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[personal profile] mag_pie
"Children who have an involved father in their lives in the early years show up for school with more of the qualities needed for learning. They are more patient, curious, and confident. They are better able to remain in their seats, wait patiently for their teacher, and maintain interest in their own work."
- Building Blocks for Father Involvement, National Headstart Training Center

Well, that explains a lot about Barney...

Seriously, the more I learn about child development and welfare, the more I understand Barney as not a caricature, but as a real person. :)

Date: 2010-03-11 10:40 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Awwww. Tell me you're going to do a serous academic project about him? Go on! :-)

Date: 2010-03-12 04:47 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Haha, isn't someone already doing that? About Barney and masculinity or something?

I'll just try to remember to write fic about this... ;)

Date: 2010-03-11 11:08 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I don't know how true that is but okay...

Did you change your layout or am I just really bad at noticing things?

Date: 2010-03-12 04:46 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
These studies are comparing children who have fathers who are actively engaged in their child's welfare versus children who do not have fathers in their lives at all, who they never or rarely see. Obviously it's not true for everyone; statistics can never capture the breadth of individual experiences, but the numbers are enough to inform best practices of social programs.

And I did change my layout! I got tired of not being able to tell who was responding to what comments. I like the blue though! :)

Date: 2010-03-11 11:30 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Random... what are the effects if they don't have an involved mother in their lives? Hmm.

Date: 2010-03-12 04:43 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
The studies on the importance of fatherhood show that mother-love and father-love are equally important but are really just different in gendered ways. So things like empathy and cautiousness would go down if there weren't an involved mother. But the real issue is that in 84% of cases where two parents aren't together, the father isn't a presence in the child's life. It's due in part to a long history of social programs placing importance of the child's welfare on the *mother's* ability to care for the child and completely excluding the father, history of oppression, incarceration, cultural mores, and many other factors. But the predominant problem is men checking out. Mothers, not so much, but you can bet it's serious when they do.

Date: 2010-03-12 04:52 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Wow. Thank you so much for this, really. Obviously I have an invested interest lately. It does kind of boggle my mind when a mother checks out. I mean, it's sad that I'm not as bewildered by the man leaving, but I suppose that's just a combo of the whole "it's more typical for a man to leave" and that presumed extra-closeness between a mother and child thing.

Either way... it's so hard to understand why a parent leaves a child. Even if you don't feel ready for kids... it's your child!!

Date: 2010-03-12 05:16 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Honestly, it could be any number of things - they literally can't take care of the child, whether due to poverty, mental health, drug or alcohol use, the mother might not want the father there for a number of reasons, in a mother leaving the child's case, the child might be a result of rape... But it IS hard on the parent. I don't know of any studies out there, but in the experience of the person who was at my class today who is in charge of COUPLES-based parenting and involving the father where he may have been absent for any number of reasons before and trying to help eliminate those reasons, those fathers become a lot happier when they are actually involved with their children. It's like they get something back in their lives that they were meaning. It seems to be especially the case for men with multiple children by multiple women.

Date: 2010-03-12 05:22 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Obviously what you're saying makes a lot of sense. Certainly I'm sure there are some "good" reasons out there for why it happens.

I'm currently blinded by the situation right in front of my eyes... where there's a perfectly healthy, financially stable parent who plain and simple isn't interested in taking care of their child. Kinda breaks my heart when I see that there are a lot of people out there who would LIKE to be there for their kids and for whatever reason can't, or people who really desperately want children but aren't able to make it happen for biological/financial reasons.


Date: 2010-03-12 05:33 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
You're right. It is hard, and in that situation, I have no clue where that motivation/lack of motivation comes from... but it has to come from somewhere, right? And in the case that you're describing, I don't know that there are programs out there to address that, which is really sad and frustrating.

I don't know either! :(

Date: 2010-03-12 05:12 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
P.S. Awwwwwwwwwww, thanks for the giftie! So cuuuuute.

Date: 2010-03-12 05:17 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
You're welcome! I hadn't gotten lj_news before this, so I had missed out on gifting opportunities before this time. I was determined to take part!

Also, I think squirrels are adorable :D

Date: 2010-03-12 05:23 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]

Also, I agree. In fourth grade I was president of the Big Big Squirrel Club. Which was... a made up club for people who liked squirrels, I guess. Oh, elementary school.

Date: 2010-03-12 05:29 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]

P.S. I TOTALLY CALL GILBERT! ::runs away cackling::

Date: 2010-03-14 05:42 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]

Oh, except... you can't just HAVE Gilbert Blythe! No fair! We can share.

Date: 2010-03-12 01:23 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
My only trouble with that statement is that it creates another divide in the heterosexual vs. homosexual issue.

Date: 2010-03-12 04:38 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I TOTALLY agree that there isn't enough representation in research of same-sex couples, and that is a serious limitation in the research. At the same time, the literature is targeted to represent families where teen pregnancy has occurred, and you don't get that so much with homosexual couples.

I think what they're really getting at and have seen in the research is that TWO parents are really necessary to be in a child's life for better developmental outcomes, and when 84% of families where parents have split up (or were never together in the first place) have no father in the picture, that can be problematic, especially where there's this history of social programs targeting help for mothers and completely ignoring that the fathers need to be a part of the child's development as well. In fact, in the 70s social workers would come into a household and LOOK for men's clothing, shoes, etc and if they found the presence of a man in the household they would cut services. That really contributed to this culture of "maybe it's better if the mother is on her own so she can get help" combined of course with a LOT of factors, but the goal of newer best practices is now to involve the fathers with their baby mommas and their babies so that they and their families have better outcomes.

I would LOVE to see a study on outcomes for same sex parents. My guess is that they're a bit older than the population that these programs deal with, just in terms of adoption laws.

Date: 2010-03-12 04:52 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
There's also the trouble of fathers who are absent or abusive. Those characteristics don't add much to the research either.

But for fathers who are involved (and yes, that includes stepfathers), I agree with the research and with you.

Date: 2010-03-12 05:10 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Well, that's what they're saying - fathers who are involved with their children create better outcomes than when fathers are absent or abusive. This one quote doesn't really demonstrate the breadth of the studies. The pitfall of using one not-even-statistic-but-a-quote to represent a larger work!

We had a really good presentation from the director of a program to make sure COUPLES are involved with their children where possible - and the director addressed the fact that you have to deal with the abuse, the incarceration, alcoholism, drug addiction, any of those or other factors BEFORE they can be brought on board to take equal responsibility in parenting a child. Otherwise, that jeopardizes the family's stability even further as well as the child's safety.

We really understand as a culture that mothers are important to the development of a child. The major point of the research is that fathers (or stepfathers or father-figures) are too! Make them responsible! But I'm preaching to the choir :)

Honestly, this is a relatively new concept. So the research isn't necessarily there yet in covering all the populations that need to be addressed (like you said, same sex couples), and of course often it happens that socially based research - and especially those on social programs - can be difficult to evaluate when value systems are involved. This kind of research should always be taken with a grain of salt, because it does not capture all cases... but it can help to inform practices until we have broader and more diverse research available.

Date: 2010-03-12 05:23 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I really hope I'm not making you feel like you have to defend yourself.


Date: 2010-03-12 05:28 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Aw! I hope I don't sound defensive!

I just found this research and these concepts really interesting, and any chance to talk about it (and its limitations) is really good for me, because it means that I'm actually... I dunno, absorbing the information and gettin' me some BOOK LARNIN'!


::hugs you back because I love that::

Date: 2010-03-12 05:35 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I certainly understand the need for that!
I do that at internship sometimes with some of the staff members.


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