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Sugar Coating Father Absence

Posted by Vincent DiCaro

There is a surreal piece in the June/July issue of Working Mother magazine called, "Why Don't I Have a Dad?" Often, articles that deal with how to handle tough questions from kids about their fathers' absence enter into the realm of "making adults feel better but doing nothing to actually help children."

This one, for example, says that when kids grow up in single-mother homes, they have a larger network of people involved in their lives, due to the increased support the mother needs. It sounds like a reasonable thought, but the reality - based on the research - is that single-parent homes have significantly smaller social networks - roughly half the size of a network that a child from a two-parent home will have.

The article also delves into the "wishful thinking" of "family diversity." It states you should celebrate how your family is "special." I am all for celebrating what we have, but not at the expense of making it seem like it is not such a big deal that a child is growing up without his or her father. There is just way too much evidence that it is bad for children. Adult fantasies of "family diversity" won't make the data disappear.

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