If you are a Dad and you are involved, or at least try to be involved with your children, then Happy Father’s Day. But many children don’t have a Dad in their lives. About a third of American children are being raised without a father. There are many articles and pages on the internet concerning fatherless children and the effects that it has on the children. Kirsten Andersen wrote an article outlining some of the latest statistics concerning children in single parent homes. It can be found here: The number of US children living in single parent homes has nearly doubled in 50 years.
In this article and others, Vincent DiCaro, the vice president of the National Fatherhood Initiative blames this growing tend on many of the problems that we have in society. I agree. If fathers are in the picture, responsible and supportive, many of the problems will be lessened.
On the National Fatherhood Initiative website, some of the consequences of a fatherless household are astounding. Here is just a few of the findings:
- Children in father absent homes are almost four times more likely to be poor.
- Children born to single mothers show higher levels of aggressive behavior than children born to married mothers.
- High quality interaction by any type of father predicts better infant health.
- Even after controlling for community context, there is significantly more drug use among children who do not live with their mother and father.
At first glance, this does not speak well of single mother homes. I know that single mothers struggle to provide the best homes for their children. It takes incredible strength to work, care for a home and care for children. I respect that effort. But, I do think that the love of a father and the love of a mother differ greatly. Of course, it depends on the background and personality of each parent, a mother is more nurturing, protective and safety aware whereas a father is more adventurous, measured risk taking and independence. Neither love is wrong, it is just different. Men and women are different. Children need that balance from both parents to feel secure in the challenges that life has for them.
As I have said before, any man can be a father, but a child needs a Dad. A child needs a Mom too. There are homes without mothers as well, about 5 million children live in homes without Moms. Unfortunately, my children experienced the divorce of their parents. In my situation, I had custody of my children as my ex-wife left the country. I certainly would have preferred that we stayed together. My relationships with other women did not replace a “mother” figure in their lives as I would have hoped. They have grown up well despite the divorce, but I know that they are and will always be affected by the divorce. I love them dearly. Their mother loves them too. She says she misses them and I am sure she does.
I believe that America would greatly benefit from whole families, loving families, and strong families to provide the core and stability that our children need.