Saturday, August 14, 2004

Can fathers even do this?

Psychology Today has posted an interesting article on the importance of fatherhood. Some of it is obvious, as in "most kids yearn for two parents". Some of it I've read about previously, such as,

Studies show that the risk of juvenile delinquency, substance abuse, sexual abuse, early pregnancy and dropping out of high school is six times higher for children whose biological fathers are not part of their lives.

What was news to me, though, is the research showing that girls not only get pregnant earlier, but are even more likely to undergo puberty earlier, if their biological father is absent.

Researchers speculate that the presence of an unrelated male adult in the house triggers early menarche and sexual readiness; this doesn't occur when the biological father is present.

I expect we need to wait for further research to confirm or deny this, but if true it shows the extent to which humans are adapted for a traditional family structure, and the subsequent importance of the fatherly role within the family.

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