By Angie Bado, TSB Publisher
It’s Father’s Day weekend and dads, in case you are unaware, being an integral part of your children’s lives makes an enormous difference in their future.
According to “The Fatherless Generation” project, children who come from situations where loving fathers are present and involved in their lives, children have a greater likelihood of completing their education, are less likely to get involved with high risk behaviors involving drugs, alcohol or criminal behavior. They display higher self-esteem and more socially acceptable behaviors.
Studies on parent-child relationships and child wellbeing show that father love is an important factor in predicting the social, emotional, and cognitive development and functioning of children and young adults.
Because fathers often stress independence, as opposed to a mother who operates from a more nurturing viewpoint, having an actively involved father leads kids to more exploration of the world around them and to develop better relationships with their peers.
Here are some statistics to consider:
- 63% of youth suicides are from fatherless homes (US Dept. Of Health/Census) – 5 times the average.
- 90% of all homeless and runaway children are from fatherless homes – 32 times the average.
- 85% of all children who show behavior disorders come from fatherless homes – 20 times the average. (Center for Disease Control)
- 80% of rapists with anger problems come from fatherless homes –14 times the average. (Justice & Behavior, Vol 14, p. 403-26)
- 71% of all high school dropouts come from fatherless homes – 9 times the average. (National Principals Association Report)
- 85% of all youths in prison come from fatherless homes – 20 times the average. (Fulton Co. Georgia, Texas Dept. of Correction)
Fatherless children are more likely to dropout of school:
- Children with fathers who are involved are 40% less likely to repeat a grade in school.
- Children with fathers who are involved are 70% less likely to drop out of school.
- Children with fathers who are involved are more likely to get A’s in school.
- Children with fathers who are involved are more likely to enjoy school and engage in extracurricular activities.
- 75% of all adolescent patients in chemical abuse centers come from fatherless homes – 10 times the average.
- A 2001 U.S. Department of Education study found that highly involved biological fathers had children who were 43% more likely than other children to earn mostly As and 33% less likely than other children to repeat a grade
We all know that situations like divorce have an effect on the amount of time a father spends with his children, but there are ways for dads to still be involved.
1. Put the kids first by actually parenting. Do homework or projects with kids when they are spending time with dad. Attend athletic or other extracurricular activities that your kids participate in whenever possible.
2. Keep the lines of communication open with your ex. Discuss what is going on in the life of your child. Try to agree with your ex on behaviors that are expected in both homes – consistency is important.
3. Continue to show an interest in the things that matter to your kids. Talk with them, and attend, their soccer games, school plays, recitals, etc. Stay involved, even though it is tempting to delegate these activities to mom.
4. Always show respect to your ex – the mother of your children – in their presence. As difficult as this may be, don’t criticize her in front of your kids. They still love their mother too, and this kind of behavior only makes it more difficult for them, forcing them to feel like they have to choose sides.
Father figure is defined as one who serves as an emotional substitute for a father. Kudos to all you dads out there who are fathers – not just “father figures”. You are making a difference – one kid at a time!