A father impacts identity in big ways. I have a daughter coming soon and I want her to know and understand her identity. Many assert patriarchy within the family is the problem with society, but research suggests absent fathers are the root issue of many of society’s problems.
When someone doesn’t understand their identity and worth, they make poor choices. When a father is absent, it can lead to low self worth. Consider some of these statistics from Psychology Today:
An Absent Father Impacts Identity Negatively
- “Fatherless children are at a dramatically greater risk of drug and alcohol abuse, mental illness, suicide, poor educational performance, teen pregnancy, and criminality, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, National Center for Health Statistics.”
- “63% of youth suicides are from fatherless homes according to the U.S. Bureau of the Census;”
- “72% of adolescent murderers grew up without fathers. 60% of America’s rapists grew up the same way according to a study by D. Cornell (et al.), in Behavioral Sciences and the Law;”
- “71% of all high school dropouts come from fatherless homes according to the National Principals Association Report on the State of High Schools;”
- “Daughters of single mothers are 53% more likely to marry as teenagers, 111% more likely to have children as teenagers, 164% more likely to have a premarital birth and 92% more likely to dissolve their own marriages.”
That last statistic really hit me. I don’t want our daughter to fall into those statistics. I want to be a good father.
Fathering could use a publicist. We posted a video of Tom Brady emotionally discussing his amazing relationship with his father. I think it struck a chord because it’s rare.
Timothy Allen Pehlke and his colleagues concluded the media conveys “negative messages regarding fathers, portrayed through foolish or immature behaviors and by being the butt of family members’ jokes.” Fathers are depicted as useless, but they are, in fact, more than necessary.
A Father Impacts Identity Through Words
I know how a father impacts identity first-hand. My dad greatly impacted my identity, and the truths he spoke into my life are unshakable. For instance, when I was in junior high and high school, my dad always told me he wished he was a great speaker like me. He told me how he desired the kind of intelligence I possessed.
How did my dad’s word affect me? When someone tries to tell me I’m dumb, I have a deep guttural laugh inside. Graduating at the top of my class, full ride scholarships, and IQ scores are great, but get this…my dad told me I’m intelligent!! It wouldn’t matter if I suffered D’s and F’s in school. Not even a grade point average could’ve dented that identity my dad placed within me.
When a father is involved, the miraculous happens. Here are some statistics:
An Involved Father Impacts Identity Positively
- “Children whose fathers were highly involved in their schools were more likely to do well academically, to participate in extracurricular activities, and to enjoy school, and were less likely to have ever repeated a grade or been expelled compared to children whose fathers were less involved in their schools.”
- “Higher levels of father involvement in activities with their children, such as eating meals together, helping with homework, and going on family outings, have been found to be associated with fewer child behavior problems, higher levels of sociability, and higher levels of academic performance in children and adolescents.”
- “Youths who abstain from substances, as compared to those who don’t, typically feel closer to their fathers, spend more time with them discussing personal problems, and depend upon them for advice and guidance.”
Society needs fathers who are involved in their families and lead their families (this is the definition of patriarchy). We need more healthy, active, and present fathers. But, society doesn’t recognize these important men. I did research on my company and I didn’t find any paternity leave offered. Thankfully, California offers a Paid Family Leave program, but isn’t it time states and companies recognize the importance of father involvement?