Article by Anne Perry
March 16th, 2015
The Importance of Fathers’ Involvement in their Child’s Education
We like to think we’ve come a long way in terms of equality, yet in many ways, ‘traditional’ mother/father roles continue to define many aspects of our children’s upbringing. Take schooling; it seems that most forums regarding educational advice/suggested reading material etc., are rife with comments by mothers, and sadly lacking in comments by fathers. It can be the same at school; contemporary literature and films have done plenty to highlight the figure of the ‘tiger mother’, who closely supervises her child’s every move, is competitive with other mothers and ‘pushy’ when it comes to academic achievement. Funnily enough, we probably don’t really come across stereotypical ‘competitive dads,’ unless, of course, you’re talking sport. Once again, the typical scenario is the dad who spends endless hours watching and playing football with their son, or clashing with the team coach over decisions on the field.
Stereotypes are always harmful; not only because they inaccurately reflect reality, but also because they can foster the kind of behavior they describe. Thus, mothers may think that areas like education and schooling, are mainly their domain or concern, while dads should be in charge of selecting suitable sporting and other extra-curricular activities.
Research has shown that children with fathers who are involved are 70 per cent less likely to drop out of school and are 40 per cent less likely to repeat a grade in school. But what does ‘involved’ mean to you? For many, this might being there for your children: seeing them regularly, letting your children know they can count on you when needed, calling them regularly, etc. However, we would argue that it is vital that fathers also play an active role in making important decisions about schooling. These are just a few considerations you may like to take into account, if you are thinking of becoming more involved:
Choice of school: State or private? Mixed or co-educational? When choosing a school for your child, their needs should be the primary consideration. Parents of children with a learning condition like ADHD, for instance, should ensure that their child’s school has a good program run by skilled professionals who can help them bring out their best. The same can be said for other special needs children like advanced learners: is there a special program to cater to their needs at school? How big are teacher-to-student ratios? If the ratio is too large and your child has special needs, could their educational needs be suffering?
Homework: How much homework is ideal? Educators tend to disagree on this important matter, with some saying that homework has no quantifiable benefit, while others insisting that it is a vital part of a good work/study ethic. How many minutes do you think your child should ideally spend on homework tasks after school and do you think they need extra work in addition to what is provided by the school? If so, what should this consist of? Extra material? Tutoring?
Extra-curricular activities: Kids can keep really busy and parents, too, can find it difficult to keep up with the array of extra-curricular activities their kids can be involved in – everything from languages to sports, music and art. Have you expressed your voice when it comes to selecting activities for your child? Divorced fathers may leave the choice up to their child’s mother, yet keeping quiet about their wishes is hardly beneficial. In fact, it can lead to pent-up anger and frustration at always having to ‘go with the flow’. It is important to be assertive when it comes to our children, especially if we have discovered that they have a hidden talent, or, on the contrary, that they have a weakness they should strengthen. Kids who have a problem with coordination, for instance, can greatly benefit from both sport and music lessons, while those who are very sporty but may be lagging behind at school, might find a big improvement by joining a reading group or learning a new language. If they have dyslexia, pursuing an individual or team sport can be highly beneficial. If you have discovered interesting information regarding activities you feel are suitable for your child make sure to discuss this with your child’s mother.
Confessions of a Deadbeat Dad
by Todd Bottom
" 'Confessions' is a must-read for anyone going through a divorce or separation, or who is interested in understanding the issues that modern fathers face. Dr. Bottom does great work for fathers and non-custodial parents across the country, from hands on teaching in Illinois and across the U.S. to providing research to promote the well-being of fathers and those who support them. " Steven Westerfield – President, Illinois Fathers
Child Custody, Visitation and Support in Illinois
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As recommended by our members, this book is an excellent resource to consider for Pro-Se representation in Illinois.
The Good Karma Divorce
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We hear about divorce and Judges who break up families all the time, but to read a book like this from a Judge out of Chicago? A very refreshing read. Highly recommended for anyone going through litigation.
Men To Boys
by Janks Morton
On May 11, 2010, the board of directors of Illinois Fathers attended a showing of this film. The producer asked all the boys in the audience of 150 to stand up. Then he asked two questions. 1) If your parents were never married, sit down. 2) If your parents divorced when you were young, sit down. Only three boys remained standing. This film addresses the needs in the African American community from the utter lack of paternal involvement in the children's lives across our Nation.
Taken Into Custody
by Dr. Stephen Baskerville
Taken Into Custody exposes the greatest and most destructive civil rights abuse in America today. Family courts and Soviet-style bureaucracies trample basic civil liberties, entering homes uninvited and taking away people's children at will, then throwing the parents into jail without any form of due process, much less a trial. No parent, no child, no family in America is safe. - Amazon
Note: Illinois Fathers generates no revenue from the listing of these recommendations, these are listed as a public good to bring awareness to media that we consider insightful and well reasoned. Listings are approved by the board of directors.