Friday, 11 March 2016

Learn the Impact of Responsible Fatherhood on Children

One out of every three American children lives in a home where the father is absent, for a total of 24 million children. Experts and parents agree that this is a situation that has grown to crisis proportions. Studies seem to back them up, showing links between many of society's ills and the problem of a lack of father participation in the family.

Fathers can have a positive affect on all aspects of a child's well-being. Data shows that dads can influence everything from crime, drug abuse, teen pregnancy, and the health of the child and mother to improving education and poverty levels and reducing obesity.

Research has shown that even if the father does not live in the child's home, they still can have a positive impact. The more a child is in contact with their father, the less they will experience behavioral problems. They also do better academically and score higher on reading tests.

Children who grow up in homes where there is no father present have a four times greater chance living in poverty. According to figures from the U.S. Census Bureau, in 2011, 44 percent of children in households with an absent father were poor, compared with only 12 percent of the children of two-parent families. Also, infant mortality rates for unmarried mothers are 1.8 times higher than for their married counterparts.

Responsible fatherhood efforts make a large difference in how their children will interact with the legal system. Family structure is a good predictor of delinquency, and youths whose fathers are absent are much more likely to be incarcerated. This is true even when controlling for income. Those children who never had a father around are at highest risk.

What Constitutes Responsible Fatherhood?

President Obama has called for a national conversation about creating healthy families and promoting responsible fatherhood. In his speech he outlined his idea of what positive fathers bring to the family equation. He said responsible fatherhood initiative requires being involved in the child's life in more ways than simply paying the bills. Fathers also must contribute to the child's positive development and work with the mother to address the needs of the family as a whole as well as the needs of the individual child.

As part of this conversation, the federal government's National Responsible Fatherhood Clearinghouse is asking fathers to sign a fatherhood pledge. In taking the pledge, fathers promise to renew their commitment to their family as well as their community. It says the man recognizes that mentors, mothers, and other responsible adults as well as fathers can help youngsters attain their highest potential. The father pledges to work to provide his children with a loving home and provide encouragement to the youth in his community.

The Clearinghouse recognizes there are many fatherhood initiatives, both public and private, in existence throughout the country. It offers tips and strategies to start new curriculum-based projects or to incorporate responsible parenting activities into existing organizations and programs that will change the behavior of fathers.

In summary, fathers are vital to the health and success of their children. Fatherhood initiatives can help by providing instruction on what positive fatherhood really means.