Suzanne Fields: The return of real men
IRS, Welfare Discourage Low-Income Marriages
Va. court rules violence is an equal-opportunity offender
(It's About All Dads)
New York Times
Effects of Joint Legal Custody on Nonresident Fathers' Involvement with Children
THE ESSENTIAL FATHER
"Depriving Children of Fathers, (Through Single- Motherhood and Divorce), Has Become The Most Prevalent Form of Child Maltreatment In America Today."- Professor David Popenoe, "Life Without Father"
What Do Fathers Do?:
According to scientifically documented studies,biological Fathers play a well-defined, irreplaceable and clearly essential role in the development of a child. They bring "an array of positive inputs to a child...qualities that women do not bring" to the parenting and familial environment. In their essential role, Fathers also benefit the children's mother as well - sometimes in surprising ways."
In what follows, we summarize the research articulating the unique and complimentary roles of Fathers and Mothers:
- Sons learn from their Fathers about male responsibility, achievement, suitable assertiveness and independence.
- The discipline and authority that men bring to raising boys, particularly teen boys, are very difficult for a woman to achieve.
- Daughters learn from their Fathers, as they cannot from their mothers, how to relate to men.
- Daughters learn to appreciate their own femininity from the one male who is most special in their lives; they learn about heterosexual trust, intimacy, and differences. Most importantly, through loving and being loved by their Fathers, they learn they are love-worthy.
- Fathers "play" differently, and they tend to emphasize play more than caretaking. - Fathers' play is likely to be both physically stimulating and exciting - a "rough and tumble approach." (Offspring who do not engage in sufficient play activities suffer a variety of negative developmental consequences. A study of convicted murderers in Texas found that 90% either did not play as children or played abnormally.)
- Fathers, partly through play, teach the character trait of "self-control". Children who roughhouse with their Fathers quickly learn that biting, kicking, and other forms of physical violence are not acceptable. They learn when enough is enough.
- Fathers give children practice, within the highly-charged emotions of rough and tumble play, in regulating their own emotions and recognizing others' emotional clues.
- Through their play, as well as in their other childrearing activities, Fathers tend to stress competition, challenge, initiative, risk-taking, and independence.
- Fathers conversations tend to be briefer, more directive, and focused on specifics.
- Fathers tend to focus on the child's long-term development vs the mother's focus on the child's immediate well-being.
- Fathers provide the groundwork for independence and challenge, vs the mother's provision for relatedness and support.
- In disciplinary terms, Fathers are universally regarded as more authoritative and firm. Fathers set limits which must be obeyed, and often determine "quick action".
- Fathers stress justice, fairness, and duty (based on rules), while mothers stress sympathy, care, and helping (based on relationships).
- Children who are gender-typed are more competent.
- Fathers engender "agency" (drive for independence, individuality, and self-fulfillment.) while mothers engender "communion" (the need to be included, connected, and related.)
- Communion and Agency are extremely difficult for either a man or a woman alone to combine effectively. The attempt is likely to lead to role confusion.
- Father involvement is related to improved quantitative and verbal skills, improved problem solving ability, and enhanced academic achievment in their children.
- Father presence has been found in several studies to determine proficiency in mathematics in their daughters.
- Father's time spent reading is a strong predictor of their daughter's reading ability.
- Father involvement and nurturing has been demonstrated to have a profound effect on their son's quantitative and mathematical abilities as well as their verbal intelligence.
- Perhaps the most "astonishing" finding is that early childhood Father involvement is the most important factor in the development of the character traits "empathy" and "compassion" - even more than the three strongest maternal predictors combined.
- NOTE: The major Father contributions - "self-control and empathy" - are most often lacking in people with antisocial and criminal tendencies.
- The offspring of warm and affectionate Fathers, 35 years later in life, were much more likely to be happily married, mentally healthy, and to have good relationships with friends. Thus, Father involvement produces a greater sense of "well-being".
- Biological fathers are uniquely needed in childrearing. When compared to stepfathers, it has been found that children living with biological fathers exhibited the least delinquency, while the children with stepfathers had the most disordered behavior.
- Daughters who have had the benefit of healthy Father involvement, develop a stronger "internal locus of control" - they are more independent, self-possessed, and more likely to assume responsibility for the consequences of their actions.
- Father-deprived girls show "precocious sexual interest, derogation of masculinity and males, and poor ability to maintain sexual and emotional adjustment with one male."
- As for "satisfactory father substitutes" (other than stepfathers and boyfriends which have been clearly shown to be counter- beneficial, on-average) such as a grandmother, it has been found that children living with a single mother and a grandmother fared worse as adolescents than did those living with just a single parent.
The conclusions from a large body of existing research are inescapable. "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.