Building healthy bonds between dads, children
Family Features | 6/16/2014, 8:33 a.m.
For many adults, the times spent with their fathers are among their most treasured memories. However, today as many as 1 in 3 children in America live in a home where a biological father is not present.
The reasons for paternal absence can vary. For example, fathers may stay distant from a child out of fear of being inadequate or failing the child. Despite difficult circumstances, in many cases there are solutions that allow fathers to maintain an important presence in their children’s lives.
The following are many of the common reasons for fathers’ absences along with guidance on how to help resolve the situation, provided by Dr. Janet Taylor, an author and community psychiatrist.
Many fathers have guilt for not having the financial means to buy things for their kids. Fathers need to understand their children love them because they are their father and not because of the “things” they give them.
“A father’s time and involvement in a child’s life is a true gift,” Taylor said. “Give the gift of your time and it will mean the world to them.”
Disputes among family members may also keep a father away. When conflicts arise with a mother, grandparents or other family members, a child should know he or she is not the problem, Taylor cautioned.
Doubts about paternity can be an especially trying source of family conflict. A paternity test can help eliminate this uncertainty. To help address paternity questions, Identigene offers an affordable DNA paternity test kit that is sold in drug stores and supercenters and is 100 percent accurate.
Taylor advocates for fathers to make an effort to spend time with their children in the midst of conflict, even if circumstances dictate that time together is in a group setting rather than one-on-one.
Another reason a father might stay away is the result of a lack of a father figure in his own life. Taylor called parenting the ultimate “on the job training.” She recommends working to make a connection to break the cycle from repeating in the next generation.
Fathers Have Value
“Fathers also need to recognize their value in their kids’ lives,” Taylor said. A recent survey sponsored by Identigene found that most Americans who are looking to address a paternity issue understand there are many benefits of having a biological father in a child’s life, including providing the child with a sense of family and self (73 percent), enhancing the child’s self-esteem (70 percent) and offering the child with a masculine parental figure (69 percent). According to Fatherhood.org, children who do not have a father figure in their life are more likely to endure financial hardship, use drugs, quit school or engage in criminal behavior.
“This data serves as a testament that a father’s active participation does make a difference,” Taylor said. “Hopefully it encourages those fathers who have not had a role in their child’s life to develop a bond that can truly re-shape a young person’s entire childhood.”
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