Using questionnaires and a retrospective technique in which he asked 1,989 young adults to think back on their relationship with their fathers, Finley found that children of divorce really miss their fathers. According to Finley, they are denied a relationship with them because of present-day family law and court practices. "Divorce marginalizes or severs a father"s relationship with his child,' he says. "In reality, the father becomes a visitor in his or her life. He is no longer a father in the very literal sense.' For decades, researchers focused on motherhood when studying parenting. Today more attention is being paid to fathers, and the data is consistently showing that fathers are vital to raising happy, healthy and successful children. "They contribute more than bringing home the bacon,' Finley says... Finley"s research indicates that fathers are more effective at attenuating high-risk behaviors such as sex, drugs and other criminal activities. These behaviors also involve high social costs. Yet Finley says that his findings on fatherhood do not match today"s social reality or family policy. In divorce cases, the father rarely gets custody (only in about 15 percent of cases) and shared parenting is not equal. Fathers usually see their children only once a week and two weekends a month. Finley"s findings also suggest that parent-children relationships are not as much about identification or imitation, as once thought, but about transaction. The way a girl learns to become a woman is through her interaction with her father. That will determine how she will relate to men in her adult life. His study concluded that girls experience a greater impact by divorce than boys. "The real cost is actually to the daughters of divorce. They don"t have relationships with their fathers. So when they enter adolescence and start questioning whether to have sex, they don"t have a realistic idea of what men are like.'Read the full article here.
NPO publishes blog articles to inform and to stimulate conversation about issues of importance to NPO's mission. All blog articles express the opinions of the authors as individuals and do not necessarily reflect the views of National Parents Organization, its Board of Directors, or its executives.
FIU Study: 'Children of divorce really miss their fathers'
"Research indicates that fathers are more effective at attenuating high-risk behaviors such as sex, drugs and other criminal activities. These behaviors also involve high social costs." Some interesting work from Florida International University Psychology Professor Gordon Finley. Finley runs FIU"s Fatherhood Lab and focuses specifically on how divorce impacts fathers and the development of their children. From FIU lab investigates the state of fatherhood (FIU News, 6/15/09):