Where did my Dad go?

Father’s Day is a day set apart to acknowledge the role of Dads in our lives. For me it bring s a mixed blessing. On the one hand it is a difficult day as my father died when I was just 8 years old, yet on the other it is a time to celebrate with my children. This year I went out to dinner with my son (and wife, mother-in-law and son’s girlfriend) – plus I have the bonus of receiving a gift from my daughter when she returns from overseas. My eldest daughter will be oblivious to the day as it is celebrated in June in England.

However, my work with young people over the last twenty years has shown me that many of them grow up without a constant father presence in their lives. The effects of an absence father can be far reaching. According to research it can mean:

  • children in father-absent homes are almost four times as likely to be poor
  • children born to single mothers show higher levels of aggressive behaviour than children born to married mothers.
  • when fathers are involved during the pregnancy babies have fewer complications at birth.
  • a survey of 7,000 prison inmates showed 39% of them lived in mother only households
  • a study of juvenile delinquents showed that family structure significantly predicts delinquency
  • being raised by a single mother raises the risk of teen pregnancy – youths are more a risk of first substance abuse without a highly involved father
  • obese children are more likely to live in father-absent homes than are non-obese children
  • students living in father-absent homes are twice as likely to repeat a grade in school.

Whilst it is possible for us in Australia to claim that these findings are from American statistics I think it would be naive to say that we are totally exempt.

I draw two conclusions –

a. It is even more important for fathers to be involved in the lives of their children than I had previously realised and

b. single mothers need all the support we can give them.

Your thoughts? Please comment below.

The findings were take from many different research studies and were detailed here : http://www.fatherhood.org/media/consequences-of-father-absence-statistics

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