Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Fatherhood is Like Real Estate

A new study has found that one in five American moms have kids with more than one birth father. This is disheartening news for a number of reasons, but the analysis provided by the MSNBC story in which I read about the study ignores the most important reason.

Let's take a step back for a moment. As NFI's president, Roland C. Warren, is fond of saying, "Fatherhood is like real estate. It is about location, location, location." In other words, where a father lives in relation to his kids makes an enormous difference in the quality of his relationship with them. In fact, the most influential variable that determines father-child relationship quality is co-residence. Furthermore, fully 40 percent (2 in 5) of kids who do not live in the same home as their fathers have had no contact with their fathers in the last year.

So, let's get back to the story and the study. In virtually every case in which a mom has children with more than one dad, she is not living with all of the dads. Therefore, some of her children are living apart from their fathers. In fact, what we know from research suggests that it is likely that none of her children are living with their father.

However, in the "analysis" of what this new data means, the MSNBC story says nothing, I repeat nothing, about how this trend will affect father involvement. The article essentially talks about the impact on moms. It mentions that it may have an impact on kids, but gives no specifics, and seems to suggest that the impact on children would only be the result of the impact on mom.

If the reporter had called us before she wrote the story, we would have certainly given her some data to show what happens, on average, when kids grow up without dads. Here are a ton of examples. I find it surprising that, given all we know about how father absence affects children, and all of the social and cultural "movement" taking place to renew fatherhood in America, that a story like this, in a major news source, can still be written. In my view, it completely misses the mark.

What do you think?


  1. Sadly, in my experience, fathers are more often than not, left out of any positive aspects of divorce and child rearing. There's not enough time in the day for me to get into this but I know for a fact that we are treated unfairly, but nobody wants to admit it.

  2. I suppose the question is, of those 40% of kids' fathers that have had no contact with them in the last year, who is the one that initiates the non-involvement? Is it the mother shutting out the father? Or the father not wanting to have any interest in the kids lives? To me, that is the most disturbing part of this story.

  3. Yes you are correct there is a whole other side of this story that is not being told.. so if the author of this story from MSNBC is looking at this post contact me or any noncustodian father and get the other side of the story. I think your perspective on this topic will change drastically. I am always available robert@robertpina.com or direct @ 937.270.5437


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