21st Century Dad
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Non-Resident Fathers Can Still Make a Positive Difference

June 30th, 2008 . by 21st Century Dad
Father and Child

Photo: mrhayata

Before fatherhood, I used to look at my friend Dan and think, “oh cool. He only has to see his daughter every other weekend and on Wednesday nights.” After fatherhood, I think, “He only gets to see his daughter…”

Whatever the real numbers are, we see more single parents today. In such arrangements, the father’s role runs the gamut from total deadbeat to being as involved as possible.

Fatherhood is being redefined. Men are balancing traditional expectations and taking a more active role in parenting. This is true, even with non-resident fathers. These men have to make the most of their every-other-weekend and one night a week arrangement.

As a resident father, I enjoy the constant presence of my children, annoying teenage habits nonwithstanding. This affords me quantity and quality, but what about non-resident fathers? They too can offer the same, and some additional benefits.

According to Garret D. Evans and Kate Fogarty, non-resident fathers who are involved in their children’s lives still have a positive impact. These children:

  • tend to get higher grades than those without involved fathers.
  • seem to have better social skills. They can make friends more easily and handle difficult social situations better.
  • tend to have fewer behavioral problems. In fact, even when not living with their children and their children’s mother, fathers who were actively involved with their children kept them from getting involved in problem behaviors as teens
  • have fewer mental health problems as adults (especially true for daughters).

Fathers today recognize the benefits to their children and to themselves. This is still true for the non-resident father. He may even be more acutely aware of it due to the limited time he has with his children. He needs to make the most of every other weekend and one night a week.

Further Reading:

Dads, Be a Hero

Father Involvement After Divorce

Co-Parenting and Father Involvement

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