More and more women are deciding to raise their children alone, without the help of the biological father. This is obviously based on a number of reasons.
South Africa has one of the lowest marriage rates in Africa, and one of the highest divorce rates in the world. Figures from 1998 showed that 42 percent of the country’s children lived only with their moms.
According to the HSRC, over 50% of fathers are either deceased or absent from their children’s homes.
While in some cases, contact with one’s biological father is discouraged, and may cause more damage than good, there are cases where failed relations between ex lovers come in between the relationship children have with their dads, as moms keep the children away from their fathers.
However, according to about 100 studies published between 1949 and 2001, a fathers love is just as important to a child’s development as a mothers – and sometimes even more so.
Researchers have established that love or rejection of mothers and fathers equally affects children’s behaviour, self-esteem, emotional stability and mental health. “But in some cases, the withdrawal of a fathers love seems to play a bigger role in kids’ problems with personality and psychological adjustment, delinquency, and substance abuse,” says study co-author Ronald P. Rohner, Ph.D., director of the Center for the Study of Parental Acceptance and Rejection at the University of Connecticut in Storrs.
For some children, the presence of a father’s love may do more to boost children’s sense of well-being and improve their emotional and physical health.
Children need fathers who love and care for them on a constant basis. New research shows that fathers who are actively involved in raising their children, make a positive and lasting difference in their lives.
Important Reasons Why Children Need Involved Fathers
- They feel loved
Feeling loved involves more than just hearing the words “I love you.” Fathers who love their children show their love by spending much needed quality time with them. Children who feel loved are more likely to develop a strong emotional bond with their father and a healthy self-esteem.
- Enhanced self-esteem
Children who have a high self-esteem are generally happier and more confident than children who have a low self-esteem. Involved fathers promote this by making sure that their children know that they are valued.
- Increases chances for academic success
Children whose fathers are actively involved in their lives fair better academically, than their fatherless counterparts. According to researchers this remains the case well into adulthood.
- Lowers chances for early sexual activity
Children whose dads are involved in their lives are less likely to engage in early sexual activity, which ultimately means they are less likely to get pregnant while young or contract sexually transmitted diseases.
- Provides guidance and discipline
Children need guidance and discipline from early on. Involved fathers are able to set healthy limits which then help guide their children.
- More Financial resources
Research shows that families with an active father are “better off” financially. These children have access to food, shelter, medical care and schooling, which is very important to child development.
- Positive male role model
Children whether male or female need a positive male and female role model. Involved fathers help promote positive behaviour by setting a good example for their children.
- Emotional support
All children need emotional support. This is someone they know they can count on to listen and support them no matter what. Involved fathers tend to raise children who are in-tune with other people’s needs, and not just their own.
- Lowers your child’s chances for school failure
Children whose dads are actively involved in their lives are less likely to drop out of school, when compared to those with uninvolved dads.
- An estimated nine million children grow up in fatherless homes, 63% of youth suicides occur from fatherless homes and more than a third of the country’s prisoners are between the ages of 18 and 25.
- Nearly 50 000 school girls fell pregnant in 2007 a 151% increase since 2003.
“Research supports the facts that children from fatherless homes are more likely to be poor, become involved in drug and alcohol abuse, drop out of school, and suffer from health and emotional problems. Boys are more likely to be involved in crime, and girls are more likely to become pregnant as teens. The cost of fatherlessness is high. Unfortunately even when a father is physically present in a home, he may be emotionally absent,” concludes fathers.co.za.