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June Article

Father's Day

According to, the celebration of Father's Day as we know it today was spearheaded by a woman named Sonora Smart Dodd in 1909. She "tried to establish an official equivalent to Mother’s Day for male parents". On June 19, 1910, the first-ever Father's Day was celebrated in the state of Washington. Father's Day always falls on the third Sunday in June, and this year, Father's Day is on Sunday, June 20, 2021.

Stereotypically, fathers take up the role of being the breadwinner for the family, where mothers take up the ‘nurturing’ role. But as the mother were pulled into the work place in the past century, father gradually moved towards a partnership role with the mother. Nowadays, fathers are expected to be participating closely in the child’s life.


Today, lots of research have directed us to understand that an involved father is crucial to the healthy development of the child.  Paternal involvement from the prenatal stage through a child’s lifetime benefits the psychosocial and behavioral development of their children, often in ways different from and complementary to maternal involvement. Children look to their fathers to provide a feeling of security, both physical and emotional. Children want to make their fathers proud, and an involved father promotes inner growth and strength. Studies have shown that when fathers are affectionate and supportive, it greatly affects a child’s cognitive and social development. It also instills an overall sense of well-being and self confidence.

On the contrary, according to Psychology Today, researchers have found that absent father contributes to their children negatively in a number of dimensions:


  1. Children’s diminished self-concept, and compromised physical and emotional security.

  2. Behavioral problems: fatherless children have more difficulties with social adjustment, and are more likely to report problems with friendships, and manifest behavior problems.

  3. Truancy and poor academic performance: 71 percent of high school dropouts are fatherless; fatherless children have more trouble academically, scoring poorly on tests of reading, mathematics, and thinking skills; children from father absent homes are more likely to play truant from school, more likely to be excluded from school, more likely to leave school at age 16, and less likely to attain academic and professional qualifications in adulthood.

  4. Delinquency and youth crime, including violent crime: 85 percent of youth in prison have an absent father; fatherless children are more likely to offend and go to jail as adults.

  5. Drug and alcohol abuse - fatherless children are more likely to smoke, drink alcohol, and abuse drugs in childhood and adulthood.

  6. Homelessness: 90 percent of runaway children have an absent father.

  7. Exploitation and abuse: fatherless children are at greater risk of suffering physical, emotional, and sexual abuse, being five times more likely to have experienced physical abuse and emotional maltreatment.

  8. Physical health problems: fatherless children report significantly more psychosomatic health symptoms and illness such as acute and chronic pain, asthma, headaches, and stomach aches.

  9. Mental health disorders: father absent children are consistently overrepresented on a wide range of mental health problems, particularly anxiety, depression and suicide.

  10. Future relationships: father absent children tend to enter partnerships earlier, are more likely to divorce or dissolve their cohabiting unions, and are more likely to have children outside marriage or outside any partnership.

There are many reasons that a father might be absent from home. One significant reason may be that he did not have a present or positive example of a dad in his own life. For instance, in traditional Asian family, fathers only take up the role of bringing money home and seldom showing affection, children will be the responsibility of the mothers. Without a nurturing father role model, fathers might not realize their involvement can make a big difference in the life of their children. Therefore, absent father can be generational. But fortunately, we can break this cycle through healing, commitment and learning.

Tips for dads:


  • Spend quality time with your child: This shows the child how they are important to the father.

  • Listen to your child: Child needs to be heard and respect. If you listen to them, they will listen to you.

  • Read to and with your child: It is important that fathers make the effort to read to and with their children, not only to develop them as lifelong readers, but also providing a safe space for father-child bonding.

  • Discipline in a calm and fair manner with love and positive parenting: Setting reasonable limits and acknowledging desirable behaviours create sense of security for the child.

  • Be your child’s role model: Whether they realize it or not, fathers are role models to their kids. A girl who spends time with a loving father grows up knowing she deserves to be treated with respect by boys and she learns what to look for in a partner. Fathers teach boys and girls what is important in life by demonstrating honesty, humility and responsibility.

  • Be your child’s teacher: To be a good father, teach your children about right and wrong and encourage them to do their best. See that your children make good choices. Involved fathers use everyday examples to help children learn the basic lessons of life.

  • Eat together as a family: An important part of healthy family life is bonding through family meals. It gives the family the chance and habits to talk about what they are doing and want to do.

  • Respect the other parent of your child: Parents who respect each other and demonstrate mutual respect to their children, provide a secure environment for them. When children see parents respecting each other, they are more likely to feel that they are also accepted and respected within the father-child relationship.

“Anyone can be a father but it takes someone special to be a dad.”

Finally, I would like to share with you a Chinese literature prose that was written in 1928 by Zhu Ziqing. The story was about how a Chinese traditional father shows his love to his son in an implicit way. It was called ‘The Back of my Father’ ( The story was about a young man going back home from Beijing to Xuzhou to attend the funeral of his grandmother. His father lost his job and was planning to go to Nanjing to look for another employment after the funeral. When the young man was already in the train heading back to Beijing, his father wanted to buy him some tangerines. It was not easy for his father, who was a bit fat, to climb up and down when crossing the railway track to buy the tangerines …

I watched him hobble towards the railway track in his black skullcap, black cloth mandarin jacket and dark blue cotton-padded cloth long gown ...... While I was watching him from behind, tears gushed from my eyes. … The next moment when I looked out of the window again, father was already on the way back, holding bright red tangerines in both hands.


They then departed.


I, however, did not go back to my seat until his figure was lost among crowds of people hurrying to and from and no longer visible. My eyes were again wet with tears…


He wrote me a letter, in which he says, “I’m all right except for a severe pain in my arm. I even have trouble using chopsticks or writing brushes. Perhaps it won’t be long now before I depart this life.” Through the glistening tears which these words had brought to my eyes, I again saw the back of father’s corpulent form in the dark blue cotton-padded cloth long gown and the black cloth mandarin jacket.

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