Why International Men’s Day Matters

The month of November is Men’s Health Awareness month and today we celebrate International Men’s Day. If you haven’t heard of this celebratory day I am not surprised. Unfortunately, the nature of the existing support system for men is dismal at best and highly feminine-centric. While this is good for women who traditionally have been the most vulnerable it is now causing a severe burden on men and their children and has become detrimental to society as a whole. Take the statistics in the following chart as an example of the current crisis.

I have set out on a mission to consolidate and refine the resources available to fathers and their children as well as provide an experience of support and encouragement that speaks directly to their masculine nature. I recognize that not all men are the same but the majority of us share the same or similar masculine traits and tendencies. Today, I would like to highlight and celebrate men and in particular fathers.

The fact of the matter is that you as a father have the greatest influence on your children. I’ll say that again so that you can take it in and take it to heart.

YOU AS A FATHER HAVE THE GREATEST IMPACT ON YOUR CHILDREN

This statement is supported by research!

Here are the results from just some of that research:

  • 82% of studies on father involvement and child well-being published since 1980 found “significant associations between positive father involvement and offspring well-being…” Paul R. Amato and Fernando Rivera, “Paternal Involvement and Children’s Behavior Problems,” Journal of Marriage and the Family 61 (1999): 375–384.
  • In an analysis of over 100 studies on parent-child relationships, it was found that having a loving and nurturing father was as important for a child’s happiness, well-being, and social and academic success as having a loving and nurturing mother. Some studies even indicated father-love was a stronger contributor to some important positive child well-being outcomes. Ronald P. Rohner and A. Veneziano, “The Importance of Father Love: History and Contemporary Evidence,” Review of General Psychology 5.4 (2001): 382–405.
  • According to child psychiatrist Kyle Pruett, a father’s more active playstyle and comparatively slower response to a toddler or infant experiencing frustration serve to promote problem-solving competencies and independence in the child. Kyle D. Pruett, Fatherneed: Why Father Care is as Essential as Mother Care for Your Child, (New York: The Free Press, 2000), p. 41–42.
  • In the words of Dr. Pruett, “positive father care is associated with more pro-social and positive moral behavior in boys and girls.” Pruett, 2000, p. 52. This is borne out by research from the University of Pennsylvania which indicates that children who feel a closeness and warmth with their father are twice as likely to enter college, 75 percent less likely to have a child in their teen years, 80 percent less likely to be incarcerated and half as likely to show various signs of depression. Frank Furstenberg and Kathleen Harris, “When and Why Fathers Matter: Impacts of Father Involvement on Children of Adolescent Mothers,” in Young Unwed Fathers: Changing Roles and Emerging Policies, R. Lerman and T. Ooms, eds. (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1993).
  • In a 26-year-long study, researchers found that the number one factor in developing empathy in children was father involvement. Fathers spending regular time alone with their children translated into children who became compassionate adults. Richard Koestner, et al., “The Family Origins of Empathic Concern: A Twenty-Six Year Longitudinal Study,” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 58 (1990): 709–717.

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I’m confident that most reading this were not aware of these research findings. Unfortunately, fathers have failed to be recognized as an important component of child-rearing or the most significant factor that determines the health and well-being of their children.

Here are some more important and eye-opening findings of fathers and children:

  • There are an estimated 72.2 million fathers in the United States
  • There are 2 million single fathers in the United States.
  • 17% of all single-parent households are single fathers
  • The breakdown of single fathers 44% divorced 33% never married 19% separated 4.2% widowed.
  • The annual income of single fathers is about $50,000.
  • 33% of all children (24.7 million) live in a home without their birth father (U.S. Census Bureau).
  • 72.2% of Americans think an absent father in the household is the most important problem facing American families (Fathering in America Poll, 1999: National Center for Fathering).
  • In 1960 only 9.1% of children were living with a single parent; by 2012 the number had risen to 20.7% of all children (source).
  • The percentage of children without a father in the United States is 43% (US Census Bureau)
  • 90% of runaway and homeless children are from fatherless homes (National Institute of Justice)
  • The percentage of a rapist with rage that came from a fatherless home 80% (National Institute of Justice)
  • 70% of minors housed in state facilities are from fatherless homes (U.S. Dept of Justice, 1988)
  • 39% of inmates housed in jail are from homes with an absent father (U.S Dept of Justice, 2002)
  • The rate of abuse and neglect in single-parent households is 27.3 children per thousand versus the rate of abuse and neglect in a two-parent household which is 15.5 children per thousand (Center of Disease and Control)
  • Children without a father are more likely to show disciplinary issues (2017 U.S. Census).
  • 71% of all high-school dropouts are from a fatherless household (National Center for Education Statistics)
  • If a child has a father in the home, they are 40% less likely to repeat grade school (National Center for Education Statistics)
  • Teenage repeat offender arsonist is 90% more likely to be from an absent father household (Psychology Today, 1985)
  • The percentage of minors in prison who grew up without a father is 85% (Texas Department of Corrections, 1992)
  • Kids with fathers who are involved in their lives are more likely to do better in school than kids who don’t have a father in the home (United States Department of Health and Human Services)
  • Preschoolers with an involved father figure develop better verbal skills (United States Department of Health and Human Services)
  • Girls are more likely to have children as a teenager if they grow up without a father (source)
  • Kids experience fewer behavior issues in school when a father figure is active in their life (United States Department of Health and Human Services)
  • Girls develop stronger math skills when growing up with a father figure (United States Department of Health and Human Services)
  • Boys get better grades in school when a father figure is active in their life (United States Department of Health and Human Services)
  • The percentage of adolescents in substance abuse treatment facilities who are from fatherless homes is 75% (National Institute of Justice)
  • 71% of teenagers who are pregnant come from a fatherless home (United States Department of Health and Human Services)
  • 63% of youth suicides happen in households with an absent father (United States Department of Health)
  • 85% of children with behavioral disorders are from homes without fathers (Center for Disease Control)
  • Teen girls without a father are 7 times more likely to become pregnant as a teenager (2017 U.S. Census).
  • Infant mortality is 2 times higher in fatherless homes than homes with a father (2017 U.S. Census).
  • Children have a higher rate of drug and alcohol abuse in homes without a father (2017 U.S. Census).
  • Children are 4 times more likely to be in poverty from a lack of a father in the home (2017 U.S. Census Bureau)
  • 90% of the dads out there really enjoy being a dad and consider it the most exciting thing in their life.
  • 85% of fathers consider being a dad the best job in the world.
  • 73% didn’t even think their life began until their first kid was born.
  • 62% of dads are hungry for more info on how they can be a better dad for their kids.
  • 52% said they are more affectionate with their kids than their dads were with them
  • When it comes to saying “Love You” 54% of dads are saying it more than their parents said it to them.
  • 47% of fathers said they are more involved in their kid’s playtime than their dad was with them
  • 46% of fathers surveyed said they’re reading to their kids more than their parents did for them.
  • When asked 40% of dads don’t believe they’re being empowered in their homes.

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So today I’d like to ask each of you to take just one moment to reflect upon the positive males that have influenced your lives. Then tell the man in your life, brother, husband, boyfriend, father, or other how much you appreciate that he is a man and that he is in your life. Trust me, just hearing it will make a significant impact. Happy International Men’s Day!

Jude helps dads navigate through their divorce and create an amazing life for themselves and their children.

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