The Importance of Being An In- House Dad
Now, just to make sure I’m clear on this, this chapter is not suggesting that fathers that live away from their children aren’t doing a great job. This chapter is to illustrate the impact and difference of fathers that live with their children and those that don’t. For those that don’t live with their children, you can’t change your relationship and situation with your child’s mother. However, for the generation that is growing up and one day will be fathers, I want them to understand just having babies with random women will continue to be the downfall of the black community and vice versa. In the end, fathers and mothers will move on with their lives, the children, however will be impacted possibly for the rest of their lives from the separation.
I’m extremely involved in every aspect of my sons’ lives. The older one, I walk from his school bus stop everyday. I make sure he gets his after school snack before starting his homework. Going over his sight words and reviewing all the papers the school sends home for fundraisers, upcoming events and classroom notes. This is how I spend my afternoon. When in season, I do all the previously mentioned plus drama club meetings and soccer practice. I, certainly, will do the same with my younger son when he gets
older. This is all possible because I am able to arrange my work schedule to cover these times since my wife won’t be home due to her teaching schedule. Since this is my life, it’s hard for me to imagine trying to do all these things if I lived away from my children. I hear the stories on how fathers miss out on so much of their child’s life because they live away from the child. The struggle is real for fathers that live away from their children but want to be an active participant in their lives. In the following paragraphs, I will share, is data from ‘The Pew Study’ on the difference in participation of fathers living with and living apart from their child. Also, I’m going to touch on the difference in fathers who live with children and those that live apart from them.
This goes without saying but fathers that live with their children are simply more active in their children’s lives, studies show. I’m talking about the child’s day, homework and all other activities and in-house fathers have more involvement. Availability and convenience makes it’s easier for them to do so. Now, a good relationship or at least communication between mothers and fathers that live apart may allow arrangements to be made to ensure the father will get the same accessibility as the in-house father. One of the most disturbing findings by Pew Research Center is that, fathers that live with their children participate in their lives
more that of fathers 50 years ago. However, the number of fathers living apart from their children has doubled than that of 50 years ago.
Let me give you a profile of a stereotypical father that lives apart from his children: black male, with less than a high school diploma, family income less than $30,000 a year. Education is definitely proven to be a key in father involvement in a child’s life. The study shows that 7% of fathers with a college degree live away from their child but 40% of fathers with less than a high school diploma live
apart. More than 44% of black fathers live away from their children. That more than doubles that of white fathers living away. The one glimmer of hope for our community from this study is that despite the number of black fathers living apart from their children, they are the most involved in their children lives.
Active participation in your child’s life is the most important aspect of their growing up. Regardless of your living situation, there is no excuse to be absent from your child’s life. Involvement in children’s lives will vary from family to family, so don’t measure your participation by other fathers. Judge your involvement on what your heart and child are telling you.