Susan Rossi Cook, Attorney and Mediator

What happens when a dad can't be present for his kids?

Some dads cannot see their children because the other parent is denying them access. These cases are sad for the father, and especially for the children.

The truth is: Kids need their dads growing up, plain and simple. The presence of a father in the life of a child is essential for the child's psychological development and sense of emotional security.

What can happen when kids can't see their dads?

Before becoming adults, over 50 percent of kids in the United States will live a big part of their lives away from their fathers. In fact, the number of children right now who don't have a relationship with their fathers is unprecedented -- and it could change the shape and nature of our society.

The problem, however, doesn't only relate to dads who aren't physically present. It also relates to dads who aren't emotionally present. Here are some of the effects of an absent father:

  • Five times higher suicide rates
  • Higher instances of anxiety and depression
  • 32 times higher rate of going to jail
  • Lower achievement in school and higher likelihood of not finishing school
  • Lower incomes
  • Decreased job security
  • Increased divorce rates and relationship problems
  • Higher likelihood of substance abuse
  • Higher chances of behavioral and social problems

There are some other, not-so-visible effects of having an absent dad that the studies don't always address. This relates to feelings of betrayal and abandonment, feelings of not fitting in and feelings of being "different."

Motivation to fight for your right to see and spend time with your kids

The difficulties experienced by children with absent dads should motivate fathers to fight for their parental right to spend time with their kids. In fact, if a father feels in any way complacent, or that his children might be better off without him, the above evidence should be sufficient to inspire fathers to action. Even if you feel you're not "good enough" to be a dad, think of your child -- because clearly your child is "good enough" to have a dad, no matter who that dad happens to be.

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Susan Rossi Cook, Attorney and Mediator


38 Pond Street Suite 301
Franklin, MA 02038

Phone: 508-507-8742
Fax: 508-528-5177

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