Last week we talked about how important it is for dads to be involved in their children’s lives; an involved dad not only positively impacts his children, but he also positively influences his partner and himself. If you haven’t read that post, click here.
Fatherlessness is a Major Social Issue
Sadly, millions of dads are NOT involved in the lives of their children. That too, makes an impact: on children, on women, on society as a whole, and not in a positive way. According to the National Fatherhood Initiative, 24 million American children, roughly 1 in 3, live in biological-father-absent homes. Children in father-absent homes are four times more likely to live in poverty. Fatherlessness is also a factor in youth crime and incarceration, drug abuse, emotional health issues, sexual activity and teen pregnancy. Additionally, infant mortality rates are nearly two times higher for babies of unmarried mothers than for those of married moms.
Other Results of Fatherlessness
Child abuse may be more likely in homes without an involved biological dad. The National Fatherhood Initiative also reports that a 2010 study revealed that “in many cases the absence of a biological father contributes to increased risk of child maltreatment, that “in families with a non-biological (social) father figure, there is a higher risk of abuse and neglect to children, despite the social father living in the household or only dating the mother.”
Lack of father involvement may also contribute to childhood obesity. According to a study done by The National Longitudinal Survey of Youth and cited by the National Fatherhood Initiative, “obese children are more likely to live in father-absent homes than are non-obese children.”
A Disease in Our Communities and in Our Country
The National Center for Fathering states, “More than 20 million children live in a home without the physical presence of a father. Millions more have dads who are physically present, but emotionally absent. If it were classified as a disease, fatherlessness would be an epidemic worthy of attention as a national emergency.”
No social or race demographic is immune. More than half of African-American children, more than 30 percent of Hispanic children, and more than 20 percent of Caucasian children live in homes absent of a biological father.
View a short video documentary from The National Center for Fathering at http://www.fathers.com/statistics-and-research/the-extent-of-fatherlessness/.
What Can Be Done?
Dads play an important role and their impact can be positive or negative. Dads, be involved in your children’s lives, and moms, encourage dads to be active and engaged in the family. There are many resources to help fathers and families, including community parenting programs available through Mercer Family Resource Center in Casper. There are also many online resources available, from free ebooks to training programs. Below are a few:
Additionally, many local churches offer men’s ministry programs and some community organizations offer youth and adult mentoring programs. Be an involved dad and help your children and family flourish!
One way to do that is to take part in this weekend’s Father’s Day event at Casper’s Washington Park. A lot of family-friendly activities and informational booths will be available as well as a free barbecue. It all takes place Saturday, June 18, from 11 am to 3 pm. Learn more at http://www.chaoffice.org/#!news-and-events/c1mhs.