The Impact of A Father

June is the month we set aside a special day to recognize fathers or father figures. One could debate whether fathers get the same recognition and celebration on Father’s Day as mothers do on Mother’s Day. The one thing that most can agree on is the significant role a father plays in the life of children. In this blog, Bald, Bearded, & Blessed will shed some light on the impact of a father.

The Impact of Father Absence

If not all, most children would like to have their father to be in their lives. Unfortunately, there is a vast number households in the United States where fathers are absent. To assess the impact father absence has on the lives of children and families, we must take a look at what the research shows.

Based on the 2017 U.S. Census Bureau, 19.7 million children,more than 1 in 4, live without a father in the home. This has been deemed as a father absence crisis in America. This crisis has been linked to nearly all of the societal ills facing this country present today. When a child is raised in a home where the father is absent, the statistics show how a child is affected.

As you can see, father absence impacts children in a multiplicity of ways. This is a crisis that cannot be ignored.

The Impact of Father Involvement

When we think about the father’s involvement with the children and family, one of the top roles/responsibilities we tend to think about first is breadwinner. The role of breadwinner is significant. However, breadwinner is not the sum of the father’s role and the power of his involvement. Let’s take a deep dive and look at the impact of the father’s involvement from the perspectives of how his involvement benefits the children, the family, and him.

Benefits for Children

  • Reduces infant’s chances of experiencing cognitive delay
  • fare much better on cognitive tests and in language ability
  • increase the chances of high school graduation and even to go to vocational school or college
  • involvement in children’s school activities protects at-risk children from failing or dropping out
  • decrease boys’ problem behaviors and better mental health for girls
  • experience more success in their lives
  • protection from risk factors that pose harm
  • promotion of social and language skills
  • lower rates of problem behaviors like hyperactivity, violence, and problems with the law
  • increase in characteristics such as empathy, self-esteem, self control, feelings of ability to achieve, social competence, life skills, psychological well-being, and less sex-stereotyped beliefs
  • have fewer mental health problems as adults
  • children in foster care who have involved fathers are more likely to reunite with their family and spend less time in foster care
  • more likely to take an active and positive role in raising their own family
  • experience high life satisfaction and self-esteem
  • educational programs that successfully increase father involvement produce positive change in children’s behavior

Benefits for the Family

  • Better communication between the father and family members
  • a greater sense of commitment to family
  • less troubling conflict with teenage children

Benefits for Fathers

  • enjoy a secure attachment relationship with children
  • cope well with stress
  • feel as if they can depend on others
  • feel more comfortable in their occupation and feel they can do their job well
  • feel that they have a lot to offer others in terms of their job skills, parenting skills, and social relationships

Engaging Children Experiencing Father Absence

With the father absence crisis we face in the U.S., there are ways to address this issue. A positive male presence in the life of a child can be a powerful change agent. Children experience father absence by way of their father desertion, incarceration, or death of their father. The presence of a strong male who possesses the attributes to provide love, guidance, consistency, and structure in that child’s life can be life changing. By being present and providing support socially, emotionally, and educationally, men can serve as father figures for children who are experiencing father absence. Serving in this capacity can decrease the probability of children being at-risk to the societal ills due to father absence. Men can be mentors via the Big Brothers Programs, volunteer for educational and recreational activities with local schools and little league sports, and/or become active in Men’s ministries to provide support to children and families headed by single mothers.

One can’t deny the importance a father plays in the life of children and families. As we embark upon Father’s Day, let’s remember to not only celebrate fathers but to look for opportunities to engage and support children who experience father absence.

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