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The Importance of Fathers

This was sent to me by Dr. Thom Needham, a family therapy professor. For too long fathers have been under-appreciated, but recent studies show just how important a father really is.

In recent years the role of the father has been researched and numerous studies show that the presence of a father in the home is as important as that of the mother. For example, The Community Action Agency of Jackson Michigan reviewed the work of a number of studies that show the value of fathers:


At six weeks of age, babies can tell the difference between their mother’s and father’s voice. While a quiet and alert infant will attend more quickly to mother’s voice, an upset or fretting infant will calm more readily to the father’s voice.

At 8 weeks of age, they can anticipate the complex differences in their mother’s and father’s caretaking and handling styles. When infants were approached by their mother, they slowed and regulated their heart and respiratory rates, relaxed their shoulders, and lowered their eyelids (Ahhh…Mom). When the father approached, the infant’s heart and respiratory rates quickened, shoulder hunched up, and the eyes widened and brightened (Dad’s time!) Children often utter their word (or sound) for “father” before their “mother” word, and no one really knows why.” — Dr. Kyle Pruett, Fatherneed


In her report Experiments in Living: The Fatherless Family, Rebecca O’Neill discovered:

“Research shows that children living without their biological fathers are more likely to live in poverty, more likely to be unhappy, more likely to skip school, more likely to drop out of school at 16, more likely to have trouble getting along with other people, more likely to be abused, more likely to run away from home, more likely to become teenage parents, more likely to go to prison, more likely to smoke, more likely to drink heavily, more likely to take drugs, more likely to be unemployed, more likely to have low incomes, more likely to experience homelessness, more likely to suffer from long term emotional and psychological problems, more likely to get divorced and more likely to have children while unmarried.”


Glenn Sacks reports “Research shows that the largest single factor in predicting whether a child will graduate high school, attend college, become involved in crime or drugs, or get pregnant before age 18 is the presence (or absence) of a father in the child’s life. Studies show that this remains true even after adjustments for household income.”


Dr. Warren Farrell pointed out “When children in homes with more income are compared to the children in homes with less income, there is no difference in the rates of violent crime if both are living with fathers. Poverty is highly correlated with violent crime because poverty is highly correlated with fatherlessness. In brief, fathers stop violent crime; money doesn’t.”


Bryan, a young father, shared this experience: “We went to prenatal childbirth classes. The book was called the Joy of Motherhood – big picture of mother and baby on the cover, no father in sight. When I take Maggie to the doctor’s office, the nurse and doctor both wonder where Mom is. They think the father is not as significant. This is a partnership. I’m just as responsible as Renee is in providing whatever Maggie needs. I have Maggie when Renee is working. I’m not babysitting. I’m taking care of my daughter! I’m being a dad.”

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