A Father’s Role in An Infant’s Life

What are the three major roles fathers need to play?

father's role


While mom is usually the one caring for the baby, we can’t deny that dad also plays a big part in the baby’s development. Fathers, although usually not seen as “hands-on” with childcare, have a crucial role to their child’s overall physical, emotional, and social capacity.

Below are the three major roles a father plays in their young child’s life.


Authority Figure

We often look at dad as the authoritative figure in the family. According to the parenting styles theory, how authoritative a parent or caregiver is can actually affect the child’s personality. In theory of parenting styles, authority and care can be identified into four types:

  • Authoritative – When the parent has high expectations of their children, but balances their expectations with understanding and support.


  • Neglectful – When the parent tends to be neglectful towards their child’s need. This highlights the social and emotional need more than the physical.


  • Permissive – When the parent is responsive but not demanding. The parent tends to be lenient so as to avoid conflict. They often let their child do whatever they want, spoiling them in the end.


  • Authoritarian – When the parent is demanding and controlling but not responsive to what their child wants.


This theory suggested that the best type of parenting style is authoritative. Kids raised by an authoritative parent are likely to grow up self-reliant, independent, well-behaved, socially adept, and academically successful. They’re also less likely to steer into negative emotions, anxiety, and depression.



This is probably the most important role a father has. He not only protects his child, but also protects the family. This isn’t limited to physical safety, but also covers financial security, emotional security, and the like. A father’s role in providing moral and spiritual security is as important as keeping their child physically safe, as well as supporting holistic development. There could be forces that attack family life and values, so fathers vigilantly defend their families from any form of attack.



Although most families now have both mother and father working, fathers are still seen as the main provider. Providing for one’s family is a part of the promise a man makes during his wedding day. A father’s role as a provider is not only limited to the material and emotional needs of their child, but the spiritual need as well. He is responsible for having a means of livelihood that will support all these needs. Even when a father share the responsibility of providing for the family with the mother, fathers are usually expected to give more. However, this shouldn’t be used to measure how capable a father is in providing for their child. As long as he is sincere in caring and providing, what he is able to give is enough.


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The National. 2017. “A father’s role in a child’s life is about more than paying the bills.” Accessed on June 15, 2017. http://www.thenational.ae/opinion/comment/a-fathers-role-in-a-childs-life-is-about-more-than-paying-the-bills.

Smart Parenting. 2017. “The 10 Roles a Father Plays in his Child’s Life.” Accessed on June 15, 2017. http://www.smartparenting.com.ph/life/love-relationships/the-call-to-fatherhood-what-being-a-father-is-all-about/page/1.

Vanderbilt. 2014. “Types of Parenting Styles and How to Identify Yours” Accessed on June 15, 2017. https://my.vanderbilt.edu/developmentalpsychologyblog/2013/12/types-of-parenting-styles-and-how-to-identify-yours/.

Parenting Science. 2016. “The authoritative parenting style: Warmth, rationality, and high standards”. Accessed on June 15, 2017. http://www.parentingscience.com/authoritative-parenting-style.html.

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