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The Importance Of Fathers In Children’s Lives

The Importance Of Fathers In Children’s Lives

No one wants to talk about it. But its time. We must discuss and find solutions to the epidemic of missing fathers in the lives of children in America. The study of the importance of fathers in children’s lives is crucial to creating a better society. The statistics on fathers in America will give us insight into the  importance of father involvement in the lives of their children.

The Statistics On Fathers in America

In 2005, at a meeting of the Society for Research in Child Development, there are hundreds of scientists unfolding research on children, families, and parenting, and only a dozen or so dealing with fathers. Nearly all the authors of these studies began their talks by stating how little research on fathers had been done.

Kyle D. Pruett, a psychiatrist at Yale who has studied fathers since the 1980s, says that “even when fathers are included in research on such important issues as attention deficit disorder, autism, childhood depression, and teen suicide, the researchers usually fail to consider the father might be part of the solution to the problem.” When we take the time to look for the father’s impact, we will always find it.

Not looking at the impact of fathers and children on one another has given the entire field and the bestselling parenting books it produces a biased and disturbing misleading view of child development, a view with overwhelming blind spots.  The books worth mentioning include those by Dr. Spock, T. Berry Brazelton, and Penelope Leach, among others.

Pruett’s review shows researchers have begun to “nod more often in the father’s direction,” but “in their souls they couldn’t get past the old enticement of the sacred mother infant bond.”  The dismissal of fathers could not have been clearer. The mark of progress was that most researchers were beginning to recognize the problem and point it out.  This disregard of fathers propagates images that are inaccurate, dismissive, and unkind.

History points to cartoons beginning in the 1920s, which portrayed fathers as a clumsy fool who “did not know how to control or discipline his children. He could not cook a meal or put his children to bed without tripping over his shoelaces.”

This was only the beginning: fathers were charged with more serious offenses than forgetting the kid’s homework or burning the chicken. Some social critics even blamed fathers for undermining national security during World War II. They argued that the failure of many young recruits to pass their physicals was a problem created by concerned mothers and absent fathers, who had made sons too soft, weak, and cowardly to fight.

The exceptions to these stereo types were: The Cosby Show  and Father Knows Best on television. We see the dismissal of fathers in our sports and commercials. Many fathers are now quicker to challenge such stereotypes, and it’s likely that more advertisers will find other ways to market their products.  Even though the number of studies on fathers still lags far behind those on mothers, the amount of research on fathers is rapidly growing.

It is important to do fatherhood research. The evolution of fathers can be found by looking at what we know about the family life of our prehistoric ancestors as a way to get a better grip on the role of fathers in our present and future. Learning how our individual family’s backgrounds have prepared men to be fathers.  The discussion that needs to be had is the tug-of-war between the genes of mothers and fathers that begin at conception.

We must explore fatherhood as children grow the changes that occur in fathers during pregnancy, what we know about fathers after birth.  A detour into commitment in humans and its impact for fathers and mothers should be explored.  We need to discuss how fathers and infants are far more connected than once thought, the hormonal changes men undergo in response to the stages of their children’s lives, and looking at what fathers do.

It’s difficult not to be unbiased in addressing questions about the value of fathers.  Our failure to acknowledge fathers importance is now reflected in the shape of the American family regardless to your ethnicity. Fathers have disappeared. Fewer American fathers are participating in the lives of their children now than at any time since the United States began keeping records.

However, psychologists, biologists, sociologists, and neuroscience have begun to generate solid scientific data on why fathers behave the way they do and why it matters to children. They are investigating the father’s behavior through countless ways like how fathers influence their children, and the factors that shape a father’s involvement in his family.

Along the way, they’ve rejected any number of stereotypes that can explain what a father does. Gone are the father as moral guardian, symbol of masculinity for his sons, and harsh disciplinarians.  These are all fatherly images that were widely accepted and promoted in generations past. “Researchers are now showing that fathers play many roles in their families, including those of companions, care providers, spouses, protectors, models, moral guides, teachers and breadwinners,” according to one recent study.

The discovery of the father is one of the most important developments in the study of children and families. The findings appear in scholarly journals mostly unfamiliar to the public and have escaped extensive thoughtfulness. I’ve been spending time looking over the new science on fatherhood and I’ve found it extremely useful in thinking about my own behavior as a mother and my husband’s behavior as a father with our children.  And I’m sure it would be helpful to others to do the same.

Too often, public and political discussions on fatherhood, what it means to be a father, and what fathers contribute to their children decentralize into angry rants and arguments.  Aggressively supporting the fathers isn’t necessary, which are views based on politics and not research. Father researcher Ross D. Parke and his collaborator, Armin A. Brott, “While politicians change their views to suit the prevailing electoral climate, academic researchers over the past two decades have been nearly unanimous in their findings: fathers matter. And they matter a lot.” They are important in the lives of their children.

What does this mean for nontraditional family’s; divorced parents, single parents, gay parents, or parents who’ve adopted their children?

While many believe they don’t matter, it is important to note that while fathers do matter, others can help to fill that role, and although I’m not intentionally trying to be critical of a woman’s choice to have a father or father like figure in her children’s life the truth of the matter is in order for us to thrive as a society we must include the importance of father’s in their children lives.  Every father who chooses to be a part of their children lives should receive the same consideration as mothers to be respected and honored.

We’ve all made our share of mistakes as a parent. My position is not to criticize anyone else. I respect others choices and trust that with very few exceptions, we all try to do what’s best for our kids. We’re all in this together, and the new findings on fatherhood should be useful to families of all kinds.

We live in a society still driven by racial and economic differences that makes it far easier for some to succeed than for others. But we also know that an African American child raised by a single parent, who barely knew his father, can grow up to be president.

The evidence shows that fathers make important and unique contributions to their children in many ways others don’t and can’t not even their mother’s. It convincingly does not show that the children in families without fathers in the home are doomed to failure or anything close to that.

Barak Obama said in his first campaign for the presidency “We need to help all the mothers out there who are raising these kids by themselves; the mothers who drop them off at school, go to work, pick them up in the afternoon, work another shift, get or make dinner, make lunches, pay the bills, fix the house, and all the other things it takes both parents to do,”

“So many of these women are doing a heroic job, but they need support. They need another parent. Their children need another parent. That’s what keeps their foundation strong. It’s what keeps the foundation of our country strong.”

We often say nothing is more important to us than our children. But our personal and societal priorities don’t always seem in accord with that professed belief. This article is about fathers but it is also about children. If we can imagine a future in which all children have the opportunity to live rewarding lives, then we would be foolish not to consider the role of fathers more carefully. Doing so will strengthen the family, will help mothers, will promote equality and will create a brighter future for our children. Nothing is more important than the importance of fathers in children’s lives.

What are your thoughts about the father’s role in the family? Do you believe the importance of father involvement is important in their children lives? State them in the comments section below. Also, if you are interested in learning more about the statistics on fathers in america, buy this book “Do Fathers Matter?” by Paul Raeburn whom I gathered inspiration to write this article.

Stay tuned as we continue to explore our connection as parents, families, a community and a nation. Strong families build strong nations!

I invite you to follow me on Jamie Clay aka Ladi Soul on Facebook. Click on the link and LIKE the page there. I also invite you to follow me on The Online Entrepreneur on Facebook. Click on the link and LIKE the page there too. I have an R&B Music Blog that I would like to invite you to follow me on Soulful Chicago on Facebook. Click on the link and LIKE the page there too.

And one more I would like to invite you to follow me on my husband and I parenting/family blog page at Everybodies-Dad.com on Facebook. Click on the link and LIKE the page there too. For more info on ME, click HERE. Follow Jamie Clay & Soulful Chicago on Twitter: @iamjamieclay @soulfulchiblog.

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Are Fathers Necessary? The Science Behind The Disregarded Parent

Are Fathers Necessary?

The Science Behind The Disregarded Parent.

 

 

Society has decided over the last few decades that fathers are not necessary, that they are unimportant. Everyone ought to know that the society is wrong. Fathers are not unimportant. Fathers are necessary. Husbands are necessary.

We are all familiar with what Mothers do for their children, but what is it exactly that the fathers do for their children? How much do Fathers matter? And what in turn do children do for their Fathers? Here we will answer are fathers necessary. What is the science behind fathers?

In the 1970s, most psychologists and other “experts” had an informal answer to that question with regard to infants; fathers were thought to have little or no role to play.  And this answer has promoted an agenda to disregard fathers in our current culture.

In 1976, Michael E. Lamb,  a development psychologist and creator in research on fathers, wrote that emphasis on mothers in infants development was so one sided that it seemed as if “the father is an almost irrelevant entity in the infants social world.”

For decades, psychologist had “assumed that the mother-infant relationship was unique and more important than any coexistent, or succeeding, relationships.”  The attachment to this nurturing and protective adult was supposed to give the infant a developmental advantage even Darwin had endorsed his exclusive focus on the mother.

There wasn’t much evidence for the irrelevancy of fathers. But there wasn’t a lot of data to suggest they were relevant either. Few had asked the question and nobody knew the answer. The irrelevancy of fathers had become an article of faith among researchers.  So, why would any of  them question something they knew to be true?

Lamb was among the first to start challenging this theory. Studies were beginning to appear that suggested that the bond between mothers and infants wasn’t nearly as strong as others had expected, and that the amount of time mothers and infants spent together wasn’t a good predictor of the quality of their relationship.

Finally, a few researchers who had risked looking elsewhere were finding that “the interaction that at least some infants have with their fathers is enjoyable and marked by highly positive emotions on both sides.” This insight was beginning to appear in professional scholarly journals.

You have to wonder if those who do all these researches even have children at all.  It is around this time that Lamb and other researchers began to distinguish the important role of fathers in child’s play. It’s now widely understood that fathers are more likely to engage very young children in what’s usually called “rough –and-tumble play.”  That was one of the first important insights about father’s relationships with infants and toddlers, and it came out of Lamb’s research.

Fathers in some of those early studies were more likely than mothers to encourage infants to explore, and to challenge them. Mothers were more likely to play with toys, with their preschool age children, while fathers wrestled around with them on the floor.  A study by Lamb found that infants actually preferred to be held by their fathers because fathers were likely to play with them, while mothers were likely to feed them or change their diapers.

According to the research, two-year olds who wanted to play pursued their fathers more than their mothers. Playing, wrestling, and otherwise challenging children is the trademark of the involvement of fathers with their children at all ages. At the same time, researchers started to recognize that infants have relationships not only with fathers but with other relatives and friends, which made sense. Lamb cites an observation by anthropologist Margaret Mead  in 1962 that attachments to others, in addition to mothers, have “clear survival value, since the child then has insurance against loss of a parent.”

Many researches argued that fathers often had a negative reaction to their wives pregnancies and had limited contact with their newborns. But studies in the mid-1970s were beginning to determine that fathers were excited about becoming parents just as much as mothers if not more than and were very interested in spending time with their newborns.  A finding that should have been evident, one would think, to any researcher who got out of his office and strolled through a hospital maternity ward you will see father’s involvement all around the time of a child’s birth.

Psychologists and other social scientists, who should have been leading the charge to change dominant views of fatherhood, instead added to the devaluing of fathers. Many researchers believed that because mothers were the primary caretakers, they were far more important than fathers. That fundamental view put fathers in a rough spot.

Fathers could hardly assert their importance when they were repeatedly being told they were irrelevant except as the providers of the family income.

The archives show that fathers were and are widely ignored in scientific studies. You can see for yourself at PubMed.  When we thought about the roles of a father, we relied on idea, instincts, prejudice and misinformation rather than real understanding. There is a clear inequality between studies of mothers   and fathers.

 

 

 

In 2005, Vicky Phares a psychologist at the University of South Florida reviewed 514 studies of clinical child and adolescent psychology from the leading psychological journals.  Nearly, half of them excluded fathers. Some involved both parents, but only 11 percent focused solely on fathers.

As I researched farther, in 2006, Myrna Weissman, a notable epidemiologist and researcher at Columbia University, published  a study seeking to find out whether treating depressed mothers might reduce the known increased risk of anxiety and depression in their children.

Treating the mothers did improve the mental health of the children, but the study didn’t include any data on the fathers.  Could the involvement of and understanding of fathers helped the children even more? Could cold or unconcerned fathers have made things worse?

Another researcher who was studying collaborations between parents and their newborns kept a log of a mothers behavior and activity with her infant to her father, the researcher wrote “Baby given to father” and closed  her notebook; the experiment was over. There is a lot to be considered when it comes to our children and us as adult human beings. Fathers matter more than we would like to admit.

Growing up I knew fathers were important. I had a grandfather and a step-father as well as uncles who had children. Although, my dad wasn’t present in the beginning, my desire to know and have a relationship with my dad was something I longed for regardless to my mothers best efforts to give me everything she thought I needed.

I really didn’t know myself until I got to know my dad. My biological father. Indeed, I’m grateful for the men who were apart of my upbringing. But it wasn’t enough because I was missing something that I knew was important for me to know. I understand that this is not the same for everyone. However, my father was necessary in my life even till this day.

Are fathers necessary? Absolutely, and there is science behind the disregarded parent that proves that fathers do matter. What are your thoughts? Leave them in the comments forum below.

I invite you to follow me on Jamie Clay aka Ladi Soul on Facebook. Click on the link and LIKE the page there. I also invite you to follow me on The Online Entrepreneur on Facebook. Click on the link and LIKE the page there too. I have an R&B Music Blog that I would like to invite you to follow me on Soulful Chicago on Facebook. Click on the link and LIKE the page there too.

And one more I would like to invite you to follow me on my husband and I parenting/family blog page at Everybodies-Dad.com on Facebook. Click on the link and LIKE the page there too. For more info on ME, click HERE. Follow Jamie Clay & Soulful Chicago on Twitter: @iamjamieclay @soulfulchiblog.

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Fathers Matter Too! Do Fathers Really Matter?

Fathers Matter Too! 

Do Fathers Really Matter?

I became interested in fatherhood in the most unusual way: I have children, I grew up without my biological father present, both of my parents come from blended families, both of my parents have children by multiple persons and I’m married to a man with multiple children by multiple women who has been involved and not involved with some of his children lives.

Father’s in my opinion are equally as important as mothers.  I believe this because God made families. He made mothers and fathers. And they both are relevant in their children’s lives. If you live on planet Earth, all of mankind has been reproduced when a man and a woman, male and female have sexual intercourse. The man’s sperm is needed in order to produce a child with the woman’s egg located in her womb. Well that is the natural way it is done.

If you live in America often times the families that make this great nation aren’t built with the traditional styled family, where the biological parents are married together in the same house with their children. Not just America, but Families come in many shapes, forms, sizes! But specifically in American culture we have dismissed Fathers in general in regard to their importance in children’s lives.

We’ve grown accustomed to women having children without fathers. But what bothers me the most is the hurtful truth that many women have these men babies and use them as a bait to get the kind of response and  attention (usually negative) they really desire from the fathers, as an act of revenge for the “hurt or pain” they feel the man may have put them through for simply having the audacity to move on with another woman or by making her his wife. which has nothing to do with the child.

Therefore, they dismiss the fathers from the children’s lives because they are not pleased with who that father is although they are the ones who chose that same man when they decided to have their children. Unless the woman was raped. And regarding this matter I’m not referring to those instances.

However, those kinds of mothers I do not understand. (But to each its own) If there is a father that is willing to parent with you (no romance included) I have no idea why a woman would not allow a father to do what he is supposed to do, even if he has no clue how to be a father.  Because as quite as its kept a woman don’t know crap about motherhood until their in it. So, why do mothers tend to treat fathers like we are the only ones who know what is best when it comes to our children which are their children too?

The truth is no one really feels prepared for parenting. Parenting is a hit-and-miss responsibility for all parents if we would be honest.  We often times find ourselves making errors, sometimes the same errors we’ve made already. We function primarily on instinct, assertive that love and attention would sustain the children.

We’ve believed that the most important things to do while parenting is to tell kids you love them and spend as much time as possible with them.   Any parent who has adult children can testify that this is good but it is not good enough. Many parents especially Mothers think they have this figured out and are only “prideful” to point out our mistakes along the way as we begin to raise our own families.

Many of us have ideas about how our fathers might have helped or hurt us growing up, but no one can be sure if they are right. That’s one of the things I hope to correct in this article. I’m professionally and personally interested in what we know to be true, not what we think we know. I have taken the time to expose stereotypes and half-truths with what scientist have discovered to be true.

Things that need to be exposed with truth are questions like: Is infant bonding limited to mothers? Do fathers contribute to their kid’s language development? How do fathers affect children’s performance in school? Do they have any influence over their teenage children? How important is the fathers presence in the child life overall? Do he really matter when it comes to the child and what is best for them?

What we think we know about these things is based on fallacies. It’s high time we get rid of these traditions and take a good look at what researchers are learning about fathers and their children and families. The short answer is that fathers are immeasurably important in their children’s lives, in ways that both scholars and parenting experts have disregarded.

For a long time, until women began entering the labor force in greater numbers in the 1960s and 1970s, fathers had a valuable-and often disregarded-role to play in the family. The fathers brought home the paychecks that housed and fed their families and provided a little extra for sports or music lessons.

For people of African decent, fathers being absent was made the norm for this generation of people because of the slave trade in America, which forced the father’s to be separated from their families with the acts such as the forced reproduction through rape of these descendants ancestors. As time went on we still see the horrible affects of this atrocious act still reproducing in the lives of these descendants families today. Fathers invaluable disregarded role has become a cultural norm in the American culture.

Some people feel bringing home the paycheck might not seem like the most nurturing thing a parent can do. But it was extremely important: nothing is more demoralizing to the lives of children than poverty. Keeping children fed, housed, and out of poverty is major.

But is that it? What else could fathers add to their children lives? We are all familiar with what Mothers do for their children, but what is it exactly that the fathers do for their children? How much do Fathers really matter? And what in turn do children do for their Fathers? Leave your comments in the forum below. I would love to hear your thoughts!

The bottom line is fathers matter too!

Because it is so much to discussed,  this topic will be broken down into multiple blog post. I encourage you to stay tuned and share the articles regarding this topic and lets change the way we think about fathers and our relationships with them.

To learn more about fatherhood statistics and the research that has been done to confirm the unique importance of fathers, purchase the book by Paul Raeburn “Do Fathers Matter? What Science Is Telling Us About the Parent We’ve Overlooked.”

I invite you to follow me on Jamie Clay aka Ladi Soul on Facebook. Click on the link and LIKE the page there. I also invite you to follow me on The Online Entrepreneur on Facebook. Click on the link and LIKE the page there too. I have an R&B Music Blog that I would like to invite you to follow me on Soulful Chicago on Facebook. Click on the link and LIKE the page there too.

And one more I would like to invite you to follow me on my husband and I parenting/family blog page at Everybodies-Dad.com on Facebook. Click on the link and LIKE the page there too. For more info on ME, click HERE. Follow Jamie Clay & Soulful Chicago on Twitter: @iamjamieclay @soulfulchiblog.