Rosen: Fathers have an important role in a child’s life
Years ago, when my now-grown son was about 8 years old, I was in San Francisco for a seminar. My wife, son and baby daughter were home and I would return in a few days.
Like many families, I called my wife at night to see how everyone was doing. She told me our son, without any prodding, took it upon himself to perform the routine I generally do each morning. He would get up and walk down our long driveway to pick up the newspaper. When it was trash day, he wheeled the barrels to the curb so they could be picked up.
Every family is different. Picking up the newspaper or taking the trash out is not a “male” activity, but it was in our home. Most families do what needs to be done. Boys and girls do chores inside and outside of the home. I’d like to think what my son was imitating was not how to be a man but how to be a member of a family chipping in for the greater good.
As a family counselor I am asked often about the importance of children growing up with a father. Not all fathers are worthy of the children they have and there are times the kids are better off without dad being around. In most families, however, the absence of a father puts children at risk. Increased risk for juvenile delinquency, drug and alcohol use and unwise sexual behaviors.
There is a lot of agreement in the research on this issue. Assuming dad is a reasonable guy, his presence in the lives of the children as they mature is an essential part of a child’s development. Too often I will have mothers bring in their sons or daughters for counseling and when I ask “Where’s dad?” I’m told […]