There is humor in the conception that moms just want a day off on Mother’s Day, but on Father’s Day dads want to be out and doing something as a family. This actually fits well with the roles that father figures play in child development, even in foster care.
One of our Victor FFA Hemet foster families, the Sanchez family, was named Resource Family of the Year by the Riverside Department of Public Social Services during National Foster Care Month. What makes the Sanchezes especially unique this month, is that Derrick is a stay-at-home father, and they are fostering 4 boys while raising their own teenage son.
Male Role Models in Childhood Development
Father figures play a specific role in a child’s development. An engaged father positively impacts attachment styles, meaning children learn how to form healthier boundaries and expectations in relationships.
They also typically encourage independence in and for them to meet problems with logic which helps children develop critical thinking skills. Fathers promote exploration of the world, and because of their presence, children feel more secure in taking risks in life.
The authoritative parenting style of a father figure has been shown to lead to better academic, social, and emotional outcomes. Children are less likely to go to jail or have an unexpected pregnancy, and more likely to go to college and find a stable job.
We know from studies that the absence of male role models results in long term negative psychological and emotional effects. Children are more likely to experience the effects of poverty, drop out of school, experience depression, and misbehave.
Father figures have influence on how children see healthy relationships and give the picture of what it is to be masculine. They can show what love and masculinity looks like. This is important to break town the warped view they may have coming from past trauma or abuse that centered around violence and anger.
Showing how to love others in a healthy way is one of the best influences a male role model can have on a child. They can show that expressing emotions, being affectionate with boundaries, and acts of service are a sign of strength and not weakness. They demonstrate protection and discipline that isn’t angry yelling. For some foster children, this can be a completely new concept and open their eyes to a better way to love.
Example of Relationship
The Sanchezes know that every child they welcome into their home is different and work so they can feel comfortable, especially right after placement. Reunification is at their number one goal for all the kids they foster.
“We try to be flexible and work around the parents’ schedules to make sure they get to visit their kids every week,” said Derrick. “Ultimately, the goal is to reunite the family.”
Out of the 14 children they’ve fostered, 10 have been successfully returned to their birth parents, and their current four boys are on track for the same. Though if any of the foster children are unable to return home, Tami and Derrick would gladly adopt.
There is no doubt that the Sanchezes model a good home with healthy boundaries and relationship for their foster children and their own biological son. Tami and Derrick do this with a balanced partnership full of respect, compassion, and love.
We are proud to call them our own and are thankful for the father figures, like Derrick, who nurture foster children and give them a positive male role model to look up to. To all the fathers and father figures out there, we celebrate you and how you are helping raise the next generations. We also celebrate the reunification of fathers with their families, as this month is also Reunification Month.
Perhaps you want to be a father figure to a child who needs one and have found more room in your heart and home to foster. We invite you to contact us and we will answer any questions you may have. If you have the love in your heart and an interest, we want to speak with you.