I’ve had a few conversations about this in the past couple of weeks, so I thought it would be wise to share some thoughts with you on the role of men/fathers at home and church. I hope this will be a helpful resource for you. I also hope that you will engage in conversation with us by sharing your thoughts and concerns.
Moms get a whole lot of attention when it comes to research and our culture in general. Moms are the ones to get the blame when things go south at home, but also the praise when things work out well. Now I’m not suggesting now that father involvement with kids is more important than mother involvement. But I’d risk saying (even though most of you reading this are moms) that father involvement is just as important as mother involvement.
To start this off, I’d like to share some research findings with you from the Father Involvement Research Alliance:
– School aged children of involved fathers are also better academic achievers. They are more likely to get A’s, have better quantitative and verbal skills, have higher grade point averages, get better achievement test scores, receive superior grades, perform a year above their expected age level on academic tests, obtain higher scores on reading achievement, or learn more and perform better in school. Children of involved fathers are also more likely to live in cognitively stimulating homes. A father’s academic support was positively related to adolescent boys’ academic motivation to try hard in school, feel their grades were important, and to place a high value on education. Father contact was also associated with better socioemotional and academic functioning in school related areas for children with single or married adolescent mothers.
– Young adults who had nurturing and available fathers while growing up are more likely to score high on measures of self acceptance and personal and social adjustment, see themselves as dependable, trusting, practical, and friendly, be more likely to succeed in their work, and be mentally healthy. The variable that is most consistently associated with positive life outcomes for children is the quality of the father child relationship. Children are better off when their relationship with their father is secure, supportive, reciprocal, sensitive, close, nurturing, and warm.
– Children who have involved fathers are more likely to grow up to be tolerant and understanding, be well socialized and successful adults, have supportive social networks consisting of long-term close friendships, and adjust well to college both personally and socially. In addition, children who felt close to their involved fathers are also more likely to have long term, successful marriages, be satisfied with their romantic partners in midlife, have more successful intimate relationships, and be less likely to divorce. Likewise, young adults whose fathers were more sensitive in their early play interactions had more secure, healthy partnership representations of their current romantic relationship.
– Father involvement protects children from engaging in delinquent behaviour, and is associated with less substance abuse among adolescents, less delinquency, less drug use, truancy, and stealing, and less drinking. For example, father involvement when the youth was in 10th grade was associated with less problem behavior (drug use, delinquency, violent behavior) the next year, especially if the father provided school support.
I hope you realize I’m not considering research surrounding “fatherless” children. I did this on purpose so that those of you out there who have a traditional household (mom + dad + kids all living together) don’t assume that there’s nothing to be done. Researchers of Columbia University found that children living in two-parent households with a poor relationship with their father are 68% more likely to smoke, drink or use drugs compared to all teens in two-parent households.
Our conversation here is about father (biological and non-biological) involvement in kids’ lives and the difference it makes.
I’ll leave you with this information for now. Think about it, pay about it, post a comment below. I’ll be back in a couple of days with part 2 where we will talk about scripture and what it says about father involvement.
I hope this resource is helpful to you and your family. As a ministry to youth, one of our most important jobs is to partner with you so that by God’s grace, you and us might have success in raising strong, mature Christian men and women.
Youth Ministry Team