WHEN NO DAY IS FATHER'S DAY
June 14, 2006
An absent father is something that money can't replace. According to the National Center for Policy Analysis (NCPA), more than a third of American children, 24 million, or 34 percent, live in homes without their biological father.
Moreover, says the NCPA, the best predictor of father presence or absence is marital status. Compared to children born within marriage, children born to cohabitating parents are three times as likely to experience father absence, and children born to unmarried, non-cohabiting parents are four times as likely to live in a father-absent home. Why is this so troubling?
- Studies reported by the National Fatherhood Initiative have shown that children who live absent their biological fathers are, on average, at least two to three times more likely to be poor, to use drugs, to experience educational, health, emotional and behavioral problems, to be victims of child abuse, and to engage in criminal behavior than their peers who live with their married, biological (or adoptive) parents.
- On the other hand, children with involved fathers are significantly more likely to do well in school, have healthy self-esteem, exhibit empathy and pro-social behavior, and avoid high-risk behaviors such as drug use, truancy and criminal activity than children with uninvolved fathers.
- And it's not just boys who suffer without a father; numerous studies have shown that girls reach puberty younger, become sexually active earlier and are more likely to become pregnant in their teens if their father was absent from the home when they were young.
Men must learn that fatherhood is a serious, lifelong responsibility. They must be taught this from an early age. And society must understand this and support fatherhood and the traditional family unit, says Daniel A. Cirucci, a Philadelphia public-relations consultant.
Source: Daniel Cirucci, "When No Day is Father's Day," Philadelphia Daily News, June 9, 2006.
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