Effect of having vs. not having a parental figure

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12/11/2011
By: Diana Lopez
PY210 | Effect of Having vs. Not Having an Active Father Figure: Their Role in Children’s Development |

Effect of Having vs. Not Having an Active Father Figure:
Their Role in Children’s Development

Statistics show that on average children who are raised apart from their biological fathers are worse off than children raised by both parents. That is, if thereis no father figure present at all. However, when there is another person who takes on the father figure in a positive manner to provide protection, guidance, friendship and to be a role model, children are able to have a healthy development and not form part of the statistics of children without fathers. Active father figures have a key role to play in reducing behavior and psychological problemsin young men and women, (Blackwell Publishing 2008).
There was a 20-year review which focused on all the way from 17 infants to 8,441 individuals ranging from premature babies to 33 year-olds with ongoing research from the USA and UK which showed that overall, “children reap positive benefits if they have an active regular engagement with a father figure.” Regular positive contact reducescriminal behavior among children in low-income families and enhances cognitive skills such as intelligence, reasoning and language development, (Blackwell Publishing, 2008).
“A father, a mother and their children form the best family structure for building the future,” of course if those parental roles have a positive interaction with the children, (Tryfiates, 2). Nearly 75 percent of Americanchildren who live without a father in their home will experience poverty before they turn 11 years old. Violent criminals are usually male, and most of them grow without fathers. They account for 60 percent of rapists in the country, 72 percent of adolescent murderers and 70 percent long-term prison inmates, (Tryfiates, 4). When divorce is the cause of leaving a child without a parent, statisticsexhibit 70 percent of those fathers no longer active in their children’s lives within two years of divorce.
Father involvement has enormous implications for their children in terms of social, emotional, physical and cognitive development—however; it is not the only factor that will have an impact in the children’s development because there are numerous environmental influences that will have an effect.Cognitive Development
A research summary by Sarah Allen, PhD, and Kerry Daly, PhD, with the Father Involvement Alliance explains that infants of highly involved fathers are more cognitively competent at 6 months and score higher on the Bayley Scales of Infant Development, measured by amount of interaction. By age one they continue to have a higher cognitive functioning, are better at problemsolving as toddlers, and by age three demonstrated to have higher IQ’s, (Allen & Daly, 2007).
Fathers’ talk with children requires children to assume a more communicative responsibility in the interaction and encourages them to talk more, use more diverse vocabulary and produce longer utterances because fathers tend to ask more wh- questions such as what, where, when, etc. Additionally, thisresearch summary denotes that school aged children are better academic achievers and they tend to get more A’s. Children with involved fathers are also more likely to live in cognitively stimulating homes. Also, a positive correlation has been found between a father’s academic support and adolescent boys’ academic motivation to try harder and feel their grades are important, (Allen & Dally,2007).
Research also shows that children with involved fathers have a higher tendency to have higher levels of economic and educational achievement, career success, higher educational expectations, better educational outcomes, and psychological well-being, (Allen & Daly, 2007; Blackwell Publishing, 2008).
Emotional Development
Infants with fathers who are involved in their care are...
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