6 Areas Fatherly Involvement is Minimized by the System and Society
May 19, 2022
Dads’ Resource Center shares research on how the system holds fathers back
Many fathers who are in divorced situations get every other weekend with their child. If they are lucky, they may get to spend a little more time with them during the summer or on certain holidays. Children who don’t live with their fathers rarely get much time with their children, but it’s not by choice for many fathers. Instead, it’s a system and society that continuously squeezes them out.
“We are doing what we can to bring notice to the fact that the system is flawed and it’s hurting families,” said Dads’ Resource Center Executive Director Jeffrey Steiner. “Once we bring awareness to the situation, we can all work together to make changes to fix it so that all of society benefits.”
Dads’ Resource Center works to bring the situation to the public forefront so that people realize that many dads want more time with their children. They are just up against a system that doesn’t value their contribution beyond that which is monetary and ultimately keeps their time-limited.
The group recently worked with the University of North Dakota on research to explore how our courts, counties, and human service systems are biased against fathers. Their report shows that the bias limits the amount of access a father has to children in situations where they don’t live with them. Fathers have a positive influence on their children’s lives when they are allowed to be a more significant part of it.
The report concludes that the bias against fathers is evident in several aspects of parenting, including education, gender roles, etc. However, the positive aspects of dads being more involved with their children mustn’t be overlooked. The report laid out six areas where fatherly involvement is being minimized by the system and society, including:
- Higher Education – Traditionally, academics have favored women regarding resources and programs for parenting. For instance, mothers seemingly gained access to resources more efficiently and had fewer barriers than fathers.
- Primary Education – Fathers often find themselves excluded in educational planning, corrective actions, or processes to reach a student’s academic potential effectively.
- Community – Divorced fathers do not have the support classes because it is believed that fathers are not directly affected by divorce as much as mothers and are less likely to be given custody of their children and have less time to devote to parenting.
- Medical – Historically, priority and focus have been placed on maternal involvement in children’s health care, and empirical research on father involvement in the health care setting is scarce despite increased understanding of shifting roles, sociodemographic trends, and an acknowledgment of its importance.
- Law – Most Americans believe that physical custody of a child should be equally split between parents. However, only 1 in 5 custodial parents are fathers. The difference in custody between mothers and fathers results from numerous societal reasons, and the bias is common knowledge.
- Social Work – Research is minimal regarding the social work profession and its perception of fathers, which impacts how fathers are included in the casework that involves their child.
“We know that one in four children in this country are growing up without their father’s active engagement in their lives,” said Dads’ Resource Center Founder and Chair Dr. Joel N. Myers. “I believe this one factor does more than any other to undermine the fabric of our society and threatens the future well-being of this nation.”