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Life Without Father.

Publication Year: 
1998
Personal Author: 
Popenoe, D.
Chapter in Book
Page Count: 
16

This chapter reviews the role of fathers in child rearing and explores the effects of fatherlessness on children, society, marriage, women, and fathers. The text emphasizes that fathers parent differently than mothers, providing physically stimulating play and influencing academic achievement and gender identity. Except for dysfunctional families, children need to have two parents and are more likely to become involved in juvenile crime and substance abuse when they do not live with their father. Fatherless children also are at risk for eating disorders, depression, suicide, and poverty. Many of these consequences have implications for society, as fatherlessness is associated with juvenile violence and teenage parenthood. Fatherhood has been proven to be a stabilizing influence on men who are engaged with their children. Involved fathers are more likely to be responsible, mature, and more motivated to retain employment. Women benefit from the physical protection that their male partner can provide. Recommendations for strengthening marriages and father involvement include: expanded parental leave policies; rejection of the concept of alternative lifestyles; tax incentives for married, child-rearing couples; universal premarital education; and stricter divorce regulations for couples with children. 31 notes.

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