DEAR MR. DAD: My child’s school often sends out e-mails asking moms to volunteer in the classroom or around the school. A lot of these e-mails talk about how important it is for moms to be involved in their children’s education. As a dad, I find this a little annoying. Dads’ involvement is important, too.

There’s a mountain of research that shows a direct connection between parents’ involvement in their children’s education and their kids’ performance in school. In short, the more the parents are involved, the better the kids do. But in many schools (and in many families), the word “parents” really means “mom.” That’s a big mistake. There are a number of benefits that are specifically related to father involvement.

When dads are involved, their children:

• Do better in school and enjoy it while they’re there. About half of kids with involved dads get mostly A’s, compared to only about a third when dads are not involved. Interestingly, the chances that children will get top grades has more to do with dad’s level of involvement than mom’s.

• Are half as likely to have ever repeated a grade (7 percent vs. 15 percent for children of less-involved dads), according to a national survey sponsored by the National Center for Education Statistics.

• Are much less likely to have ever been suspended (10 percent vs. 18 percent for kids of less involved dads).

• Are more likely to participate in extracurricular activities.

• Grow up to be higher-performing, more responsible adults and are more likely to have solid marriages.

• Are more interested in exploring the world around them, are more confident, and have better problem-solving skills.

• Tend to do better on standardized tests, have better math and verbal scores, and have higher IQs.

• Get a clear message that you care about them and value education.

Overall, that’s pretty convincing. But there’s more.

When dads are involved in their children’s schools, the dads themselves:

• Tend to be more involved at home and vice versa.

• Learn a lot of great stuff. The NCES study found that when parents are actively involved in their kids’ schools, they “are more likely to visit museums and libraries, participate in cultural activities with their children, and have high educational expectations for them.”

• Feel more important in their children’s lives.

And finally, schools benefit from father involvement, too. Teacher morale is higher and they get more support from families, parents have a higher opinion of the teachers, and the schools have better reputations in community.

Armin Brott is the author of many best-selling books on fatherhood.


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