What is the meaning and purpose of Father’s Day?

Father’s Day is the day that children and wives are supposed to honor fathers by giving them respect for being providers, protectors and moral/spiritual leaders. One of the best ways to motivate this duty is by studying research to find out the difference that fathers make.

Some statistics on the importance of biological fathers from Fathers.com.

Excerpt:

Some fathering advocates would say that almost every social ill faced by America’s children is related to fatherlessness. Six are noted here. As supported by the data below, children from fatherless homes are more likely to be poor, become involved in drug and alcohol abuse, drop out of school, and suffer from health and emotional problems. Boys are more likely to become involved in crime, and girls are more likely to become pregnant as teens.

For a summary, I’ll just list one fact from each of the six categories they listed.

1. Poverty

Fact:

– Children in father-absent homes are five times more likely to be poor. In 2002, 7.8% of children in married-couple families were living in poverty, compared to 38.4% of children in female-householder families.

Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Children’s Living Arrangements and Characteristics: March 2002, P20-547, Table C8. Washington, D.C.: GPO 2003.

2. Drug and Alcohol Abuse

Fact:

– The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services states, “Fatherless children are at a dramatically greater risk of drug and alcohol abuse.”

Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. National Center for Health Statistics. Survey on Child Health. Washington, DC, 1993.

3. Physical and Emotional Health

Fact:

– Unmarried mothers are less likely to obtain prenatal care and more likely to have a low birthweight baby. Researchers find that these negative effects persist even when they take into account factors, such as parental education, that often distinguish single-parent from two-parent families.

Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Public Health Service. Center for Disease Control and Prevention. National Center for Health Statistics. Report to Congress on Out-of-Wedlock Childbearing. Hyattsville, MD (Sept. 1995): 12.

– Children in single-parent families are two to three times as likely as children in two-parent families to have emotional and behavioral problems.Source: Stanton, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. National Center for Health Statistics.”National Health Interview Survey.” Hyattsville, MD, 1988.

4. Educational Achievement

Fact:

– After taking into account race, socioeconomic status, sex, age, and ability, high school students from single-parent households were 1.7 times more likely to drop out than were their corresponding counterparts living with both biological parents.Source: McNeal, Ralph B. Jr.”Extracurricular Activities and High School Dropouts.” Sociology of Education 68(1995): 62-81.

5. Crime

Fact:

– Children in single parent families are more likely to be in trouble with the law than their peers who grow up with two parents.

Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. National Center for Health Statistics. National Health Interview Survey. Hyattsville, MD, 1988.

6. Sexual Activity and Teen Pregnancy

Fact:

– A white teenage girl from an advantaged background is five times more likely to become a teen mother if she grows up in a single-mother household than if she grows up in a household with both biological parents.Source: Whitehead, Barbara Dafoe. “Facing the Challenges of Fragmented Families.” The Philanthropy Roundtable 9.1 (1995): 21.

Now take a look at this Wall Street Journal article that explains some of the ways that fathers have beneficial effects on children.

Excerpt:

As an estimated 70.1 million fathers prepare to celebrate Father’s Day in the U.S., recent research shows that their distinct style of parenting is particularly worth recognition: The way dads tend to interact has long-term benefits for kids, independent of those linked to good mothering.

[…]The benefits of involved fathering are known: improved cognitive skills, fewer behavioral problems among school-age children, less delinquency among teenage boys and fewer psychological problems in young women, based on an analysis of 16 long-term studies of father involvement, published in 2008 in the scholarly journal Acta Paediatrica.

Some of dads’ behavior may spring from their roles as family breadwinners. Although mothers play a significant role in the workforce, men are still the primary breadwinners in more than three-fourths of married-couple households.

And 48% of working fathers spend less than six hours a day with their children, compared with 31% of working mothers, according to a recent poll of 459 working adults by Workplace Options, a provider of employee-assistance and work-life programs in Raleigh, N.C.

As a result, fathers may be less familiar with their children’s nonverbal cues. Such dads tend to challenge children more to express themselves in words, helping foster the better cognitive skills researchers have found in 2-year-olds with involved fathers.

Parenting patterns may be rooted in neurological differences. Under stress, research shows, men’s brains are wired to respond to challenges physically, leaping into action. Women are more likely to withdraw or shut down.

Because fathers have had to learn to manage their own impulses to strike out or react physically to frustration, they may be better equipped than mothers to help children manage their own urges to behave badly, Dr. Pruett says.

Indeed, fathers typically aren’t as upset as mothers by kids’ tantrums or bad behavior, based on a 2009 survey of 1,615 parents by Zero to Three, a nonprofit child-development research and policy organization. Only half as many fathers as mothers say their children’s temper tantrums are one of their biggest challenges.

Fathers matter, so women need to choose men who will be good fathers. And that means having an idea of what fathers do, and knowing how to evaluate a man to see if he can do what fathers do. There’s more to fathers than handsomeness and fun!

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