Sunday, June 20, 2010

Father's Day Thoughts

Another Father's Day rolls around, and I think about the many children out there who would love for their Dad to be happy about being their father. Too many children, and adults too, feel bad that their father seems to not want them nor care about them. That is a shame. Aside from the burden that it places on mother, grandparents, and other caretakers, often the child feels rejected. Like there is something wrong with them that caused dad to leave their life. Often, they grow into adults who have gone through life feeling that they are deficient in some way. Moms and the others who have taken the responsibility on themselves do a great job of compensating for the absence of a male parent. However, children need a (healthy) male role model in their lives for many reasons. Research suggests that children who have an active father (and mother) in their lives generally grow up to be healthier, ie. do better in school, get better jobs, commit less crime, use drugs less, and have healthier and happier relationships. Boys, specifically, need to learn from their father how to be a healthy male adult. Don't get me wrong. When they have to, Moms do a great job of parenting without Dads, and have for years. But the absence of a relationship with a father who is still alive has long lasting effects on the child, that have nothing to do with the mother. And if dad chooses to not be involved (hopefully, he's at least sending child support payments), it can be very helpful to have other healthy males (ie. relatives, friends, and when necessary a counselor) available to your child. Your child needs to be acknowledged and appreciated by both gender parent-figures, even in single gender parent homes.

So Happy Father's Day to those Dad's who are involved (even if you got involved late), and to you Mom's who deserve a second day of celebration if you've been doing twice the parenting job.