A more involved father results in a healthier child

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By Joan Martin

Fathers play an important role in their children’s lives. Fathers are not disposable. I was very fortunate to grow up in a home where I was always around my parents. We had a child-friendly family business. I was always with my parents until they sold the business when I was 10 years old.
Think about the many things you learned from your father. I learned how to drive, use a few tools, solve math problems, read and make friends. There were many other things that I learned from my father but this is enough to list here.
Research from the National Fatherhood Initiative indicates that children who had contact with their fathers had better socio-emotional and academic functioning. Children with more involved fathers also experienced fewer behavioral problems and scored higher on reading achievement. These results were consistent whether the involved father was residing with the child or not.
The Fatherhood Initiative research also found that children with absent fathers are more likely to experience poverty, emotional and behavioral problems, have higher incarceration rates, a higher risk of teen pregnancy and higher rates of drug use.
The University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service offers several opportunities for fathers and their children to connect and bond with each other. Daddy and Me gives fathers the opportunity to do something fun and educational with their children. Fathers and children can make many great memories doing a variety of activities including craft making, cooking, and outdoor activities. Maybe we will visit a farm.
Not only does Daddy and Me give children and their fathers a chance to bond, it also provides opportunities for men to meet other fathers in their community and form new friendships or support groups.
Two sessions of Daddy and Me are planned for Friday nights from 6-7 p.m. on March 7 and April 18. Both nights involve cooking with your child. Future plans may include outdoor cooking, hiking and camping.
Fathers, stepfathers, grandfathers, uncles, etc. are welcome to participate. Please register by calling the Anderson County Extension Office at 502-839-7271. There is no charge for the first two programs. Future programs may involve a minimal charge depending on the activity.
Educational programs of the Kentucky Cooperative Extension serve all people regardless of race, color, age, sex, religion, disability, or national origin. University of Kentucky, Kentucky State University, U.S. Department of Agriculture, and Kentucky Counties, Cooperating. Disabilities accommodated with prior notification.

Joan Martin is a consumer and family sciences agent with the Anderson Extension office. She can be reached at joan.martin@uky.edu.