Allan Schwartz, LCSW, Ph.D. was in private practice for more than thirty years. He is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in the states ...Read More
It is well established that the divorce rate in the United States and around the western world is extremely high. What this means is that children are being raised in either one parent families, one parent families in which the other parent has visitation rights, one parent families in which the other parent is missing, most often the father, and families that have joint custody which necessitates the children moving from one home to the other.
The worst possible scenario is being raised by a single parent, with the other parent either missing or uninvolved. Because that parent is most frequently the father, this article will concentrate on the roll of the father in the family.
Dr. Scott E. Smith, PhD. is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist with Spectrum Behavioral Health in Annapolis, Maryland. In an article he wrote for Father’s Day 2011, he discusses how an involved father impacts on the children. Here is a list of some of his observations:
“Studies are showing that there are some wonderful benefits to having an involved father:
1. Children whose fathers are more involved in care-giving show significantly greater overall cognitive and intellectual development than children whose fathers are not involved.
2. Children with actively involved fathers show a greater knowledge of words and the associated understanding of cause and effect.
3. Children with involved and affectionate fathers also show a greater verbal capacity, higher self-esteem and a sense of being in charge of their own destiny.
4. By the teenage years, the presence of an involved father is a tremendous predictor of individual success. An active and involved father during adolescence is associated with fewer problems overall and specifically, less drug and alcohol use, a lower incidence of criminal behavior and higher grades in school.
5. It is believed that involved fathers help to provide guidance and goal setting that leads to healthier personal boundaries and greater success. This may be especially important for adolescent males who may have a tendency to try and “take over” or dominate a solely feminine household.”
Dr. Smith’s entire article can be found at:
It is important to remind the reader that:
1. Moms are equally important to children and that children need both parents.
2. Surrogates can compensate for a missing parent in the form of adoption, remarriage, etc.
3. In no way whatsoever does this detract from the role of gay families in raising children. Gay fathers and gay mothers are just as good as heterosexual parents.
In essence, for healthy development, children need a stable and reliable home with warm and loving parents.
In addition, many single parents can be equally effective as two parent families. Actually, many single parents maintain strong family ties so that grandparents, uncles, aunts and cousins play an important and supportive role in child rearing. This also includes gay families.
So, my message to moms and dads this Father’s day and for everyday of the year, is be involved with your children. Do not believe that, just because your kids are now teenagers, they do not need you as much. Their need for parenting is just as strong as during the earlier years.
Your comments and questions are greatly appreciated.
Allan N. Schwartz, PhD.