Fathers Are Crucial to Development

Hello. Today, I want to address a very important issue in today's society. Everyone knows that parents are critical to children’s development. Mom and dad are the ones in charge, the ones who determine the dos and don’ts. In the end, they largely influence our character. But what roles do each parent play in the development of children? Research indicates that growing up without a father is harmful. This means that we should strive to improve the lives of fatherless children because it is a leading cause to negative well being in today’s generation as well as future ones.

From Fathers’ “Maternal” Instinct Just as Reliable as Mother’s By Gamma Tarlach

One way that the absence of a father can cause harm includes the altered development of social skills. This is harmful to children because it interferes with social communication. A study carried out on mice indicated that the mice who grew up without fathers displayed many different signs of abnormal social behavior. “Our results emphasize the importance of the father during critical neurodevelopmental periods, and that the father’s absence induces impairments in social behavior that persist to adulthood” .(qtd in Gobbi, Growing Up Without a Father Can Alter the Brain) Some may combat this opinion in saying that fathers are not that essential, but the fact is, many statistics have been taken and updated over time, clearly displaying differences in fatherless children and children with fathers. For instance, 85 percent of children who display social behavior disorders are fatherless. (Center for Disease Control) Some of these disorders include aggressiveness, difficulty in maintaining friendships, and difficulties adjusting in different social situations. Not only this study but many other studies in this area display a repeated pattern of harmful social effects from not having a father. According to these studies and patterns, children without fathers are socially impaired.

Another way that growing up without a father is harmful to children is the fact that cognitive functioning is reduced. In a study, 41 heterosexual families and 42 lesbian families were given a questionnaire which made evident that though the children of the lesbian couples may have had more emotional connection with their parents, the heterosexuals’ children, the ones with fathers, were more mentally efficient based on the questionnaire. “Many studies have confirmed that a father’s involvement can have powerful effects on a child’s cognitive development.These benefits continue as children get older. By age 1, kids whose fathers are more involved have higher cognitive functioning” (Bell). Some negative in cognitivity include difficulty in grasping new concepts, decreased school performance, and a lower performance on iQ tests compared to children with fathers. Considering this information, we can conclude growing up without a father can cause the reduction of mental competence.

Without fathers, believe it or not, children’s emotional skills can be harmed. Generally, fathers do not instantly develop a bond with their newborn children to the same degree as mothers do but overtime a strong relationship is created. When fathers play with their children, the kids experience a vast variety of emotions that they begin to become familiar with: fear, happiness, frustration, and so on. “It gives them the opportunity to practice feeling and regulating these emotions in the context of a safe, trusted, and attached relationship. These skills developed in toddler hood carry through to later life” (Bell). Fatherless children statistically display their poor emotional stability. For example, 90 percent of homeless and runaway children are fatherless. Also, a tragic 63 percent of youth suicides come from fatherless homes. (U.S. D.H.H.S. Bureau of the Census) In both of these statistics, a primary cause is depression. If these children had a father, their overall emotional state would be improved, lessening the chances of them having depression and hence lessening the chances of them making these choices. Without these factors, fatherless children may have a somewhat inferior life of less emotional control compared to those with fathers.

Based on these three factors, it is evident that children’s lives can be negatively affected if they do not grow up with fathers. Negatively affecting social skills, cognitive development, and emotional well-being, a childhood without a father is harmful and the impacts can carry on for the rest of one’s life.

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