Fathering facts: Some things you may not know

Posted June 19

Fathers directly impact children, women and the economy in ways that often get overlooked. Here are some fascinating truths about the ways that dads who consistently show up for their kids contribute to the world's wellbeing. (Deseret Photo)

Fathers who have a good relationship and are directly involved with their kids not only impact those children, but also women and the economy in ways that often get overlooked.

For example, when dad doesn't live at home, kids are nearly four times more likely to be poor, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

According to the new State of America's Fathers 2016 report, children with involved dads do better in school, have fewer behavioral and mental health problems and experience greater self-esteem and happiness.

The Zero to Three National Parent Survey report says kids who are close to their fathers are less likely than kids without paternal involvement to be in the juvenile justice system and they grow up to divorce less often. They complete more school, earn more money and both boys and girls have greater verbal strength.

Research says a father's involvement helps girls become more competent in math. And both boys and girls are better at solving problems and tolerating stress if their father is actively involved in their lives. They also develop greater empathy and are less prone to gender stereotyping.

In addition to children, dads who consistently show up in positive ways improve the relationships and economics of women.

Fathers help themselves, too, the State of Fathers report says. They take better care of their own health, are more connected to community and are less apt to abuse drugs and alcohol if they are a force in their children's lives.

Zero to Three adds that involved fathers enjoy longer marriages and lives, better health and take more responsibility for their relationships. They have decreased accidental death, lower suicide rates, fewer job changes and are less prone to aggression and impulsive behavior.

But did you know:

— It's possible to quantify some of the benefits of having dad as an active part of a child's life, from what it does to school performance to whether a child will become a parent as a teen or spend time in jail.

— Lots of dads claim they're more involved with their kids than their own parents were, according to Zero to Three. When they were asked if they do more, less or as much as their own parents did when they were children.

— Many events that can disrupt a child's well being and derail the future are less likely when children grow up with fathers.

— Family composition has changed since 1960, the share of kids in single-parent homes increasing while the number of kids who grow up with two married, biological parents shrinking dramatically over time.

— There is a great deal of racial diversity when it comes to which children do grow up with married parents. Experts say having two parents in a household provides a number of benefits, including more economic and emotional resources.

— It's very likely dad's not the sole breadwinner for the family. A Pew Research Center 2015 report found that 60 percent of households have working moms and dads, compared to just one-fourth in the 1960s.

According to the report by Kim Parker, director of social trends research at Pew, "The public has mixed views about these changes. Most (62 percent) say that a marriage where the husband and wife both have jobs and both take care of the house and children is preferable to one where the husband works and the wife takes care of the home and family (30 percent ). At the same time, a majority (74 percent) says having more women in the workplace makes it harder for parents to raise children."

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