Happy Father’s Day: Importance of Fathers

It’s another father’s day and it seems this special celebration of gallant men around the world always goes under the radar.

I believe fathers are not celebrated enough. It’s actually tough been a father.

Fathers are far more than just “second adults” in the home. Involved fathers – especially biological fathers – bring positive benefits to their children that no other person is as likely to bring.

They provide protection and economic support and male role models. They have a parenting style that is significantly different from that of a mother and that difference is important in healthy child development.David Popenoe, Life Without Father, (New York: The Free Press, 1996), p. 163.00

Dads provide kids with a broader diversity of social experiences. They also introduce them to a wider variety of methods of dealing with life. They tend to stress rules, justice, fairness, and duty in discipline. In this way, they teach children the objectivity and consequences of right and wrong.

They give kids insight into the world of men. They prepare them for the challenges of life and demonstrate by example the meaning of respect between the sexes.

Fathers encourage competition, engendering independence. Mothers promote equity, creating a sense of security.

Dads emphasize conceptual communication, which helps kids expand their vocabulary and intellectual capacities. Moms major in sympathy, care, and help, thus demonstrating the importance of relationships.

Dads tend to see their child in relation to the rest of the world. Moms tend to see the rest of the world in relation to their child.

Neither style of parenting is adequate in and of itself. Taken together, they balance each other out and equip the up-and-coming generation with a healthy, well-rounded approach to life.

Where’s the evidence for these assertions? Obviously, we can’t go into great detail here. This is a vast field of study. But we can offer a few examples of some of the relevant research:

In an analysis of over 100 studies on parent-child relationships, it was found that having a loving and nurturing father was as important for a child’s happiness, well-being, and social and academic success as having a loving and nurturing mother. Some studies even indicated father-love was a stronger contributor to some important positive child well-being outcomes. Ronald P. Rohner and A. Veneziano, “The Importance of Father Love: History and Contemporary Evidence,” Review of General Psychology 5.4 (2001): 382-405.

A University of Pennsylvania research indicates that children who feel a closeness and warmth with their fathers are twice as likely to enter college, 75 percent less likely to have a child in their teen years, 80 percent less likely to be incarcerated and half as likely to show various signs of depression.(Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1993).

Children who grow up in a home where a father is not present are at a greater risk for abusing alcohol and other drugs (Hoffmann, 2002).

In one study, researchers examined the impact of father-absence on African American boys (Mandara & Murray, 2006). According to their findings, the boys who came from a home without a father were more likely to use drugs than boys who came from a home where a father was present.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau (2011), children from absent-father homes are four times more likely to be living in poverty.

Evidence suggests that not having a father at home may have a negative impact on a child’s overall academic performance. Research has shown that children who come from a father-absent home are more likely to drop out of school when compared to children who live in a two-parent household (Whitehead & Holland, 2003; Popenoe, 1996; Blankenhorn, 1995; McLanahan, & Sandefur, 1994; Sampson, 1987).

Children from a father-absent home are also more likely to become depressed, have suicidal thoughts, anxiety, social withdrawals, and school absences if they see or hear their parents fighting (Flouri, 2007).

Coming from a fatherless home can contribute to a child having more emotional problems, such as anxiety and depression. Fatherless children may start thinking that they are worth less than other children who have fathers and wonder why their father abandoned them. This may also lead to an increased risk of suicide and/or self-injurious behaviors. (Osborne & McLanahan, 2007).

A high percentage of gang members come from father-absent homes (Davidson, 1990), possibly resulting from a need for a sense of belonging.

In a study of female inmates, more than half came from a father-absent home (Snell, Tracy, & Morton, 1991). Youths who never had a father living with them have the highest incarceration rates (Hill, O’Neill, 1993).

In addition, children who come from father-absent homes are at a greater risk for using illicit substances at a younger age (Bronte-Tinkew, Jacinta, Moore, Capps, & Zaff, 2004).

Children with higher body mass indices (BMI) are more likely to come from father-absent homes (Finn, Johannsen, & Specker, 2002; Strauss & Knight, 1999).

Children who grow up in a single parent home are twice as likely to be the subject of physical and/or emotional abuse (America’s Children, 1997).

Lack of paternal involvement has also been associated with a higher likelihood of being bullied and experiencing abuse (Allen & Daly, 2007).

In the words lyrics of Patoranking in the song “Celebrate me”,
Celebrate fathers, now they are alive
Appreciate fathers, now they are alive
No be say when they leave this life
You go dey fake am for their back
You go dey fake am for my back.

Please celebrate fathers out there.

For those present fathers, THANK YOU.

For absent fathers, please do better.



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