The Powerful Father

Probably the most frustrating part of my divorce was being told I was a bad father, and I should have as little access to my kids as possible.

At the time, and even now today, it seems like a bid for power and more money.

In fact, the force a father has on his kids is so powerful that it shapes and impacts every aspect of the rest of their lives. The role of a biological father can have a profound effect on his kids even in short amounts of time.

Quality over quantity.

You are more powerful than you realize. Don’t let anyone diminish your importance.

What follows is a list of statistics with citations on why a father’s role is indispensable.

Graduation Rates: Children with actively involved fathers are 98% more likely to graduate from high school. (Source: McBride, B. A., Schoppe, S. J., & Rane, T. R. (2002). Child characteristics, parenting stress, and parental involvement: Fathers versus mothers. Journal of Marriage and Family, 64(4), 998-1011.)

Incarceration Rates: A study by Harper and McLanahan found that boys with absent fathers are up to five times more likely to be incarcerated during their lives compared to those with involved fathers. (Source: Harper, C. C., & McLanahan, S. S. (2004). Father absence and youth incarceration. Journal of Research on Adolescence, 14(3), 369-397.)

Teenage Pregnancy: Daughters of involved fathers are 75% less likely to become pregnant as teenagers. (Source: Ellis, B. J., & Garber, J. (2000). Psychosocial antecedents of variation in girls’ pubertal timing: Maternal depression, stepfather presence, and marital and family stress. Child Development, 71(2), 485-501.)

Substance Use: Adolescents with involved fathers are 42% less likely to use drugs and alcohol. (Source: Bronte-Tinkew, J., Moore, K. A., & Carrano, J. (2006). The father-child relationship, parenting styles, and adolescent risk behaviors in intact families. Journal of Family Issues, 27(6), 850-881.)

Obesity Rates: Children with present fathers are 33% less likely to be obese. (Source: Freeman, E., Fletcher, R., Collins, C. E., Morgan, P. J., Burrows, T., & Callister, R. (2012). Preventing and treating childhood obesity: Time to target fathers. International Journal of Obesity, 36(1), 12-15.)

Mental Health: Children with involved fathers are 55% more likely to enjoy good mental health and well-being. (Source: Flouri, E. (2005). Fathering and child outcomes. John Wiley & Sons.)

Social Skills: Children with engaged fathers are 45% more likely to develop strong social skills. (Source: Sarkadi, A., Kristiansson, R., Oberklaid, F., & Bremberg, S. (2008). Fathers’ involvement and children’s developmental outcomes: A systematic review of longitudinal studies. Acta Paediatrica, 97(2), 153-158.)

Risky Sexual Behaviors: Teens with involved fathers are 50% less likely to engage in risky sexual behaviors. (Source: Guilamo-Ramos, V., Jaccard, J., Dittus, P., & Collins, S. (2008). Parental expertise, trustworthiness, and accessibility: Parent-adolescent communication and adolescent risk behavior. Journal of Marriage and Family, 70(5), 1229-1246.)

Juvenile Delinquency: Children with absent fathers increases the risk of juvenile delinquency by 17%. (Source: Demuth, S., & Brown, S. L. (2004). Family structure, family processes, and adolescent delinquency: The significance of parental absence versus parental gender. Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency, 41(1), 58-81.)

Emotional Disorders: Children with involved fathers are 40% less likely to suffer from anxiety and depression. (Source: Lamb, M. E. (2010). The role of the father in child development. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.)

Academic Curiosity: Children with actively involved fathers are 70% more likely to graduate from college. Engaged fatherhood is associated with higher levels of curiosity, critical thinking, and problem-solving skills in children. (Source: Nord, C. W., Brimhall, D., & West, J. (1997). Fathers’ involvement in their children’s schools. Washington, DC: National Center for Education Statistics.)

Educational Outcomes: Children with involved fathers are 39% more likely to earn mostly A’s in school, 45% less likely to repeat a grade, and 60% less likely to be suspended or expelled from school. (Source: National Fatherhood Initiative, “Father Facts 7.”)

Economic Stability: Young adults who had involved fathers are 43% more likely to attain higher levels of economic self-sufficiency and stability. (Source: National Fatherhood Initiative, “The Effects of Father Involvement: An Updated Research Summary of the Evidence.”)

Life Satisfaction: A study in the “Journal of Family Psychology” found that higher levels of father involvement in a child’s life are associated with higher levels of satisfaction, happiness, and overall life satisfaction in adulthood. (Source: Amato, P. R., & Sobolewski, J. M. (2001). The effects of divorce and marital discord on adult children’s psychological well-being. American Sociological Review, 66(6), 900-921.)