Everyone knows the classic love story. Man and woman fall in love, get married, have a baby and live happily ever after. However, real life isn’t always the fairy tale. While today’s version of the modern family has changed over time, the importance of parental involvement in children’s lives has not.
However, one out of every three American children (about 24 million) lives in a home without their biological father. According to research by the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University (or CASA), these children are more likely use drugs and experience educational, health, emotional and behavioral problems.
“Having both biological parents active in a child’s life has proven to have a positive effect on both the child’s social development and academic achievement,” says Dr. Janet Taylor, an author and community psychiatrist in the New York City area who frequently counsels families.
For kids, growing up in an environment where both parents are involved is important to their long-term development, health and well-being. Dr. Taylor provides the following advice for dads on how they can stay active in their child’s life, even if they are not the primary caregiver.
Share meals together: According research by CASA, children who share regular meals with their parents earn better grades in school than those who do not. Set a goal to share a meal with your child at least two days per week. Dinner doesn’t have to be elaborate. The focus should be on communication.
Plan fun activities: No matter where you go or how much money you spend, every moment spent with your child is a chance to create positive memories. Set aside time to celebrate your kids’ accomplishments and special occasions. This will increase the child’s confidence and encourage them to keep trying.
Get involved at school: Fathers are a positive force in their children's education. According to a study by the National Center for Education Statistics, when fathers get involved in their child’s education, the child is more likely to get good grades, enjoy school and participate in extracurricular activities.
The absence of some men may be due to not fully knowing the paternity of the child.
“Paternity questions are actually more common than you think. In fact, a recent survey found that one in five Americans said that they, or a close friend or family member, have questioned paternity,” adds Dr. Taylor.
In these cases, the mother may choose to take on full responsibility, or the man may be reluctant to be a father to a child that he’s not sure is his. Regardless, addressing paternity questions is the most responsible and caring decision for the child involved. Test kits like the Identigene DNA Paternity Test are available at drug stores and supercenters, and offer 100 percent accurate and confidential results within a matter of days.
Learn more about Identigene at www.DNAtesting.com.