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The Importance of Fathers in Their Children’s Lives

If you knew there was one thing our nation could do to improve every area of a child’s development, would you be in support of that one thing? Research shows children that have involvement from both a father and mother perform better in all developmental areas. Children need their fathers to be involved. For far too long, our country has seen fathers at best as an add-on to what mothers provide for children and in some cases fatherhood has been discounted altogether.

Families First, Colorado Dads and the state of Colorado value the vital role fathers play in the lives of children. The Colorado Fatherhood Council, in conjunction with Families First, is holding five Fatherhood Forums across the state this month to share information regarding the Council becoming a Practitioner’s Network as well as to obtain additional input regarding the needs and assets that can be mobilized to promote fatherhood services in Colorado.

In addition, these meetings will try to find additional people to help plan and participate in a Leadership Summit on Fatherhood and/or to be involved in the practitioner’s network. If you would like to participate in one of these forums please register by going to this link: http://e2.ma/click/jzq7g/jzixfv/vsxdhb.

In the meantime, take a look at some of the research that clearly shows the importance of fathers in all areas of a child’s life and development. Here are just a few of the stats that can be found online:

Children do better academically when their fathers are involved in their lives. For example, highly involved biological fathers had children who were 43% more likely than other children to earn mostly A’s and 33% less likely than other children to repeat a grade. They are also 70% less likely to drop out of school. Source: U.S. Department of Education Study 2001

Children with more involved fathers experienced fewer behavioral problems and scored higher on reading achievement. Source: Howard, K.S., Burke Lefever, J.E., Borkowski, J.G., & Whitman, T.L. (2006). Fathers’ influence in the lives of children with adolescent mothers. Journal of Family Psychology, 20, 468-476.

Children have less high risk behaviors when their fathers are involved. Even in high crime neighborhoods, 90% of children from stable 2 parent homes where the Father is involved do not become delinquents. Source: Development and Psychopathology 1993

Adolescent girls raised in a 2 parent home with involved Fathers are significantly less likely to be sexually active than girls raised without involved Fathers. Source: Journal of Marriage and Family, 1994

Father involvement is important for all ages. Even very young children who have experienced high father involvement show an increase in curiosity and in problem solving capacity. Fathers’ involvement seems to encourage children’s exploration of the world around them and confidence in their ability to solve problems. Source: Pruett, Kyle D. 2000. Fatherneed: Why Father Care is as Essential as Mother Care for Your Child. New York: Free Press.

Child Welfare Information Gateway summed it up this way; studies suggest that fathers who are involved, nurturing and playful with their infants have children with higher IQs, as well as better language and cognitive skills. “Toddlers with involved fathers go on to start school with higher levels of academic readiness. They are more patient and can handle the stresses and frustrations associated with schooling more readily than children with less involved fathers”. They go on to state, “One study of school-aged children found that children with good relationships with their fathers were less likely to experience depression, to exhibit disruptive behavior, or to lie and were more likely to exhibit pro-social behavior. This same study found that boys with involved fathers had fewer school behavior problems and that girls had stronger self-esteem. In addition, numerous studies have found that children who live with their fathers are more likely to have good physical and emotional health, to achieve academically and to avoid drugs, violence and delinquent behavior”.

If you want to have an impact on children and their future, please share the message of the importance of fathers and mothers in the lives of children. Come on Colorado, let’s champion the cause of Fatherhood!

For more information on Fatherhood Programs, father involvement and additional ways to support your family and for other great parenting tips call the Family Support Line at 303-695-7996 OR 1-866-Las-Familias (866-527-3264) for Spanish speakers. You can also e-mail stacy@FamiliesFirstColorado.org with questions or concerns. Check us out on Facebook at Families First Colorado. The Family Support Line offers parenting tips, resources and information only and does not serve as legal or mental health advice. We believe you are the paramount person to decide what is best for your family. Comments provided by non-Families First individuals are not the opinion of Families First.

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