In light of the commemoration of Father’s Day Sunday, I would like to thank Edward Kruk for his op-ed column on Friday and The Washington Times for publishing it (“Dads needed on Father’s Day”).
The piece is an outstanding review of the developmental literature on the importance of fathers in children’s lives. In addition to the cited research showing that father involvement improves children’s developmental outcomes on a wide range of measures, I would note that there is another body of research showing that fathers reduce negative developmental outcomes more powerfully than do mothers.
As Mr. Kruk reported, there is an incomprehensible disconnect between what the research literature says our nation’s family policy should be when it comes to fathers and what America’s family policy actually is. This gap must be bridged in the direction of the research literature, as the research literature does not lie. Legislators, the divorce industry, the domestic-violence industry, divorce lawyers and family-court judges sometimes do, however.
Hopefully, some of this gap will be narrowed this November through the electoral process. The bottom line is unambiguously clear and very simple: Children need fathers in their lives not only on Father’s Day - one measly day a year - but every day.
GORDON E. FINLEY
Professor of psychology emeritus
Florida International University