New Study Shows a Home With a Mom and a Dad Drastically Improves Boys Behavior in School

By: Tia Johnson 0 Comments   2/21/2012

My 2-year-old son doesn't realize it, but I'm already planning for his education. I've identified behaviors I can address now regarding his pursuit of learning. We've also instituted a few habits which we hope to give him a boost. One of them is being read to by Dad.

When Dad started reading to him (instead of just mom), his interest in books spiked.

Apparently, just having a Dad in the picture gives our son a spike regarding education.

A study highlighted by CitizenLink reveals that dads make the difference regarding their sons' attitude in school. The greatest influence on the behavior of boys while at school is the presence of both parents.

Conversely, boys raised by single mothers had the most behavioral problems. (This outcome was not the same among girls raised by single mothers.)

The findings were gathered after looking at 20 years of school suspension rates. Authors of the study highlighted their concern for the post-high school education of boys as their motivation for research.

"We suggest that boys' higher tendency to act out, and develop conduct problems, might be particularly relevant to their relative absence in colleges," said the authors of the study.

Their motivation is a valid one. If boys decide not to pursue a higher education, our nation will suffer a great loss of potential in creativity and innovation, especially in the loss of business profit which could result from a well-educated young adult.

Yet a dad in the picture provides more than the potential for a stronger economy. Truly, the presence of fathers is powerful and influential and has helped carve history-- for better or for worse. A father is so influential that even his negative influences can bear the same negative fruit in his son. Old Testament Kings often passed down their evil or good hearts.

Good kings learned from good fathers: "And he (Jehoshaphat) walked in the way of his father Asa," in 2 Chronicles 20:32 and "he (Uzziah) did what was right in the sight of the Lord, according to all that his father Amaziah had done," in 2 Chronicles 26:4. Bad kings learned from poor fatherly examples: "But he (Amon) did evil in the sight of the Lord, as his father Manasseh had done" in 2 Chronicles 33:22.

Today, we see a similar influence of fathers. Former president George W. Bush had the rare indulgence of having a living father who had also served as president available for counsel, and he writes of this blessing in his book. In another instance, Ryan Dobson seems to have walked in his father's influence as he began his own radio ministry. His father, Dr. James Dobson, founder of Focus on the Family, later joined him.

We also see contemporary examples of a father's negative influence. When North Korea's leader Kim Jong-il passed away, his son stepped in as successor, and has already been muddling with dangerous nuclear testing as his father had.

A look at history and experience points to the importance of a father's positive influence in the home. Those at the University of Chicago, who conducted the research, confirm it.

"In particular, we find that boys' higher likelihood to act out and eventually experience a school suspension is about twice as large in the sample of children raised by single mothers," the authors of the study wrote.

Other research in the report illustrated possible reasons why boys' school behavior seem more effected by a missing dad than girls. In the study it was reported that single mothers generally spend 1.2 to 1.4 fewer hours with their sons than their daughters while under age 5 per week. The authors stated that single mothers appear to be more distant from their sons than their daughters.

This early difference may impact a boy over time. It appears that boys need parental involvement when they are young and are more likely to act out when it is missing by the time they reach middle school. Family structure seems to impact both genders more equally in the young ages of grade school, but by the 8th grade, the greater impact on boys is obvious.

"One possibility is that boys raised without a biological father receive especially low levels of parental inputs, parental warmth and emotional supportiveness, or parental expectations, compared to girls raised in similar families," the authors of the study wrote. A boy with an absent father seems more likely to have behavior issues in school by the middle-school age than a girl with an absent father.

Obviously, fathers have the potential to play a powerful role in the generation they've planted. The research presented shows that boys without a father present in the home act out more in school. Could it be that this "acting out" or getting in trouble results from a lack of purpose and direction-- something which fathers can uniquely provide for their sons?

The examples above illustrate differing purposes being passed down from the father: some positive and some negative. Possibly, without a father present, might boys more often say in regard to their choices, "I just don't care!", disregarding the consequences of their behavior in school and hopelessly un-planning their future? 

In the case of a single-parent home, maybe the best measure for a boy is to get to know a father who cares relentlessly and unconditionally: the God of the Bible. Maybe this would motivate a boy to see a future hope and sharpen the talents God has given him.

Maybe then he could become the dad he should have had.

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