THE FATHER FACTOR: Children face more challenges without dad - KMSP-TV

THE FATHER FACTOR: Children face more challenges without dad

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Dad duty is about more than being a stereotypical provider or a nurturing coach. Statistics show that caring fathers who give emotional support have a huge impact on their child's quality of life.

Dave Thompson was on dad duty on Thursday, and with two tween boys, it can be a wild ride -- but it's an adventure he is happy to take on.

"They're busy on the rides behind us here and having a good time," he said. "I'm doing a fair job watching."

Thompson isn't alone -- and that's a good thing because statistics show challenges seem to be much greater for children who don't have stable fathers.

"I've seen that kids that do have the father involved tend to kind of cope better sometimes, and they have a little bit more success dealing with the world around them," Quanah Walker, a wellness coach with Health Partners, told Fox 9 News.

The majority of kids who drop out of high school, spend time in juvenile detention, commit suicide and suffer behavioral disorders come from fatherless homes.

MORE: View the statistics

According to Walker, the fatherly role is important at a very early age.

"Having a father that is caring and involved, that spends time with them -- holding them, changing their diaper, feeding them and doing those nurturing activities -- really does have an impact on the child," she said.

Thompson told Fox 9 News he did all that, even if it wasn't very fun.

"Yeah, I did," he said. "It wasn't my favorite job, but I did do it."

If the fatherly involvement continues through the toddler years and beyond, studies show children are better equipped to handle the stresses of schooling and are more psychologically and emotionally stable.

Experts do say that when there isn't a father in the picture, a male role model can be very effective.

"If you're an uncle or a neighbor taking the time to spend with the children that are in your life, it is meaningful," Walker said. "The kids that you do that for will never forget it."

No one is claiming that single-parent homes can't produce highly successful, well-adjusted children; however, as Father's Day nears, it's important to recognize that fathers do play a crucial role in raising healthy, happy children.

Yet, just as it is important to be directly involved in child-rearing, how the father and mother treat one another is crucial regardless of whether they remain together or not. Maintaining a respectful, healthy relationship is imperative.

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