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Sunday, June 19, 2011
Fathers Matter: Involved Dads Impact Children’s Lives and Civil Society
By Heritage Foundation @ 11:25 AM :: 4691 Views :: National News, Ethics

This Sunday – as with most Father’s Days - many dads will likely receive a jesting card, the latest all-in-one toolbox, and even more cheap ties. No matter how thoughtful the gift, our material offerings to fathers will likely fall short of recognizing the enormous impact dads make on the lives of their children and, subsequently, the health of civil society.

While monetary gifts and support are by no means the greatest gift a father gives his children, a married father’s presence in the home can significantly increase his family’s economic well-being. On average, married families have higher income and greater household assets than single-parent households, even when only one spouse works. The economic benefits of having a dad in the house can be profound. Parents choosing to tie the knot can decrease a child’s risk of living in poverty by about 80 percent.

Of course, a father’s role goes well beyond that of breadwinner. Dad’s involvement and interest in his children’s lives can have a significant impact on their social and psychological well-being. Children and teens who experience a good relationship with their fathers are at a decreased risk of suffering from loneliness and emotional anxiety. Likewise, adolescents who are close to their dads are less likely to exhibit anti-social behavior, use illicit drugs, or engage in sexual activity.

Even if dad isn’t the greatest at dividing fractions or diagramming sentences, a father’s interest in his child’s education can positively impact the student’s academic achievement. Individuals whose fathers demonstrated involvement with them as young children are more likely to reach higher levels of education. Married fathers can have an especially significant impact on their children’s success in school. Children from intact, married families experience a wide range of academic success from early childhood development to positive adolescent behavior and achievement.

As Americans reflect on the importance of dad this Father’s Day, individuals and policymakers should recognize the necessary role fathers play in raising the next generation of citizens and safeguarding a strong civil society. Given the tremendous personal, social, and economic costs of broken families, national leaders should seek ways to promote the importance of marriage so that more children can grow up in a stable household and experience the unique benefits of a married mother and father.


Family Fact of the Week
Marriage Matters: Teens from Intact Families Less Likely to be Sexually Active

Fathers can have a huge impact on whether teens are sexually active. Adolescents living with a married mom and dad are especially less likely to have engaged in recent sexual activity compared to teens from single-parent or step-parent households.

Click here for the full chart

Teens from
                        Intact Families Less Likely to be Sexual Active
More from Heritage
Married Fathers: America’s Greatest Weapon Against Child Poverty
Robert Rector

Watch this short video on how involved dads can make a lifetime impact on their children.

Spotlight on Civil Society: Upcoming Film Courageous Highlights Importance of Fathers

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