This weekend we celebrate Father’s Day. Indeed, as Minister for Social and Family Development Tan Chuan-Jin asserted, the role of fathers is irreplaceable. He emphasised that as fathers consciously make time to parent and bond with their children, the family will enjoy greater family-life satisfaction and better child outcomes.1
However, we have a tendency to place less emphasis on Father’s Day in comparison to Mother’s Day, with even Forbes noting that people spend more on the latter.2 Of course, there are many possible explanations for this, and this gap may be closing as we continue to champion community initiatives such as the Dads for Life movement and Focus on the Family’s annual father-child events and Father’s Day campaign.
Rather than turning this phenomenon into a competition about the importance of mums versus dads, we should recognise that mothers and fathers each have their unique yet irreplaceable role in the family. More importantly, there is a need to acknowledge that good fathering and a strong marriage go hand-in-hand.
A report by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services documented several studies which found that a father who has a good relationship with the mother of their children is more likely to be involved and to spend time with their children. These fathers are also more likely to have children who are psychologically and emotionally healthier. 3
Caring and involved fathers are more likely to be found in the context of marriage, highlighting the research that consistently shows the married mother-and-father family is a better environment for raising children than the unmarried and cohabiting mother-and-father arrangement. 4 Centre for Fathering’s CEO Bryan Tan learnt that his relationship with his wife “is crucial to the well-being of [their] children” because “a good relationship with the mother of [his] children would provide. . . the loving and secure base for them to grow as individuals — into adolescents and adults.” 5
Furthermore, a mother who feels affirmed by her children’s father and who enjoys the benefits of a happy relationship with him is more likely to be a better mother.6 In other words, fathers who strengthen their marriage by loving and affirming their wife not only improve their own fathering, they are also helping their wife to become a better mother.
Our Father’s Day campaign this year encourages young children to affirm their father in the everyday, small yet significant contributions he makes, by recognising “Dad: Our Everyday Hero.” When mum steps in to assist the children with celebrating their dad, the whole family is built up through the experience of Dad and Mum’s intact, loving and strong marriage.
Focus on the Family Singapore.
1 More dads are becoming active in parenting: Centre for Fathering; May 30
2 People Spend Billions More on Mother's Day Than on Father's Day
The Father's Day Spending Gap: Why Does Mom Always Win?
3 The Importance of Fathers in the Healthy Development of Children, p11
4 ibid, p12
5 How learning to be a better father changed my life; Mar 25
6 The Importance of Fathers in the Healthy Development of Children, p11