Myth 7: A married, live-in, biological father is always best.

ImageBarney was right. “A family is people and a family is love. That’s a family.” Research by the American Sociological Association shows that children receive the same benefits from any type of live-in father with very few exceptions. The study looked at how much time the youngest child spent with his/her biological mother in a variety of family structures that included biological fathers, stepfathers, or unmarried live-in partners. Across the board, children spend the same amount of time with the mother in all families. Children spent the least amount of time with live-in married stepfathers. And, oddly, they spent the same amount of time with live-in married biological fathers as they spent with unmarried live-in partners.

The study also showed that kids spend 5 hours per week more with mom than with dad, girls spend more time with mom and boys spend more time with dad. No surprise there. But this is interesting. When moms get especially busy at work and spend longer hours there, kids spend less time with her, but the same is not true for dads. When dad works unusually long hours in a week kids spend more time him. Read more details about this study…

A similar study was published in the Journal of Marriage and Family. It looked an children born to unmarried parents and the roles fathers played in their lives. Results of that study showed that married stepfathers were considerably more positively engaged in the lives of the children than the unmarried biological fathers. The conclusion for this group was that marriage is a better indicator of paternal involvement than biological attachment. Read more details about this study…

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