The Impact of Strong Fathers on his Child’s Education

Categories: Father Facts

A study using a national probability sample of 1250 fathers showed that children whose fathers share meals, spend leisure time with them, or help them with reading or homework do significantly better academically than those children whose fathers do not.

Cooksey, Elizabeth C. and Michalle M. Fondell . ” Spending Time with His Kids: Effects of Family Sturctures on Fathers’ and Children’s Lives,” Journal of Marriage and the Family 58 (August 1996): 693-707.

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. This effect held for both two-parent and single-parent households; and was distinct and independent from the effect of mother involvement .

Nord , Christine Windquist . Students Do Better When Their Fathers Are Involved at School (NCES 98-121). Washington , D.C. : U.S. Department of Education, 1998.

In a study of 29 fathers of academically successful African-American males, six childrearing practices were observed: child-focused love (consistent concern and showing interest); setting limits and discipline; high expectations; open, consistent, and strong communication (“talking with” rather that lecturing); positive racial and male gender identification; and drawing from community resources (especially the church).

Greif , Geoffery L., A. Hrabowski , and Kenneth I. Maton . “African American Fathers of High-Achieving Sons: Using Outstanding Members of an At-Risk Population to Guide Intervention.” Families in Society 79 (January/February 1998); 45-52.

Children who have fathers who regularly engage them in physical play are more likely to be socially popular with their peers than children whose fathers do not engage them in this type of play.

Carson, J., V. Burks, & R.D. Parke. ” Parent-child Play: Determinants and Consequences. ” In K. MacDonald (ed.), Parent-child Play: Descriptions and Implications. Albany , NY : State University of New York Press, 1993: 197-220. See also Parke, R.D. “Fathers and Families.” In M.H. Borstein (ed.) Handbook of Parenting, Vol. 3, Status and Social Conditions of Parenting. Mahwah , NJ : Erlbaum, 1995: 27-63.

“. for girls, studies link a sense of competence in daughters – especially in mathematics and a sense of femininity – to a close, warm relationship between father and daughter.”

Radin , N. and G. Russell. ” Increased Father Participation and Child Development Outcomes.” Fatherhood and Family Policy. Eds. M.E. Lamb and A. Sagi . Hillside Lawrence Erlbaum, 1983: 191-218.

“In summary, 30% of the children in the present study experienced a marked decrease in their academic performance following parental separation, and this was evident three years later. Access to both parents seemed to be the most protective factor, in that it was associated with better academic adjustment…Moreover, data revealed that noncustodial parents (mostly fathers) were very influential in their children’s development…These data also support the interpretation that the more time a child spends with the noncustodial parent the better the overall adjustment of the child.”

Factors Associated with Academic Achievement in Children Following Parental Separation, L. Bisnaire , PhD; P. Firestone, PhD; D. Rynard , MA Sc American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 60(1), January, 1990

“While in most instances adolescents from recently disrupted household were more negatively affected by their parents’ divorce, some findings did identify long-term effects of earlier disruption. Adolescent girls who had experienced parental divorce when they were younger than six or between six and nine years old reported becoming involved with alcohol or drugs in proportions higher than did girls from intact families. Adolescent girls whose experience of divorce occurred before they were six more frequently reported skipping school than did girls from intact families or girls whose parents divorced when they were between the ages of six and nine.”

“These findings underscore the vulnerability of adolescents whose parents have divorced within the last five years. The impact of the marital disruption was most pronounced among girls, who skipped school more frequently, reported more depress ehavior , and described social support in more negative terms than did boys from recently disrupted homes.”

The Effects of Marital Disruption on Adolescents: Time as a Dynamic A. Frost, PhD; B. Pakiz , EdM , American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 60(4), October, 1990

“The impact of parental divorce and subsequent father absence in the wake of this event has long been thought to affect children quite negatively. For instance, parental divorce and father loss has been associated with difficulties in school adjustment (e.g. Felner , Ginter , Boike , & Cowen), Social Adjustment (e.g. Fry & Grover) and personal adjustment (e.g. Covell & Turnbull)…”

“The results of the present study suggest that father loss through divorce is associated with diminished self-concepts in children…at least for this sample of children from the midwestern United States .”

Children’s Self Concepts: Are They Affected by Parental Divorce and Remarriage Thomas S. Parish, Journal of Social Behavior and Personality, 1987, V 2, #4, 559-562

A 1988 Department of Health and Human Services study found that at every income level except the very highest (over $50,000 a year), children living with never-married mothers were more likely than their counterparts in two-parent families to have been expelled or suspended from school, to display emotional problems, and to engage in antisocial behavior.

James Q. Wilson, “In Loco Parentis : Helping Children When Families Fail Them,” The Brookings Review , Fall 1993.

In a longitudinal study of 1,197 fourth-grade students, researchers observed “greater levels of aggression in boys from mother-only households than from boys in mother-father households.”

N. Vaden-Kierman , N. Ialongo , J. Pearson, and S. Kellam , “Household Family Structure and Children’s Aggressive Behavior: A Longitudinal Study of Urban Elementary School Children,” Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology 23, no. 5 (1995).

Nationally, 15.3 percent of children living with a never-married mother and 10.7 percent of children living with a divorced mother have been expelled or suspended from school, compared to only 4.4 percent of children living with both biological parents.

Debra Dawson, “Family Structure… “, Journal of Marriage and Family, No. 53. 1991

Kids who exhibited violent behavior at school were 11 times as likely not to live with their fathers and six times as likely to have parents who were not married. Boys from families with absent fathers are at higher risk for violent behavior than boys from intact families.

J.L. Sheline (et al.), “Risk Factors… “, American Journal of Public Health, No. 84. 1994.

Children without fathers or with stepfathers were less likely to have friends who think it’s important to behave properly in school. They also exhibit more problems with behavior and in achieving goals.

Nicholas Zill , C. W. Nord , “Running in Place,” Child Trends, Inc. 1994.

Kids who live with both biological parents at age 14 are significantly more likely to graduate from high school than those kids who live with a single parent, a parent and step-parent, or neither parent.

G.D. Sandefur (et al.), “The Effects of Parental Marital Status… “, Social Forces , September 1992.

Children in single-parent families tend to score lower on standardized tests and to receive lower grades in school. Children in single-parent families are nearly twice as likely to drop out of school as children from two-parent families.

J.B. Stedman (et al.), “Dropping Out,” Congressional Research Service Report No 88-417. 1988.

Children from disrupted families are 20 percent more unlikely to attend college than kids from intact, two-parent families .

J. Wallerstein , Family Law Quarterly, 20. (Summer 1986)

Kids living in single-parent homes or in step-families report lower educational expectations on the part of their parents, less parental monitoring of school work, and less overall social supervision than children from intact families.

N.M. Astore and S. McLanahan , Americican Sociological Review , No. 56 (1991)

Fatherless children — kids living in homes without a stepfather or without contact with their biological father — are twice as likely to drop out of school.

U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services, Survey on Child Health. (1993)

Nationally, 29.7 percent of children living with a never-married mother and 21.5 percent of children living with a divorced mother have repeated at least one grade in school, compared to 11.6 percent of children living with both biological parents.

Source: Debra Dawson , “Family Structure and Children’s Well-Being,” Journals of Marriage and Family, No. 53. (1991).

Children from low-income, two-parent families outperform students from high-income, single-parent homes. Almost twice as many high achievers come from two-parent homes as one-parent homes.

“One-Parent Families and Their Children;” Charles F. Kettering Foundation (1990).

At least one-third of children experiencing a parental separation “demonstrated a significant decline in academic performance” persisting at least three years.

L.M.C. Bisnairs (et al.), American Journal of Orthopsychiatry , no. 60 (1990)

Among black children between the ages of 6 to 9 years old, black children in mother-only households scored significantly lower on tests of intellectual ability, than black children living with two parents.

Luster and McAdoo, Child Development 65. 1994 .

After taking into account race, socio-economic status, sex, age and ability, high school students from single-parent households were 1.7 times more likely to drop out than were their corresponding counterparts living with both biological parents.

Ralph McNeal, Sociology of Education 88. 1995.

Families in which both the child’s biological or adoptive parents are present in the household show significantly higher levels of parental involvement in the child’s school activities than do mother-only families or step-families.

Zill and Nord , “Running in Place.” Child Trends. 1994

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