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Dads are People Too. (By Sarah Senst)

Dads are People Too.

In honor of Father’s Day and all fathers, I wanted to write a bit about their importance.

I recently learned a new term. It is called “father-void” homes. A father-void home is one where there is an identified father but he has no presence in the home or in the lives of his children. This is compared to “father-less” homes which in the past has meant “no father to be found.” In most cases, there are father’s, they just may not be present, involved or engaged. We have learned a lot about father-void homes and the typically negative impact it has on children.

The Center on Fathering created a list of “Benefits of Involved Fathering” (November, 2006). The research shows that children are much more successful academically and have a higher likelihood of going to college when a father is involved.  Involved dads have a positive correlation to reduced adolescent pregnancy. These children are less likely to engage in criminal activities or abuse drugs and alcohol. Father involvement is the strongest parent-related predictor in the development of empathy.  It is also strongly associated with the development of problem-solving behavior and reduced sibling conflict and aggression. Boys and girls tend to grow up more open-minded about what men and women are capable of doing and less likely to adhere to sex-stereotyped perceptions. Direct father involvement even effects premature infant development in terms of weight gain and quicker discharges. Children with two loving, involved parents benefit from the wealth of each parent’s life experiences!

Over the years I have seen the value of raising children in a 2 (or more!) adult home. The impact of a father’s love is powerful and lasts a lifetime. Father’s influence growth and development from very early on and help to form a child’s identity, relationship patterns, decision-making, role identification and to teach life lessons and experiences. I actively promote anything we can do as a society to engage Father’s, reduce isolation and increase support. It certainly takes a village…Happy Father’s Day!

For more ways to support dads and other great parenting tips call the Family Support Line at 1-800-CHILDREN (800-244-5373) OR 1-866-Las-Familias for Spanish speakers. You can also e-mail Sarah@FamiliesFirstColorado.org with questions or concerns. The Family Support Line offers parenting tips, resources and information only and does not serve as legal or mental health advice.

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