Where are the fathers? Problem is that it is NOT ‘Raining Men’

4 Nov

Here’s today’s COMMENT FROM AN OLD FART: Moi is a “bus chick” and rides the bus all over Seattle. Today’s bus adventure started in the University District on the #43 bus headed to downtown via Capital Hill. A world-weary young woman got on the bus with her son right in front of the American Apparel store on NE 45th Street. The little guy was very cute and a funny little chatter box. The bus snakes through the U-District and around the back side of Capital Hill. The little boy got very animated as the  bus crossed over the Montlake Bridge toward the city. Is this where daddy lives, he asked? Obviously this was a discussion the young woman didn’t want to have. No, we are going some where else. There is a story there and probably too much pain attached. Moi got to Capital Hill and went to the post office. Next stop for moi after the post office was the Mc Donalds on First Hill. While there, moi observed another world-weary woman in a wheel chair. It was hard to tell her age because there was a heavy cloak of too many cares that creased the lines of her face. She was accompanied by a child of about 10 or 12 whose gender was not readily apparent because of how they were dressed. The child was trying to be a child, yet the concern for the mother was obvious. Moi relates this story because according to Family Facts. Org  “The percentage of children born outside of marriage has skyrocketed, with a six-fold increase since 1960. Currently, the figure is highest among blacks, but the rate of increase is highest among whites and Hispanics.” http://www.familyfacts.org/charts/205/four-in-10-children-are-born-to-unwed-mothers

Unmarried Childbearing

(Data are for the U.S.)

  • Number of live births to unmarried women: 1,633,471
  • Birth rate for unmarried women: 47.6 births per 1,000 unmarried women aged 15-44 years
  • Percent of all births to unmarried women: 40.8%

Source: Births: Final Data for 2010, table C   [PDF – 1.3 MB]

More data

Karen Rowan wrote in the Washington Post article, Fathers play key role in teens’ sexual behavior, says study:

Fathers’ attitudes toward teen sex and the emotional closeness of their relationship with their teens have a sizable influence on their teens’ sexual behavior, separate from the influence of moms, a new review of studies suggests.

The review showed that dads’ attitudes toward teen sexual behavior were linked to the age at which teens first had sex. Teens whose dads approved of adolescent sexual activitytended to start having sex earlier than teens whose dads did not approve, according to studies in the review.

In addition, teens who were close to their fathers tended to start having sex later, the studies showed.

The findings “suggest that fathers may distinctly influence the sexual behavior of their adolescent children,” said study researcher Vincent Guilamo-Ramos, a professor of social work at New York University. “Fathers may parent in ways that differ from mothers, and therefore represent an additional opportunity to support adolescent health and well-being,” he said…. http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/fathers-play-key-role-in-teens-sexual-behavior-says-study/2012/10/22/3c91138e-1957-11e2-b97b-3ae53cdeaf69_story.html?wpisrc=emailtoafriend

Citation:

Paternal influences on adolescent sexual risk behaviors: a structured literature review.

Guilamo-Ramos V, Bouris A, Lee J, McCarthy K, Michael SL, Pitt-Barnes S, Dittus P.

Source

LCSW, Silver School of Social Work, New York University, 1 Washington Square North, Rm 320, New York, NY 10003-6654. vincent.ramos@nyu.edu.

Abstract

BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVE:

To date, most parent-based research has neglected the role of fathers in shaping adolescent sexual behavior and has focused on mothers. The objective of this study was to conduct a structured review to assess the role of paternal influence on adolescent sexual behavior and to assess the methodological quality of the paternal influence literature related to adolescent sexual behavior.

METHODS:

We searched electronic databases: PubMed, PsychINFO, Social Services Abstracts, Family Studies Abstracts, Sociological Abstracts, and the Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature. Studies published between 1980 and 2011 that targeted adolescents 11 to 18 years and focused on paternal parenting processes were included. Methodological quality was assessed by using an 11-item scoring system.

RESULTS:

Thirteen articles were identified and reviewed. Findings suggest paternal factors are independently associated with adolescent sexual behavior relative to maternal factors. The most commonly studied paternal influence was emotional qualities of the father-adolescent relationship. Paternal communication about sex was most consistently associated with adolescent sexual behavior, whereas paternal attitudes about sex was least associated. Methodological limitations include a tendency to rely on cross-sectional design, nonprobability sampling methods, and focus on sexual debut versus broader sexual behavior.

CONCLUSIONS:

Existing research preliminarily suggests fathers influence the sexual behavior of their adolescent children; however, more rigorous research examining diverse facets of paternal influence on adolescent sexual behavior is needed. We provide recommendations for primary care providers and public health practitioners to better incorporate fathers into interventions designed to reduce adolescent sexual risk behavior.

PMID:

23071205

[PubMed – in process]

Kids in single parent households need stability and strong role models to improve their chances of success in later life.

Tips for Raising Boys

Andrea Engber writes at Single Mothers about how to raise a son without a father present in the house.

1.        Accept your son’s differences.

2.        Never make him the man around the house. True, you want to teach him to grow to be man, but there is a distinction between being the “little man” and being responsible for things that adults are supposed to do. Your child is not your confidant, your knight in shining armor or your rescuer….

3.        When you look at your child and see his father’s face, it’s okay to get a little emotional. After all, if your ex gave you anything of value, you’re looking at it. Let your son know how important he is to you.

4.        Point out the positive qualities in men you see on a day to day basis. This means that even if you’re buying your son baseball cleats and the salesman is especially attentive or friendly, point this trait out by mentioning what a helpful person he is, or “Isn’t this man very nice?”

5.        Be a little creative in helping your child learn guy stuff. For instance, many single mothers report concern over their son’s using the potty while sitting, or playing with their makeup. Chances are, your child won’t spend the rest of his life peeing sitting down while wearing mascara. Homosexuality doesn’t exist because you didn’t monitor the morning makeup sessions! But if you want to get a head start on defining the differences between secondary sex characteristics between males and females, try this: Set out a little basket just for him. Fill it with a mock razor, gentle shaving cream, watered-down cologne, his toothbrush, toothpaste and a comb. Let him know this is what most guys do every morning to their faces.

6.        As your child matures, investigate local boys groups or clubs that he could join such as Cub Scouts. Don’t be intimidated by such sponsored events as Father/son boat races or picnics. Let the troop leader know that with the number of single parent families, you would be comfortable if the den would acknowledge parent-child events….

7.        Teach him your values, but let him express them uniquely. He’s a male and will respond to emotional situations somewhat differently than you might.

8.        If your boy is really active, get a chinning bar for his room for rainy days. Exercise is critical for all children, but in cases where boys can’t seem to center themselves as comfortably as girls, they might need other means of releasing excessive energy…. 9.        Role models are important and will be found in every aspect of your son’s life. Boys need men, but not necessarily fathers. Just because a father lives at home does not mean a boy is being “fathered.”

10.     Enjoy your time with your baby or toddler by not worrying about whether they are missing out on anything by not having “dad” around. At the same time, try not to avoid “daddy stuff” totally. Even though many children’s books feature animal families raised only by mom, it’s okay to read stories about all kinds of families to your child. Place a high value on male and female relationships in order to give your child a realistic perspective.

And remember, try not to have negative attitudes toward men, even if you became a single mother out of the most excruciating circumstances.

Note the importance her comments place on providing good male role models in successfully raising a boy.

The Role of a Father

Measuring Father Involvement did not have definite conclusions about the importance of a father’s involvement because of the lack of longitudinal or long range study of the father/child relationship, but it hinted at the importance of the relationship.  Some of the key findings from this review of incentives and barriers to father involvement include the following:

· Believing that a father’s role is important to child development and perceiving oneself as competent in the fathering role both serve as incentives to father involvement.

· Wanting the child and desiring to become a father may also be associated with father involvement.

· A man’s recollections of his own father-child experiences from childhood could serve either as barriers or incentives to involvement.

· Egalitarian beliefs may lead to more father-child interactions in general, and more beneficial father-child interactions for girls in particular.

· The father’s psychological well-being serves as a moderator of father involvement. High levels of stress and depression create barriers for father involvement, whereas high self-esteem increases the likelihood of father involvement.

· Early fatherhood appears to be a barrier to father involvement. On-time fatherhood (i.e.,becoming a father in one’s 20’s) increases the amount of father involvement above that of teen parents, but delaying fatherhood until one’s 30’s or even the 40’s may also yield benefits for children in increased father-child contact and more affectionate and cognitively-stimulating interactions.

· A harmonious father-mother relationship enhances the likelihood of frequent and positive father child interactions within two-parent families. Conversely, marital conflict serves both as a barrier to father involvement and as a predictor of poor child outcomes. In situations where the father does not reside with the child, father involvement is more likely if the mother perceives the father to be capable of successfully fulfilling the provider role.

· Being employed, and experiencing job satisfaction and low role stress are all associated with higher levels of father involvement. Conversely, unemployment or job instability, as well as high role stress, serve to minimize the likelihood that fathers will be and/or stay involved in their children’s lives.

· Additional support from friends, extended family, and institutions may help bolster father involvement in young children’s lives.  In addition, certain characteristics of the child may either increase or decrease the extent of father involvement.

The key finding from this study is that the involvement of a father in the life of his children is a process and a complex one, at that.

Male Role Models in Schools

A working paper, Teachers and the Gender Gap, from NBER reported the following.

Dee finds that gender interactions between teachers and students have significant effects on these important educational outcomes. Assignment to a teacher of the opposite sex lowers student achievement by about 0.04 standard deviations. Other results imply that just “one year with a male English teacher would eliminate nearly a third of the gender gap in reading performance among 13 year olds…and would do so by improving the performance of boys and simultaneously harming that of girls. Similarly, a year with a female teacher would close the gender gap in science achievement among 13 year olds by half and eliminate entirely the smaller achievement gap in mathematics.”

Female science teachers appeared to reduce the probability that a girl would be seen as inattentive in science, though this had no discernable effect on girls’ science achievement. However, female history teachers significantly raised girls’ history achievement. And, boys were more likely to report that they did not look forward to a particular academic subject when it was taught by a female.

Overall, the data suggest that, “a large fraction of boys’ dramatic underperformance in reading reflects the classroom dynamics associated with the fact that their reading teachers are overwhelmingly female.” According to the U.S. Department of Education’s 1999-2000 Schools and Staffing Survey, 91 percent of the nation’s sixth grade reading teachers, and 83 percent of eighth grade reading teachers are female. This depresses boys’ achievement. The fact that most middle school teachers of math, science, and history are also female may raise girls’ achievement. In short, the current gender imbalance in middle school staffing may be reducing the gender gap in science by helping girls but exacerbating the gender gap in reading by handicapping boys.

Moi has never met an illegitimate child. Moi has met plenty of illegitimate parents. People that are so ill-prepared for the parent role that had they been made responsible for an animal, PETA would picket their house. We are at a point in society where we have to say don’t have children you can’t care for. There is no quick, nor easy fix for the children who start behind in life because they are the product of two other people’s choice, whether an informed choice or not.  All parents should seek positive role models for their children. For single mothers who are parenting boys, they must seek positive male role models to be a part of their son’s life. Boys and girls of all ages should think before they procreate and men should give some thought about what it means to be a father before they become baby daddy.

Unfortunately, it is NOT “Raining Men” where they are most needed in the role of “father.”

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One Response to “Where are the fathers? Problem is that it is NOT ‘Raining Men’”

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