Absentee Fathers: The
Current State of Fatherhood
And What You Can Do About It
The problems associated with Absentee Fathers and the impact that they have on our children, including father and daughter relationships, have been well publicized over the last several years. It seems that we acknowledge the problem, however we are not sure what to do as a remedy.
What is more alarming is that the problem is even worse according to the latest research statistics. According to 72.2 % of the U.S. population, Absentee Fathers is the most significant family or social problem facing America.
What does this mean?
1. An estimated 24.7 million children (36.3%) live absent from their biological father.
2. There are almost 17 million children (25%) living with their single mothers.
3. 1.25 million or 32% of all births in 1995 were out-of-wedlock.
4. Today nearly 4 out of 10 first marriages end in divorce, 60% of divorcing couples have children, and over one million children each year experience the divorce of their parents.
5. One out of every six children is a stepchild.
6. There are nearly 1.9 million single fathers with children under 18.
7. 4 out of every 10 cohabitating couples have children present, and of children born to cohabitating couples, only 4 out of 10 will see their parents marry. Those who do cohabitate experience a 50% higher divorce rate.
8. 26% of absentee fathers live in a different state than their children.
9. About 40% of the children who live in absentee father households haven't seen their fathers in at least a year while 50% of children who don't live with their fathers have never stepped foot in their father's home.
10. Children who live absent from their biological fathers, on average, are more likely to be poor, experience educational, health, emotional and psychological problems, be victims of child abuse, and engage in criminal behavior than their peers who live with their married, biological mother and father.
Currently, 57.7 percent of all black children, 31.8 percent of all Hispanic children, and 20.9 percent of all white children are living in single-parent homes.
So, does a father’s influence in his children’s life really matter?
According to the research findings:
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 with an absentee father than if she grows up in a household with both biological parents.
A survey of over 20,000 parents found that when fathers are involved in their children's education including attending school meetings and volunteering at school, children were more likely to get A's, enjoy school, and participate in extracurricular activities and less likely to have repeated a grade.
A survey of 720 teenage girls found:
97% of the girls said that having parents they could talk to could help reduce teen pregnancy
93% said having loving parents reduced the risk
76% said that their fathers were very or somewhat influential on their decision to have sex
A Father's role in the family is far more important than just being the breadwinner and male authority figure. There is a consensus among the experts in child and family studies that the father’s role in the family affects his children’s development.
The Star on-line
Dr Ross Parke, an authority on fathering, studied the role that fathers play in the family and observed that men give greater freedom to their infants to explore. This helps to develop their sense of independence.
Dr Parke’s research also stressed that fathers who were actively involved in their children’s play helped promote greater self-control in children and gave them more opportunities to learn emotional cues.
Some additional facts concerning the influence of fathers in their daughter’s lives
Fathers are incredibly important in their daughters' development -- their self-esteem, how they see themselves. Daughters tend to view themselves as their fathers viewed them. They expect to be treated as their fathers treated them.
Another interesting note is that women who are successful in sports usually had an involved father and daughter relationship that encouraged and supported their athletic pursuits.
A father who is involved in his daughter’s growing up shares a special bond with her. It is agreed that good father and daughter relationships tend to make the daughter more confident and have a good self-image.
Many young girls, as they approach puberty, tend to lack self-assurance and have low self-esteem. If their fathers acknowledge them as capable and beautiful individuals, they grow up knowing that they are loved for who they are.
According to Dr Michael Gurian who wrote The Wonder of Girls, the father and daughter relationship is unlike a mother and daughter relationship.
Fathers have to make an effort to bond with their children.
Fathers who take the time to listen to their daughters find that they can communicate better with them.
This open channel of communication between fathers and daughters will lead to greater benefits in later life. The young child will grow into an articulate person with strong opinions. Looking at the many examples of great women today, we know this to be true.
Fathers are often adept in helping daughters with problem-solving skills and risk-taking.
Fathers who make a difference in the lives of their daughters can change their world.
Women who have positive relationships with their fathers because of positive fathers and daughters relationships tend to be high achievers and are able to choose life partners who will respect and value them for who they are.
A father’s love for his daughter accentuates her self-value and defines her as a worthy person.
The bottom line?
During adolescence, it may feel like your daughter wants nothing to do with you. But it’s essential that you build on the strong emotional connections you’ve built during her younger years. Positive, loving affection will strengthen the vital fathers and daughters connection as she develops into a woman.
What do dads feel they need to do to improve their fathers and daughters relationship?
In the latest fathers and daughters.org 2004 study, the following are the key results (This study is also included on our Free Articles page):
Asked to identify approaches from a list of items, fathers responded:
1. “Spend more time with her” (34%) -- especially those who have a
daughter age 18 to 25
2. “Better communicate my thoughts and feelings to her” (23%) -- especially those with daughters age 13-17
3. “Do a better job understanding her point of view” (22%)
So, the question is, can fathers and daughters really succeed at achieving improved communications and actually become friends before one of you goes insane? :) The answer is yes! The results of the above study do show that fathers do understand what is necessary to solve the problem. What they need is help with getting started on the road to better communications with their daughters.
How "Realizing the Power of Love" can help
The premise behind our book, "Realizing the Power of Love," is that the amount of freedom that your teen enjoys, is proportionate to the amount of responsibility that she displays. It is a win-win approach that is based upon mutual respect, honesty and love. Additionally, it stresses and reinforces that your daughter should come to you, without fear, to discuss things PRIOR to her acting.
Why this approach is successful is that both fathers and daughters (and mothers and sons) understand EXACTLY what they personally WILL receive by improving their relationship.
Essentially, teens will feel like they are a part of the solution, as opposed to the problem; and as they see improvement, they get excited and soon the new way of communicating becomes part of their lifestyle. You then finally get some peace of mind, and hopefully a few less gray hairs. :) The good news is that our approach is built upon skills that you already possess and use at work and other adult situations.
For a comprehensive look at the 10 steps on how fathers and daughters can develop a true friendship, read our FREE Article, "How a father became one of his teenage daughter's best friends." It is also available on the FREE Articles page.
If you agree with this approach and would like help with achieving a better relationship with your teen,
"Realizing the Power of Love" will show you how to use the communication and problem solving skills that you already possess to improve your new father and daughter relationship -- All in an easy to follow, step-by-step format that allows you and your daughter to enjoy the journey.
So, what can we do to improve the current state of fatherhood?
We need to start by improving dad’s relationship with his kids one household at a time—beginning with our own.
Click here to read about our special Book
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