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Single or married: Fathers help Virginia children excel in life

We discussed how a father plays a big part in a child's life in our blog last week. What some of our Virginia readers might not realize is that for many children, their father is their only parent. Even when there is a mother in the picture, fathers often have more significant roles in a child's life than they have in the past.

Approximately 2 million single fathers lived in the United States in 2013. All told, there were 70.1 million fathers estimated that year with 24.7 million of those being married men with children under age 18 in the home.

Single fathers accounted for 17 percent of the single custodial parents in the country. Of those, 9 percent had more than three children at home. Interestingly approximately 44 percent of those men were divorced and 33 percent were never married.

When it comes to the married men, there were around 214,000 stay-at-home dads. These men were out of the workforce for at least a year. They had a working wife and at least one child under age 15.

Having a father who is active in their life helps children to feel more secure. These children show better performance in school. That isn't to say that the father has to live with the child. Even if the father is a non-custodial parent, simply being active in the child's life can help the child.

As we discussed last week, fathers have a right to be in a child's life. Knowing how to assert those rights and determining how to seek them is vital for any father who is embarking on the journey to active parenting.

Source: National Responsible Fatherhood Clearinghouse, "Dad Stats" Dec. 23, 2014

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