ROME, NOV. 4, 2007 (Zenit.org).- Children need more than ever the presence and guidance of fathers in family life. According to a recent collection of essays, a significant body of scientific research clearly documents the vital role a father plays in the formative years of a child’s life.

The book is titled “Why Fathers Count: The Importance of Fathers and Their Involvement with Children” (Men’s Studies Press). Sean E. Brotherson and Joseph M. White, the editors and authors of the first chapter, set the tone for the book with an overview of arguments regarding the importance of fathers for children. The presence of a father has a positive impact in many ways, they note, as children with fathers have fewer behavioral problems, obtain better academic results, and are economically better off…

The relationship between spouses and its impact on fathers was examined in a chapter authored by University of Arkansas professor, H. Wallace Goddard. When couples have a strong relationship they can use their differences to complement each other, and draw on each other’s strengths, and there is a much greater likelihood that both mother and father will be good parents, he argued.

Goddard also noted that in many ways the contemporary dating culture does little to prepare future couples for the commitment needed to nurture and protect a marriage. A culture that overemphasizes romance and quick fixes, he pointed out, does little to prepare couples for the inevitable difficult periods that every marriage goes through…

Citing various research sources on family life, Brotherson went on to explain that the more connection a child feels with his parents the more likely he or she is to trust others and enjoy stable relationships with peers and adults outside home. A close-knit family relationship is also more effective in protecting children from problems such as depression, suicide, precocious sexual activity or drug use…

“Strong families are built on the foundation of strong marriages. Strong societies are built on the foundation of strong families,” the Pope continued. He then urged that governments acknowledge, respect and support marriage, in which a man and a woman join together in a lifelong commitment. An undertaking indeed vital for the flourishing of future generations.

More… (source)

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