Children with Involved Fathers

Fluff -- Children with an involved father have more varied social experiences and are more intellectually advanced than those who only have regular contact with their mother.

[Wade Horn's "Father Facts" quoting Henry B. Biller in Fathers and Families, Paternal Factors in Child Development, Auburnhouse, Westport, CT 1993]: "Children with an involved father are exposed to more varied social experiences and are more intellectually advanced than those who only have regular contact with their mother. Infants with two involved parents can cope better with being alone with strangers and also seem to attend more effectively to novel and complex stimuli. Well-fathered children have a greater breadth of positive social experiences than those exclusively reared by their mothers."]

Fact: Contrary to the implication above, long-time fatherhood exaltation advocate Biller actually refers only to "father involvement" in the context of an intact home -- even he cannot characterize the research as unequivocably supporting father involvement by divorced and unmarried men. Biller is perhaps best known for his decades of research-cum-hand-wringing to the effect that a lack of paternal influence can cause boys to be either overly aggressive or effeminate. Biller admits, however, that fathers in intact U.S. households spend, on average, less than thirty minutes per day in one-on-one time with their children. (And the definition of "more varied social experiences"? Ah come on...)

Biller, "The Father Factor and the Two Parent Advantage: Reducing the Paternal Deficit," unpublished paper, 1994.

Fact: "[C]hildren who have had no contact with their fathers in more than a year are more likely to be involved in extracurricular activities than children who have seen their fathers in the past year but whose fathers participated in none of the school activities. Part of the explanation for this pattern may be that children are spending time with their nonresident fathers instead of participating in extracurricular activities."

NATIONAL CENTER FOR EDUCATION STATISTICS, Statistical Analysis Report: Fathers' Involvement in Their Children's Schools, October 1997, (NCES 98-091),

Fact: "Lessing, Zagorin, and Nelson (1970) found children in father-absent households had lower IQ, verbal, and performance scores than children in father-present households [but] Hunt and Hunt (1977) found race and class were factors in related variables such as aspirations, with lower income children having lower aspirations. According to Mott (1994), girls are more likely to be helped with poor school performance if the father is not in the home... Assessing intellectual functioning in relation to family structure is difficult at best... Although children of divorce experience disruption of academic performance in the aftermath, within two years most children return to their normal patterns of performance. Boys experience greater disruption and girls experience greater recovery of their academic performance... [G]irls' experience challenges to their emotional stability, but their school success is somewhat enhanced by father absence."

National Center on Fathers and Families, Father Presence Matters: A Review of the Literature, Toward an Ecological Framework of Fathering and Child Outcomes, by Deborah J. Johnson; Lessing, E. E., Zagorin, S. W., & Nelson, D. (1970). WISC subtest and IQ score correlates of father absence. Journal of Genetic Psychology, 117, 181-195.; Hunt, J. G., & Hunt, L. L. (1977). Race, daughters and father loss: Does absence make the girl grow stronger? Social Problems, 25(1), 90-102.; Mott, F. L. (1994). Sons, daughters and fathers' absence: Differentials in father-leaving probabilities and in-home environments. Journal of Family Issues, 15(1), 97-128.

Fact: "Using data from four national surveys, Biblarz and Raftery (1999) show that mother-absence is much more detrimental than father-absence to children's educational and occupational attainment. They find that once parents' socioeconomic status is taken into account, children raised by single mothers are much better off than children raised by single fathers or fathers and stepmothers, and are just as likely to succeed as children raised by both birth parents. Biblarz and Raftery conclude that the pattern of effects across family types and over time is consistent with an evolutionary perspective which emphasizes the importance of the birth mother in the provision of children' resources (Trivers 1972). According to this view, children raised by their birth mothers do better than children raised apart from their birth mothers. Furthermore, being raised by a single birth mother is better than being raised by a birth mother and step father since step fathers compete with children for mother's time and lower maternal investment."

Case, Anne, I-Fen Lin and Sara McLanahan. Educational Attainment in Blended Families, August 2000.

You can find more fatherhood lies at the Liz Library.

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2 advocates for peace:

Melissa Mar 20, 2009 10:37:00 AM  

Data and statistics can be manipulated to say anything. I was a "fatherless child" and I somehow managed to do well in school and not be a drug addict.

This quote sums up my feelings on this matter perfectly; "There are three kinds of lies. Lies , damn lies and statistics." :-)

Rj Mar 24, 2009 11:38:00 PM  

I don't even know what stats to believe anymore.

Pray the Devil Back to Hell



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