I frequently speak to groups about the importance of father engagement to outcomes for children--physically, mentally, behaviorally, and academically. I also say that even if you didn't care a thing about how children fare, you might still be interested in all of us are impacted by how much time a father spends with his children. The following statistics are included in The Boy Crisis by Warren Farrell, PhD and John Gray, PhD. They represent some of the latest research on the important of fathers to community safety.
The Boy Crisis is available at a discount through the Good Dads website (https://www. gooddads.com). You can alshear more from Dr. Farrell in the June 7th podcast, available on the Good Dads website or through your regular podcast host.
Community Safety Outcomes
Father absence predicts the profile of both the bully and the bullied: poor self-esteem, poor grades, and poor social skills.
Boys living with dads have better enforced boundaries, leading to better impulse control and fewer discipline problems.
Around 90% of homeless and runaway youths are from fatherless homes. Children between ten and seventeen living without their biological dads were more likely to be victims of child abuse, major violence, sexual assault, and domestic violence.
Every 1% increase in fatherlessness in a neighborhood predicts a 3% increase in adolescent violence.
Among youths in prisons, 85% grew up in a fatherless home. Prisons are basically centers for dad-deprived young men.
Adolescents without their biological dads who were raised in step-families face even higher incarcerations rates than in single-mom families.
Among children raised without dads and teen mothers, it is the boys who experience “alarmingly high levels of pathology”: substance abuse and criminal activity. These problems remain far greater for boys into adulthood.
Even when controlling for socioeconomic variables, children whose only “dads” are sperm donors are:
a. twice as likely to have problems with the law before age 25;
b. more than 2.5 times as likely to struggle with substance abuse; and
c. slightly more likely to experience problems with depression and mental health.
Absence of dad contributes to violent crime as much as absence of income.
Among criminals assessed as raping out of anger and rage, 80% came from father-absent homes.
Many of the lone school shooters were dad deprived.
Dad-deprived boys search for structure and respect in gangs.
Dad deprivation increases the likelihood of teenage motherhood.
Children age 10 to 17 living with their biological parents were less likely to witness violence in their families compared to peers living in both single-parent families and step-families.
As the driver of an 18-wheel tanker hauling food grade products, John Ogren is familiar with “surge.” He might be hauling anything from liquid chocolate to grape juice to soybean oil; it doesn’t make much difference when he needs to stop his truck. At that moment, several thousand pounds of liquid in the unbaffled tank of his truck comes surging forward, shaking his cab in a dramatic way. (Check out John’s YouTube video at https://youtu.be/eq6JyrvfpDg.) According to John, you can minimize the impact of surge with some driving maneuvers, but you can’t eliminate it. It comes with driving a tanker truck.
John Ogren has been driving for Prime for three years. Although he initially started as a long-haul driver, he quickly moved to driving a designated route hauling food grade products. Initially his schedule took him home mostly on the weekends. Since he’s moved to northern Indiana, he’s home nearly every night. “I only slept in my truck two times in the last month,” John claims.
Life on the road as a long haul driver can be difficult, but life as a regional driver is not without its challenges. “I never know,” John says, “exactly when I’ll be called into work the next day. I find out my schedule the night before and I may discover I have to leave home at 4 a.m. This makes it difficult for my family to count on me to do most things any night of the week. I may think I’ll be home, but I can get held up in some way that puts me home later than I thought. When that happens, I have a short turn-around time before I get rested up and get back out on the road.”
Although he no longer drives over-the-road like he did when he first started with Prime, John does know something about trying to stay connected with his family when he can’t be there in person. This is especially important to him as the father of a 17-year-old daughter who enters her senior year in high school in August 2018. Like many dads, he wants to be there for her and her Betty, his wife of 20 years.
John knows a thing or two about “surge” in his personal life—that unexpected force threatening to knock you down when circumstances bring you to an unexpected halt. He didn’t always drive a truck. He started out in radio and spent 17 years on the air mostly in the area of sports casting. When the Great Recession hit in 2008, John knew he had to do something different to support his family, so he got his CDL and began driving a school bus. He soon figured out he could supplement his income if he drove the charter bus to school athletic events and served as the sports broadcaster for that activity. Although he enjoyed using his talents in many ways, when John became aware of an opportunity to have one job instead of three, as a driver for Prime he jumped at the chance.
Life can shake a person up at times in unexpected ways. John has found staying connected with his wife and daughter essential to staying grounded. He talks with Betty when he’s on the road and texts with his daughter Anna. He says he’s had to increase the data usage on his phone, but he sees this cost as critical to staying on top of communication with his family.
Just as you can’t prevent surge, you also can’t prevent the headaches and hassles of life on the road. However, staying in touch with what is happening and having realistic expectations make a big difference when it comes to minimizing the impact of surge and other times when “life happens.”
John Ogren is a driver for Prime Inc. in Springfield, MO.
When I recently spoke with the Care Managers at Jordan Valley Clinic about the importance of fathers to children's health, I was happy to have The Boy Crisis by Dr. Warren Farrell and Dr. John Gray to use as a resource. We're offering the book through our website and we are also featuring Dr. Warren Farrell in a "Part 2" podcast this week. If you want to know why we, at Good Dads, think this book is so important checkout material from Appendix B (pp. 403-407) below.
Why Dads Matter to Child Health and Behavioral-Health Related Outcomes
6. Dads tend to enforce boundaries. Toddlers whose dads set limits and enforced boundaries as the children explored had better social and emotional skills twelve to eighteen months later.
7. When 172,000 children’s well-being was measured, through a combination of how well they did psychologically, socially, and with their physical health, children with equally shared parenting did much better than those in sole parenting or primary-parent arrangements, and almost as well as those in an intact family.
8. Both boys and girls suffer after their parents’ divorce, but the greatest feelings of deprivation and depressive behavior were observed among boys.
9. Only 15% of children living with only their dads had problems with concentration (e.g. ADHD), versus 30% living with only their moms.
10. Five- to eleven-year-old children living with their dads are less than one-third as likely to go to the hospital compared to those living with only their moms.
11. Among black boys, hypertension is reduced by 46% when dads are significantly involved.
12. Dad deprivation increases the likelihood of teenage motherhood.
13. Among preschool children admitted as psychiatric patients in two New Orleans hospitals, 80% came from homes without fathers. Similar percentages emerge among dad-deprived children in Canada, South Africa, and Finland, at ages from preschool through high school.
14. Worldwide, the amount of time a father spends with a child is one of the strongest predictors of the child’s ability to empathize as he gets older.
15. The more contact children have with their dads growing up, the more easily they make open, receptive, and trusting contact with new people in their lives. And the more contact an infant has prior to six months of age, the greater the infant’s ability to trust.
Photos on this blog post are from a recent Good Dads @ the Zoo event. Our thanks to the 100+ dads and kids who participated. Dr. Jennifer Baker is the Founder and Director of Good Dads.
Dr. Jennifer Baker
Dr. Jennifer Baker is the Founder and Director of Good Dads. She is the wife of one, mother of two and grandmother of eight. She may be reached for question or comment at email@example.com.
Back in 2010, I married for the first time, at the age of 34. My wife already had two beautiful and amazing children of her own that she raised as a single parent. Once we got hitched, we had a little boy together. I was able to be the stay-at-home Dad, and take care of my son throughout the day. My wife worked full time, so I would get up with him during the night. I absolutely loved it.
My wife had gone through the baby thing twice, so she was pretty much an expert, while I was learning as I went. Things would have been much more stressful without her by my side. Every day was a new learning experience. What my wife could not answer, I asked my sister or mom. It never hurt to get many different opinions when it came to what that rash was, or why I couldn’t get him to stop crying or go to sleep.
When my wife was able to start working from home, it was such a blessing. Not many kids are able to stay home with one parent each day, let alone both. The only challenge was trying to keep him from banging on the glass door which separated him from the room his Momma was working in.
I was without a doubt, the pushover when it came to our youngest, but was the tougher one on the older two. Emily and I figured out our roles pretty quickly. We had the “good cop, bad cop” routine down.
I have so much respect for those who are able to be single parents. It is hard enough raising kids with two parents present, and a supporting cast of family around to help.
My baby boy is now seven. I was somehow able to navigate fatherhood, and help raise a pretty awesome little guy. As parents, there is nothing more satisfying, than knowing how great your kids are, and that it has a lot to do with ole Mom and Dad.
Herb Cody is a husband and father of three. He is a part time Uber driver and full time caregiver of his spouse, who suffered a traumatic brain injury after an auto accident November, 2015. Herb loves football and is a St Louis Cardinals fanatic. He and his family live in Nixa MO. Herb can be reached for questions or comments at firstname.lastname@example.org . You can check out Herb's own blog at, www.thecodylife.weebly.com