive home the following points.

  • It’s easier to focus on the immediate and short-term impacts of anything you do. That’s because we’re inclined to think it’s harder to see far enough down the road and envision the long-term impacts. Plus, you might not know what the long-term impacts are or even whether you’re having long-term impacts in the first place.
  • Motivating yourself with goals or objectives you can’t or might never see is harder. That’s because we’re more easily motivated by small, quick wins. They help us come to work every day and keep going when challenged.

Those points are no less true when it comes to serving dads.

If it was difficult to identify many, or any, long-term impacts, don’t worry. By helping dads become more involved in the lives of their children, you’re having long-term impacts. The following, recent study drives home that fact.

Researchers used data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health to evaluate the long-term impact of quality relationships between 15,000 adolescents and their dads on the well-being of those adolescents as young adults. They found that:

  • As young adults, adolescents with higher levels of warmth, communication, time together, academic expectations, and relationship satisfaction with their dads had significantly higher levels of self-rated general health.
  • These young adults also reported significantly higher levels of optimism and romantic relationship quality and lower stress and depressive symptoms.

And that’s not all.

These young adults also had lower levels of nicotine dependence and substance abuse symptoms, as well as lower odds of unintended pregnancy.

Identify and keep the long-term impacts of serving dads in the forefront of your mind. As someone who is undoubtedly intrinsically motivated by your work, the long-term impacts will provide even more fuel and satisfaction and, importantly, maintain your drive when challenged in pursuit of those impacts.

Are you interested in more evidence of the long-term impacts of involved dads? Look no further than Father Facts. It’s the most comprehensive source of data and research on the short-term and long-term impacts of involved dads.

And are you also interested in versatile infographics that show the short-term and long-term impacts of involved dads? Check out our collection of free strengths-based infographics in English and Spanish. Download them to share with dads, colleagues, community leaders, and others. Print them, email them, and put them on your website. Do what you can to put them in as many hands as possible!

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Topics: fatherhood program planning, program planning, Featured, General Fatherhood Program Resources, General Fatherhood Research & Studies, Tips & Tricks

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