The impact of married fathers on their children

Today is Fathers Day. But the honor goes not to those whose sex act managed to create a child. The honor goes to those who stay to raise that child. In that regard, today is also a good day to chastise those males who are not intimately and regularly involved with their children.

Around 80% of single-parent households are led by the mother. Single-parent households comprise around 9% of all U.S. households. According to the U.S. Bureau of the Census:

1. Female-headed single parent families now comprise half of all families in poverty.

2. In 2008, the percentage of children born out of wedlock exceeded 40%, with that percentage doubling in the last 30 years.

3. The out of wedlock births are not random. Over 70% of African-American children are born out of wedlock, and over 50% of Hispanic children are born out of wedlock. The comparable statistic for white non-Hispanics is under 30%.

Unfortunately, the challenges caused by this poverty continue to the next generation. Children of unmarried mothers are more likely to perform poorly in school, go to prison, use drugs, continue to be poor as adults, and ultimately continue the cycle by having their own children out of wedlock.

Another way of describing a single mother household is as a father-absent household. Sure, it takes both part of the couple live together in peace. But how many males in the father-absent household can say that they did everything they could to create a permanent and loving home for their child(ren). May I suggest that the vast majority of the men involved took the much-easier path of moving on, leaving the day-to-day job of raising their child(ren) to the mother. Maybe child support is being paid (but often is not). However, the task of being a father that we would honor on this day requires a lot more than a checkbook.

So, to all the fathers who have not been there to raise your children, perhaps you can use this Fathers Day as a resolution to do better. Your involvement really does matter. And, for those men whose future conduct will put them in a position of possibly fathering a child outside of a loving couple-based relationship, think more about the long-term consequences to the child that might result.

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