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Review: Black Dads & Sons

Peterson, K.S. (1996, January 2) Black Dads’ Support Helps Teen Sons Most. USA Today, p. 1D.

Summary

(Download Black Dads’ Support overview as a PDF)

A government-sponsored study has found that having a strong relationship with a father is more important for black teenage boys than actually having a father living at home. Some other findings from the study follow:

  • Fifty-five percent of male teens living with single moms say they still receive emotional support from their fathers. Another 40% who live with extended families without fathers also report receiving emotional support from their dads.
  • One fourth of 108 teens living with single parents surveyed say they spend 10 or more hours a week with their dads; 48% say their fathers are their role models.
  • Adolescents living with single mothers are not more likely to use alcohol and drugs, engage in delinquency, or drop out of school than those in other family situations.
  • Sons who spent time with their fathers were less likely to be depressed or anxious.

Marc A. Zimmerman of the University of Michigan School of Public Health emphasizes this message: Just because black fathers are not in the same home does not mean they are not involved. However, David Blankenhorn, author of Fatherless America, says the study’s findings “sound mushy.” He says you must put the findings of this study in context of many other studies that find to the contrary.

Questions for Reflections and Discussion

  1. What do you think about the findings of Zimmerman’s study?
  2. What, in your opinion, can be lost when a child is brought up by a single parent? What can be gained?

Implications

  1. Broken homes have long been fingered as the culprit for delinquent behavior in children. It may not be the broken home itself but society’s willingness to blame it that perpetuates the problem.
  2. Often, sons see their fathers as role models even if they are not present in the home. Therefore, it is not necessarily the quantity of the time spent, but the quality.

Sheila Walsh
© 2017 CYS

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