Monday, August 15, 2011

Power of a fathers presence

I read about this piece in the St. Louis Today.
A new Pew Research Center report on fathering trends reports that today's fathers are more active in their children's daily lives to a degree not seen in nearly half a century.
They also log more than twice as many hours on kid duty than did their own dads: In 1965, the average married father spent only 2.6 hours a week caring for his children; by 2000, that average had risen to 6.5 hours.  Live-in dads now regularly eat meals with their children, play with them, read to them, help them with their homework and ask them about their day.  
But, in 1960, just more than one in 10 children lived apart from their fathers. Today, more than one in four do.
Shockingly, 40 percent of dads who dropped out of high school live apart from their children, while only 7 percent of college graduates do. 
The consequences for children are profound. As statistics in the 2011 Father Facts report make clear, children who live apart from their biological fathers are more likely to suffer abuse, run afoul of the law, abuse drugs or alcohol, struggle with emotional and behavioral problems, live in poverty and engage in early sexual activity. Children raised by their married fathers and mothers, by contrast, fare better on nearly every sociological measure available, from their rates of graduation to their incidence of out-of-wedlock childbearing and divorce. 
Many children who grow up without live-in dads manage to succeed, of course. And some live-apart fathers make heroic efforts to stay involved in the lives of children from whom they are separated against their will, sometimes by mothers who undervalue a father's importance. But as University of Virginia sociologist and fatherhood expert W. Bradford Wilcox put it when I asked him about the issue this week, marriage and fatherhood are, for most men, "a package deal."

It is so clear - Father absence hurts children.

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