|The Importance of the Father|
|Thursday, 12 April 2007|
The father is an integral part of the family. Traditional family values have always maintained this and few would doubt that a father figure is a positive thing for children. Experts say that within the next decade, the number of unconventional families will outnumber "traditional" ones. More and more, research shows that we may be heading in a bad direction.
Children growing up without the stability of a two-parent home are much more at risk than their peers. Needless to say, there are always exceptions, but certainly life without Daddy stacks the odds against the kids. Drug abuse, emotional and health problems, academic troubles and anger - children growing up without their father are increasingly susceptible to all these and more. Following are research results pointing out the pitfalls of households with inattentive or absent fathers:
• Drug And Alcohol Abuse
Drug And Alcohol Abuse
Teenagers living in single-parent households are more likely to abuse alcohol and at an earlier age compared to children reared in two-parent households.
Fatherless children are at a dramatically greater risk of drug and alcohol abuse, mental illness, suicide, poor educational performance, teen pregnancy and criminality.
Families headed by single mothers not only have lower incomes, they have seen no income growth since the early 1970s.
Women who gave birth as teenagers were also more likely to have total family incomes below 50 percent of the poverty line. Over half of women who gave birth as teenagers had total family incomes below 50 percent of the poverty line in 1992.
Households with a father present have seen a steady rise in income from 1960 to 1990; however, households without a father have seen a decline in income from 1980 to 1990.
A study of 156 victims of child sexual abuse found that the majority of the children came from disrupted or single-parent homes; only 31 percent of the children lived with both biological parents. Although stepfamilies make up only about 10 percent of all families, 27 percent of the abused children lived with either a stepfather or the mother's boyfriend.
In a study of 146 adolescent friends of 26 adolescent suicide victims, teens living in single-parent families were found not only more likely to commit suicide but also more likely to suffer from psychological disorders when compared to teens living in intact families.
Emotional And Behavioral Problems
Even controlling for variations across groups in parent education, race and other child and family factors, 18- to 22-year-olds from disrupted families were twice as likely to have poor relationships with their mothers and fathers, to show high levels of emotional distress or problem behavior [and] to have received psychological help.
Compared to peers living with both biological parents, sons and daughters of divorced or separated parents exhibited significantly more conduct problems. Daughters of divorced or separated mothers evidenced significantly higher rates of internalizing problems, such as anxiety or depression.
"Father hunger" often afflicts boys age one and two whose fathers are suddenly and permanently absent. Sleep disturbances, such as trouble falling asleep, nightmares and night terrors frequently begin within one to three months after the father leaves home.
In a longitudinal study of 1,197 fourth-grade students, researchers observed "greater levels of aggression in boys from mother-only households than from boys in mother-father households."
Kids who exhibited violent behavior at school were 11 times as likely not to live with their fathers and six times as likely to have parents who were not married. Boys from families with absent fathers are at higher risk for violent behavior than boys from intact families.
Not Making The Grade
Children from disrupted families are 20 percent more unlikely to attend college than kids from intact, two-parent families.
Fatherless children - kids living in homes without a stepfather or without contact with their biological father - are twice as likely to drop out of school.
Children from low-income, two-parent families outperform students from high-income, single-parent homes. Almost twice as many high achievers come from two-parent homes as one-parent homes.
Among black children between the ages of 6 to 9 years old, black children in mother-only households scored significantly lower on tests of intellectual ability than black children living with two parents.
After taking into account race, socioeconomic status, sex, age and ability, high school students from single-parent households were 1.7 times more likely to drop out than were their corresponding counterparts living with both biological parents.
72 percent of adolescent murderers grew up without fathers. 60 percent of America's rapists grew up the same way.
Only 13 percent of juvenile delinquents come from families in which the biological mother and father are married to each other. By contrast, 33 percent have parents who are either divorced or separated and 44 percent have parents who were never married.
Compared to boys from intact, two-parent families, teenage boys from disrupted families are not only more likely to be incarcerated for delinquent offenses, but also to manifest worse conduct while incarcerated.
70 percent of juveniles in state reform institutions grew up in single- or no-parent situations.
In 1991, about 20 percent of preschool children were cared for by their fathers - both married and single. In 1988, the number was 15 percent.
Among fathers who maintain contact with their children after a divorce, the pattern of the relationship between father and child changes. They begin to behave more like relatives than like parents. Instead of helping with homework, nonresident dads are more likely to take the kids shopping, to the movies or out to dinner. Instead of providing steady advice and guidance, divorced fathers become "treat dads."
While 57 percent of unwed dads with kids no older than 2 visit their children more than once a week, by the time the kid's 7½, only 23 percent are in frequent contact with their children.
About 40 percent of the kids living in fatherless homes haven't seen their dads in a year or more. Of the rest, only one in five sleeps even one night a month at the father's home. And only one in six sees their father once or more per week.
According to a 1992 Gallup poll, more than 50 percent of all adults agreed that fathers today spend less time with their kids than their fathers did with them.
Overall, more than 75 percent of American children are at risk because of paternal deprivation. Even in two-parent homes, fewer than 25 percent of young boys and girls experience an average of at least one hour a day of relatively individualized contact with their fathers.
Of children age 5 to 14, 1.6 million return home to houses where there is no adult present.
Almost 20 percent of sixth- through twelfth-graders have not had a good conversation lasting for at least 10 minutes with at least one of their parents in more than a month.
A 1990 L.A. Times poll found that 57 percent of all fathers and 55 percent of all mothers feel guilty about not spending enough time with their children.
In 1965, parents on average spent approximately 30 hours a week with their kids. By 1985, the amount of time had fallen to 17 hours.
Readers have left 2 comments.
In the Name of the Father...:
...As the son of a man who was murdered by the British government I will request you to remove David Cameron's rubbish ( he should believe our propaganda, we do not need to believe his).
The Tory-Neocon lies about the importance of the father in the family rings hollow for those whose fathers have been jailed or killed.
(1) 2007-04-12 12:02:07
I'm a father of two very young children and in the early stages of a divorce. Never in my wildest dreams did I ever expect to find myself in this position but to continue in the marriage proved impossible. I am trying desperately to minimise the impact of this separation on the children, will nurture, support and guide them to the best of my ability and I will do all I can to ensure this is so.I am however, concerned that some Muslim women born in the Western hemisphere, take all this too lightly. For example, my Wife is doing all she can to be as destructive as possible, and thinking of her own needs and putting those of the children last. I don't wish to generalise, there are numerous Muslim women that carry out their obligations as individuals, Sisters, Mothers and Wives in a wonderful manner however, there are those that are easily swayed and are forgetting all that is great about traditions, culture and Islam. They feel they know best only to end up regretting their actions in years to come.My faith is in Allah, if this is what was written for me, then this is what I will endure.
(2) 2007-04-12 14:05:08