This Father’s Day, AVDA celebrates fathers who act as role models and have a positive impact on their children’s lives.
We also celebrate mothers who have to play both roles in their child(ren)’s lives, and encourage those fathers who have not had the opportunity or taken the time to be an active part of the lives of their child(ren) to reevaluate how important they are to their children’s emotional development.
The historical roles of mother as caregiver and father as provider are things of the past. With many mothers now in the workforce full-time, fathers have the opportunity to play bigger roles in the caring for and rearing of children. We as men need to be more than just “providers” and “protectors.” We need to be engaged actively in our child’s life experiences. To not do so is to do our children a disservice and potentially harm our children’s growth and future. Yes, there are obstacles that can hamper a father’s ability to be engaged daily such as divorce, court-mandated schedules, pregnancy out of wedlock, families that don’t live together, and so on. But it is important for men to know that a child growing up with a non-engaged father can potentially experience some of the following long-lasting impacts:
- Self-Concept and Security Children can develop a feeling of abandonment when a father is not involved in their lives, which can lead to bouts of self-loathing.
- Behavioral problems Children growing up fatherless have a harder time with social adjustments. They tend to put on a “tough” persona in order to hide their fears and insecurities.
- Truancy 71 percent of high school drop outs are fatherless. Fatherless children do worse academically than children with an engaged father and are more likely to not develop the skills needed or the certifications needed to seek higher employment opportunities.
- Delinquency and youth crime 85 percent of youth in prison are fatherless and are more likely to offend and go to jail as adults.
Father non-engagement can also lead to promiscuity, teen pregnancy, substance abuse, exploitation and abuse, homelessness, and physical and mental problems. This is not to say that young people who are raised in two-parent homes will not experience these things, but the likelihood of unhealthy life choices multiplies for the child whose father is not engaged.
This Father’s Day take time and make a conscious effort to care for and engage your children consistently. Love, support, encourage, and care for them while modeling what a healthy parent-child relationship looks like. Give yourself the gift of quality time with your children!
John Reyes is the Prevention and Education Manager for AVDA (Aid to Victims of Domestic Abuse).