Dads make a difference

Dads really do make a difference. Children need fathers (and father figures) – just as they need mothers – to love them, to be interested in them and to respond to their needs, making them feel valued and understood.

Wonderful and healthy parenting is one that safely involves both mothers and fathers taking active participation in a child’s life. Scientifically, it has been proven that children whose fathers have active involvement in their growing up years have fewer behavioural problems and turn out better individuals socially and academically. 

Both mums and dads play important and different roles in parenting. Let us not confuse “parenting” with responsibilities. The “tasks” of raising a child can be divided equally and interchangeably between both parents. But parenting is much beyond these tasks. It involves promoting a child’s well-being, by supporting his/her physical, intellectual, emotional, and social development.

80%+ of children of separated parents live exclusively or mainly with their mothers. Yet, when children have positive relationships and frequent contact with their fathers, they are:

  • less likely to act out in school or engage in risky behaviours in adolescence.
  • twice as likely as those who do not, to enter college or find stable employment after high school.
  • 80% less likely to spend time in jail.
  • 75% less likely to have a teen birth.
  • correlated with higher levels of social skills, confidence, and self-control.
  • 43% more likely to earn A’s in school and 33% less likely to resit an exam than those without engaged dads
  • half as likely to experience symptoms of depression. 

Despite this information

41% of fathers said that they have never been to, or been invited to a Children's Centre in their local area.

A significant amount of fathers said they felt like a ‘spare part’ during their parenting journey.

Only 33% of schools in Cheshire East confirmed that they “always” sign both parents up to online platforms when they both have regular contact with their child.

A high percentage of schools agreed that mothers engage with schools the most.

Two-thirds of new dads admit they feel left out in early days of parenting. 

Here in Cheshire East, we want to improve these statistics and therefore ensure that we are doing our utmost to engage fathers in all aspects of their children’s lives from the outset.

Please help us in doing so by filling in this short, anonymous questionnaire to help improve our services.

If it is that you are having difficulties with your child’s other parent (whether together or separated) you can find Support for Separated and Separating Parents.

Tips on how to be a supportive father:

Your biological relationship with the child does not limit fatherhood. Fatherhood is about the quality of relationship you have with your children.

To be a good father, you might try these tips:

Schedule time to spend with your child. Physical presence is equally important to a child. 

To grow close to your child, you might find it better to listen to them more than you lecture their behaviour.

Remember, children learn through imitation. Your child observes and knows more than you might assume. Always practice positive behaviours.

How children handle their current and future relationships will be influenced by how you treat their mother. Treating her with respect impacts their relationships.

To make your child feel secure and safe, practice showing them love whenever you're together. 

Fatherhood never ends. Children notice when you are absent. Try to show up in their important life events, spend quality time together, and play together.

Useful organisations for fathers and those waiting to be fathers

Dad Info gets information to dads so that they can get the best for their children, information covers everything from pregnancy, birth and babies, to financial, legal and education information – from a dads perspective. 

Babycentre with lots of general information, this site also has a good section for dads, with a handy ‘Dads ask mum’s forum. 

Families Need Fathers - because both parents matter

Telephone: 0300 0300 363 (Mon – Fri 09:00 - 22:00, Sat - Sun 10:00 -15:00)

Fatherhood Institute - A small charity that has been working to raise the profile of ‘involved fatherhood’

Family Rights Group A charity that works with parents in England and Wales whose children are in need, at risk, or in the care system and with members of the wider family who are raising children unable to remain at home

Confidential Advice Line: 0808 801 0366

Cheshire East Healthy Relationships Team

For further information, support or advice please contact the healthy relationships team at Cheshire East, pop into your local Children’s Centre/Family Hub or call the Family Help Front Door on 0300 123 5012 (option 3, option 1) for an informal discussion.


Cheshire East’s Healthy Relationships Programme does not promote nor endorse the services advertised on this website. Anyone seeking to use/access such services does so at their own risk and should make all appropriate enquiries about fitness for purpose and suitability to meet their needs.

Page last reviewed: 10 January 2024

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