Sunday is Father's Day, but for many households across America, this isn't your father's Father's Day. Changing dynamics of the American family mean many children don't have a father in the home. "Approximately 40% of children are being raised in single-parent families, and the overwhelming majority of those are single moms," says Houston marriage and family therapist Julie Nise. She tells KTRH that is a disturbing trend. "Children desperately need two parents, and the very best thing for a child is to be raised in a stable, two-parent family."
The biggest factor Nise sees in the decline of the traditional family is misplaced priorities by adults. "What I see most of the time (in my practice) is parents, especially moms, making their own feelings and their own needs bigger than that of the children," she says. "And when you have kids the whole definition is the world stops being about you and needs to start being about them." Nise cites rising divorce rates as an example of this family breakdown, and says women are often the deciding factor. "In fact, it's the wife who files for divorce in about two-thirds of cases among couples with children, according to the National Center for Health Statistics," she reports.
Statistics show that even among two-parent households, the family dynamics are changing. The Pew Research Center recently found that mothers are now the primary income-earners in 40% of families, while the number of stay-at-home dads has doubled in the past decade. It remains to be seen what impact, if any, those changes will have on children. But when it comes to the trend of fewer fathers in the home, Nise says it is undoubtedly harmful to kids. "This is declining rapidly, generationally...this is really a serious problem in this country."