Pastoral Care . . . Fathers Matter

It is nearly impossible to be engaged in current events without hearing the phrase “children at risk.” According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 24 million children in America — one out of three children — now live in a home in which the biological father is absent. However, nearly every study conducted through the social sciences confirms – fathers matter.

Following are some important facts from social science research on the effects of having a father in the home . . .

  • Children living with fathers in the home tend to fare better on cognitive achievement and behavioral outcomes.
  • Among urban fathers, those who frequently attend religious services tend to be more engaged with their children.
  • Close relationships between adolescents and their fathers are positively associated with adolescents’ psychological well-being.
  • Adolescents with more involved fathers tend to exhibit lower levels of behavioral problems.
  • Individuals whose fathers showed more involvement in their lives early on tend to attain higher levels of education.
  • Fathers’ religiosity is linked to higher quality of parent-child relationships.
  • Fathers’ engagement in their children’s activities was linked to higher academic performance.

  • Among adolescent girls, those who have a strong relationship with their fathers are less likely to report experiencing depression.
  • Close father-adolescent bonds protect against the negative influence of peer drug use.
  • Adolescent girls who have a close relationship with their fathers are more likely to delay sexual activity.
  • Adolescent males who report a close relationship with their fathers are more likely to anticipate having a stable marriage in the future.
  • Fathers of intact families spend, on average, more time with their children.
  • Children raised in intact families by happily married parents tend to be more religious in adulthood.
  • Children raised in intact families are more likely to have stable and healthy romantic relationships as adults.
  • Intact families are more likely to provide a safe home for children.

Let us pray for all fathers . . . and find ways in our parishes to encourage and support their presence in the home.

Information sourced through familyfacts.org

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