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Why Fathers Matter

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  • Why Fathers Matter

    We will honor our fathers on Sunday. It’s wonderful that most fathers show up and want only the best for their children. They are available, … Why Fathers Matter Read More

    We will honor our fathers on Sunday.

    It’s wonderful that most fathers show up and want only the best for their children. They are available, loving, and involved.

    And it can be a bittersweet day for those concerned about their son or daughter or who have lost their child to addiction.

    Fathers have a significant impact on their children and are so needed.

    My dad has been gone for over a decade, but I have fond memories of him. When my three brothers and I needed him, he was there. He always cared and tried to do the right thing as a father. We always knew he loved us. 

    And now, seeing my son and son-in-law be fathers is fun and rewarding. They are both hands-on in the trenches, with their wives doing the everyday chores of raising a child.

    That is also not to say that single moms can’t raise healthy adults. They can. Yet, having a male father figure in the picture if a father is unavailable can be a big help.

    Feeling Abandoned

    Children deserve both parents whenever possible. Fathers are crucial contributors to a child’s wellbeing. 

    Yet, we continue to have a crisis around absent fathers.
    • Eighty-five percent of people in prison grew up without a father. 
    • More than 70 percent of students who drop out of school come from fatherless homes.

    Far too many struggle with the loss of feeling abandoned by their fathers. It causes an incredible hole in the heart of a child trying to find their way in the world, which can also cause problems for society at large. It is too easy to use drugs or alcohol to ease the pain.

    And a 2019 study from researchers in Amsterdam said, “growing up in single-parent families is associated with an elevated risk of involvement in crime by adolescents.” Those researchers called for more studies to determine why fathers were not in the home — parents divorced, never married, or whether dad died — and how that might impact children.

    Don Miller, the author of Father Fiction, puts it this way, “People assume when you’re swimming in a river you are supposed to know which way you are going, and I guess some of the time that is true, but there are certain currents that are very strong, and it’s when we are in those currents, we need somebody to come along, pull us out, and guide us in a safer direction.”

    The National Fatherhood Initiative website suggests a father absence crisis in America.

    According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 18.4 million children, 1 in 4, live without a biological, step, or adoptive father in the home.*

    Research shows that a father’s absence affects children in numerous unfortunate ways, while a father’s presence makes a positive difference in the lives of both children and mothers.

    Absent fathers are part of all social problems facing America today.

    Here are some facts from Father Absence Harms Children to give insights into how an absent father affects a child.
    • Boys have fewer behavioral problems, and girls have fewer psychological problems when involved with their dads.
    • Father’s absence is to blame for many of our most intractable social ills affecting children.
    • Adolescent teen boys who live with their dads are less likely to carry guns and deal drugs.
    • Individuals from father-absent homes are 279% more likely to carry guns and deal drugs than peers living with their fathers.
    • Involved dads improve their child’s overall emotional and social wellbeing.

    Problems affecting our society are more likely to occur when there is an absent father. Depression and anxiety can continue to be problems well into adulthood because of that loss. Your child may look for love in the wrong places because of their childhood experience.
    “I believe that what we become depends on what our fathers teach us at odd moments, when they aren’t trying to teach us. We are formed by little scraps of wisdom.” ― Umberto Eco

    Dads play a vital role in a healthy upbringing for a child.

    In previous generations, a father’s child-raising role in the family was considered minor. The expectation was to provide for the family financially. The mom took care of the upbringing of the children.

    Now things have changed.

    We have dads who stay at home, raising the children who rely on their wives to provide the income. We have many families with two working parents who share in the child-raising. And some moms stay home and raise the kids while their husbands support the family. And we have same-sex unions as well.

    All scenarios can work well. What doesn’t work well is when a dad doesn’t show up and take responsibility for being a positive force in their child’s life.

    It’s about being there with compassion and letting your child know they are essential, loved, and the center of your life.

    According to a report in “Fathers and Their Impact on Children’s Wellbeing,”:

    Even from birth, children who have an involved father are more likely to be emotionally secure, be confident to explore their surroundings, and, as they grow older, have better social connections.

    Studies have shown that healthy father-child relationships improve resilience. They have emotional security, which helps children cope with stress and makes them less vulnerable to anxiety and depression.

    Here are some resources for kids and fathers:

    Fathers are vital to the healthy upbringing of your son or daughter.

    The greatest gift you can give your child as a father is to be in their lives in a healthy, loving way.

    But if your child is someone who doesn’t have a positive father figure in your life, Don Miller’s message sums it up nicely:
    “Just because we grew up without dads or life was hard coming up doesn’t mean we have to be complete idiots for the rest of our lives. We can be just as successful as the next guy as long as we learn a few things. When you think about it, people do it all the time–climb out of the ghetto or whatever, earn a good income, provide for a family, and change the direction of their legacy. 

    Thank you for reading. I know you have many options on content. Don’t forget to sign up for the Sunday newsletter with information and inspiration to help parents. Sign up now.