The greatest gift a nurturing father gives his sons is a healthy model of what it means to be a boy, a man, and a father. Boys and girls both need their father's affection. But with boys it may be harder for dads to openly show it, even those fathers and sons who spend lots of companionship time together.
Despite the movement of our culture towards androgyny, we are all well aware of the unique contributions and the unique differences between men and women, boys and girls. No matter what any clinical psychologist or researcher might say, there are distinct, observable, differences between the sexes, and I'm glad about it.
Fatherly rough-and-tumble play has many developmental benefits for children, particularly boys. Research shows that physical engagement—like wrestling, roughhousing (when not carried to an extreme) and warm, playful interaction—helps boys learn to regulate and control their behavior, deal with a range of emotions, and adapt to a variety of situations.