Fathers Are Parents Too…7 Factors Why Kids Need A Dad
It is critical for a child to have a father. Actually, any male who can reproduce can be a father but it takes a special man to become a dad. Learning from a dad is an important part of the development of both male and female kids. Without the dad, the child will not learn valuable lessons they will need to develop and grow. A mother can never take the place of a dad.
As we get close to Father's Day, let's explore the role of a dad and what factors there are without one in the lives of his kids.
Poverty Factor - Children in father-absent homes are five times more likely to be poor. In 2002, 7.8 percent of children in married-couple families were living in poverty, compared to 38.4 percent of children in female-householder families.
Maternal and Infant Health - Infant mortality rates are 1.8 times higher for infants of unmarried mothers than for married mothers.
Father Factor in Incarceration - Even after controlling for income, youths in father-absent households still had significantly higher odds of incarceration than those in mother-father families. Youths who never had a father in the household experienced the highest odds. A 2002 Department of Justice survey of 7,000 inmates revealed that 39% of jail inmates lived in mother-only households. Approximately forty-six percent of jail inmates in 2002 had a previously incarcerated family member. One-fifth experienced a father in prison or jail.
Father Factor in Crime - A study of 109 juvenile offenders indicated that family structure significantly predicts delinquency. Adolescents, particularly boys, in single-parent families were at higher risk of status, property and person delinquencies. Moreover, students attending schools with a high proportion of children of single parents are also at risk. A study of 13,986 women in prison showed that more than half grew up without their father. Forty-two percent grew up in a single-mother household and sixteen percent lived with neither parent. (Fathers and Daughters).
Father Factor in Child Abuse - Compared to living with both parents, living in a single-parent home doubles the risk that a child will suffer physical, emotional, or educational neglect. The overall rate of child abuse and neglect in single-parent households is 27.3 children per 1,000, whereas the rate of overall maltreatment in two-parent households is 15.5 per 1,000.
Father Factor in Drug and Alcohol Abuse - Researchers at Columbia University found that children living in two-parent household with a poor relationship with their father are 68% more likely to smoke, drink, or use drugs compared to all teens in two-parent households. Teens in single mother households are at a 30% higher risk than those in two-parent households.
Father Factor in Education - Fatherless children are twice as likely to drop out of school.
(These statistics where compiled by the National Fatherhood Initiative)
You can choose to debate the cause of these terrible social consequences. However, clearly there is a connection between the absent father and all of these catastrophic results that have scarred the family and our society. The significance of the research cannot be overstated. The cost to society as well as to individual families and children is astronomical. And it's getting worse. Immediate action should be taken to address this major issue of our time.
After reading this you may be wondering "what can be done?"
Obviously, dads need to take a significant role in their children's lives. Be there and guide your kids. Help them understand, from a male point of view, how to be a man and how to be kind and strong; how to treat a woman; how to be wise and fair.
The court system needs to be more sympathetic to men and their rights to raise kids in divorce. It is even more critical that the dad is allowed access to his kids. Courts need to give more time to dads rather than just the every other weekend and the once in the middle of the week. Kids need dads to help with homework. Go to sports or music practice. Kids need their dads to be able to take them fishing, camping or on the father child special bonding trip.
Fathers need to take responsibility for their kids and be a dad. The government has passed stricter laws on child support to at least make fathers more financially involved. Even at that minimal level of involvement there is data to support that the money fathers contribute to their children has a strong impact on their child's positive development.
Another positive result has been groups like the National Fatherhood Initiative has compiled research on fathers, and has programs, resources, and information to help get fathers involved again in their children's lives. Fathers.com - The National Center for Fathering is also an excellent all around resource for fathers. These groups not only inform, but also educate and advocate for fathers. Knowledge is power, so take advantage of these great resources.
Dad, your guiding hand on my shoulder will remain with me forever. ~Author Unknown