The numbers are staggering—24 million children are growing up in homes where biological fathers are not present; it’s estimated that the federal government will spend $100 billion annually to support homes without a father; an absentee father is a more reliable predictor of criminal behavior than race, environment or poverty. The role of dads in modern American has grown on the surface but remains somewhat diminished underneath it all—moms are still counted on to be the primary caregivers and beyond that moms give most of the nurturing, give most of the baths and do more of the comforting of kids. While mothers will probably always prove to be the most valuable side of the parenting equation, the role of fathers, especially with young boys, is silently invaluable. On this approaching Father’s Day we look at what it takes to keep dads more involved, more engaged and just plain present in the lives of their children.
Ron Banks, director of Project Fatherhood and runs the father support groups at the Children's Institute.