Friday, June 29, 2012

Academic Achievement of Kids in Single Dad Families

Researchers at Ball State University, Lisa Pellerin and Abby Klein, undertook a research project, “Academic achievement of children in single father families.” Their objective was “to compare the academic achievement of children in a two-parent, single mother, and single father families.” I’ll save the minutiae of the regression and correlation analyses, moderators, like the existence of a daughter among the single father's children, and modeling, which Dr. Pellerin and I discussed during an informative telephone conversation. The findings, however, yield interesting possibilities for single dads.

To summarize, Pellerin and Klein concluded “the economic theory, which states that single fathers are more capable of offering economic resources to their children” facilitates children in a single father household to attain at least the same level of academic achievement as children in single mother families. “The individual perspective of gender (theory), which states that children in single mother families fare better because women fulfill the caregiver and homemaker roles,” according to the study, also provides benefits for children's academic performance.

Translated, children in single father families do well academically because, in part, single fathers generally have relatively more economic resources and other "fatherly" parenting skills. Conversely, single mothers typically provide a more nurturing environment than their male counterparts, and those skills also yield benefits to children at school.

Okay, so what does all this mean for a single father? While making generalizations can be dangerous, statistical correlation suggests courses of action. Therein lies an opportunity for single dads to both become better care-givers and to supplement his children’s environment with people who can help him. Look, brother, there's nothing unmanly about being sensitive, communicative, and caring. Seek opportunities to improve nurturing skills through support groups, discussing parenting ideas with platonic female friend’s (PFF’s), and even using other resources like, The Single Father’s Guide to Life, Cooking, and Baseball. Also, consider enlisting a female role model from a pool of family members, PFF’s, and groups like Big Brother/Big Sister. Imagine the effect on your child’s academic performance if you can provide both the economic wherewithal to be successful as well as the benefits of care-giving and nurturing!
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