Father with child
A father with a child

A father (also called dad or daddy) is a male parent. Most human beings are born from a mother and a father. The father of a person's husband or wife is their father-in-law. Fathers determine the gender of their child through a sperm cell which either contains an X chromosome (female), or Y chromosome (male).

Role of the father

Father and child, Dhaka
Father and child, Dhaka, Bangladesh

In almost all cultures fathers are regarded as secondary caregivers. This perception is slowly changing with more and more fathers becoming primary caregivers, while mothers go to work or in single parenting situations, male same-sex parenting couples.

Fatherhood in the Western World
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A father and his children in Florida

In the West, the image of the married father as the primary wage-earner is changing. The social context of fatherhood plays an important part in the well-being of men and all their children. In the United States 16% of single parents were men as of 2013.

Importance of father or father-figure

Involved fathers offer developmentally specific provisions to their children and are impacted themselves by doing so. Active father figures may play a role in reducing behavior and psychological problems in young adults. An increased amount of father–child involvement may help increase a child's social stability, educational achievement, and their potential to have a solid marriage as an adult. Their children may also be more curious about the world around them and develop greater problem solving skills. Children who were raised with fathers perceive themselves to be more cognitively and physically competent than their peers without a father. Mothers raising children together with a father reported less severe disputes with their child.

The father-figure is not always a child's biological father and some children will have a biological father as well as a step- or nurturing father. When a child is conceived through sperm donation, the donor will be the "biological father" of the child.

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Father Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.