Saturday, June 15, 2013

Fatherhood and the Social Cost of Fatherless Families

Fewer marriages, fewer fathers

With Father’s Day being celebrated this weekend in the US, Bradford Wilcox has a very relevant and timely piece at The National Review Happy Fatherless Day. He highlights the importance of fatherhood and the social cost of fatherless families:

In our public conversation about how best to accommodate today’s family diversity, what usually goes unsaid is that fewer marriages also means fewer fathers in our nation’s homes.

That is because marriage is the institution that binds men to their children. There is no substitute. Cohabiting couples with children are much more likely to end up on the rocks than their married peers (even in Sweden). Divorced and never-married fathers often have difficulty getting or making the time to stay in regular contact with their children once the relationship with the mother of their child is over. By contrast, fathers who are married to the mother of their children are much more likely to enjoy the day-in-day-out relationships with their children that enable them to give their kids the attention, discipline, and affection they need to thrive.

This comes amidst the soon to be released study in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology finding that the absence of fathers tends to result in more risky sexual activity among teenage girls.

Marriage is the only institution that binds men to their children. If a child is raised inside of a marriage, as it is currently defined, then that child will necessarily have access to a father. This is an important social reality that needs to be recognized and encouraged.

This article is published by Blaise Joseph and under a Creative Commons license and reposted here under its terms. You may republish it or translate it free of charge with attribution for non-commercial purposes following these guidelines. If you teach at a university we ask that your department make a donation. Commercial media must contact them for permission and fees. Some articles on their site are published under different terms.

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