Research suggests that, "the mere involvement of non-residential fathers is not sufficient if they are to have a positive influence on their children's well-being; it is also important that these men themselves maintain healthy levels of psychological and emotional well-being. Children appear to be able to sense the distress of their father, and are thereby negatively affected."
Studies conducted on the subject of responsible fatherhood lead us to the same conclusions: a positive relationship between a father and his child have a productive impact on the child’s social, developmental, and academic achievement, as well as on a child's behavior. We're told that children get higher grades and function better socially - as well as in their personal relationships - when they have a father who remains involved in their lives.
Fathers engage children in important ways, from birth to young adulthood. A father will play many roles in a developing child’s life as protector, caregiver, role model, provider and nurturer. Throughout a child’s life, a non-custodial father can continue:
offering warmth and affection
playing together and going on outings together
communicating with and responding to a child’s needs
teaching age-appropriate tasks
offering moral and ethical guidance
providing religious and spiritual information
reinforcing important rituals on holidays
assisting children in performing household tasks
creating opportunities for ethnic and racial awareness and socialization
making opportunities to connect to extended paternal kin
encouraging a child’s independence
teaching new skills
disciplining and setting behavioral expectations
offering financial support
providing a concrete gender role identity
assisting with child’s schedule needs, such as picking up and/or dropping off child
providing financial and emotional support to the child’s mother
Reasons Why Fathers Do Not Take An Active Role
False ideas about a father's role
Had little time to prepare and may not feel ready for fatherhood
Had no example to follow
A sense that he is not needed
Had a difficult divorce
A new family
Fathers who live apart from their children still play an important role. Children count on the emotional and financial support from their fathers. It is important for fathers to stay in their child's life. Fathers should make the most of the time they have to spend with their child. Staying in touch through letters and phone calls is another form of actively participating in a child's life. Being involved in your child's school life by attending events that they are a part of is another important activity to be involved in.
It is also important to make child support payments. Your child needs money for clothes, food, school supplies, and medical care. Don't withhold payments to "get even" with your ex-partner, you will only hurt your child. Avoid making your child take sides. Your child has the right and need to be close to both parents. Pressing your child to take sides will only cause your child pain.
Source: US Department of Education’s National Center for Educational Statistics - Working Paper No. 2001-02