What Tough Guys Can Teach Us About Being Great Fathers
Jun 10, 2014, 2:40 PM
Think you know what to expect when the camera is trained on the stars of Worldwide Wrestling Entertainment (WWE)? Think again. Three of WWE’s most popular wrestlers—Alberto Del Rio, Titus O’Neil and Roman Reigns—star in several new videos produced for Father’s Day 2014 that could make dads across the country practice their very best voices for story time, gather up the kids for a game of “go fish” and plan a tea party.
The new videos are a collaborative effort of WWE, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Administration for Children and Families’ Office of Family Assistance, the National Responsible Fatherhood Clearinghouse and the Ad Council.
Yes, the videos are adorable, but the hope is that dads will watch and then do. That’s critical. Reams of research show that children who grow up without a father’s input can face serious and lasting social, economic and health problems, according to studies compiled by the National Fatherhood Initiative. The non-profit group’s founders include former HHS Secretary Louis Sullivan and actor James Earl Jones.
Some more facts on absent fathers:
- Children in father-absent homes are almost four times more likely to be poor. In 2011, 12 percent of children in married-couple families were living in poverty, compared to 44 percent of children in mother-only families.
- Infant mortality rates are 1.8 times higher for infants of unmarried mothers than for married mothers.
- Even after controlling for income, youths in father-absent households still had significantly higher odds of incarceration than those in mother-father families. Youths who never had a father in the household experienced the highest odds.
- Being raised by a single mother raises the risk of teen pregnancy, marrying with less than a high school degree and forming a marriage where both partners have less than a high school degree.
- A father’s involvement in schools is associated with the higher likelihood of a student getting mostly A's. This was true for fathers in biological parent families, for stepfathers and for fathers heading single-parent families.
“The importance of being a present and engaged dad lies in the long term effects and benefits that this responsibility has on the children and families we serve,” said Earl Johnson, director of the Office of Family Assistance. “Fatherhood must be respected as essential to the well being of our communities and as an investment in the creation of a caring, healthier and more productive society as a whole.”
This commentary originally appeared on the RWJF New Public Health blog.