Are fathers being in a child's life more important than mothers being in a child's life?

I was just having a conversation about parenting, and it got me thinking.

Statistically, a boy without a father or with a bad father is more likely to act out and get into trouble.
A girl without a father or with a bad example of a man is more likely to choose men that aren't so good.

A boy without a mother isn't as likely to behave as mentioned above.
A girl without a mother, with a good father, is less likely than the ones mentioned above to choose bad boyfriends.

For generations we've said children need their mothers, and they do. And only recently have we placed such emphasis on the need of Fathers in a child's life.

Are fathers much more important than we'd thought?
The conversation I had today about kids without one parent really really made me think.

I've always said the mother is the heart of the home and the father is the head of the home. But is it in fact the other way around? Do we fall apart more when we don't have father's? And really, the mother does make most decisions in the home usually- How to decorate, where the kids will go for babysitting, what clothes the kids wear, what they'll have for dinner today. So to me, it now seems the father is the heart while the mother is the head.

What do you think?


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What Guys Said 28

  • You know, I don't know but I do know that I take my job as a father unbelievably seriously. I went through a rough divorce and I had to fight for every second that I have with my daughters. To the courts, it didn't matter that I was the one who cooked all of their meals. It didn't matter that I did all the grocery shopping, that I was the sole contributor to their college funds, their clothing, their food, their daycare, or their extra-curricular activities (their mother is an exorbitant spender). When the orders were first filed, the courts gave me ONE day per week with my girls. In the end, things ended up ok -- I get six out of 14 days, which didn't make me happy but when I talked to my attorney about it, I realized that I was just being unreasonable.

    But you know what really gave me faith that things would be ok? I have this nanny who helps me on Saturdays for gymnastics. Her father relinquished all claim on her in exchange for not having to pay back child support and this act completely crushed her and she has not seen this guy since that day in court. However, she admits that to this day, there are times when she wants to call him up and ask if she could come over and just hang out with him. I have this other friend who is 36 and just got married. She never knew her dad, but a few days after her wedding, she posted on Facebook how she wishes that her dad would call her so she could talk to him.

    I think about how shitty these two guys are as fathers, yet these women still seek them out. At that point, I realized that no matter what the courts decided, it would always be ok. It might not be what I wanted but so long as I was there and maximized whatever time I got with them, we'd be ok as a family.

    After typing this, I'm no longer certain this has anything to do with your question.

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  • I think they're equally important. Balance is important. and most single people have difficulty achieving a balance, because they tend to only have a single view, and real life is much more complex than that. I think everyone needs to experience both a practical and an emotional perspective.

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  • Its hard to say because unfortunately our laws all cater to the mother, men rarely get full custody of children (in fact its about only 1% of the time) so its hard to make a comparison because all we have are single mother homes not the other way around. Now are fathers much more important then society wants to admit? Absolutely and all data supports this conclusion empathetically. However I see it as both mother and father are vital to the growth of a child. Mothers love nurtures but it also smothers the child as well, the father helps counter this by forcing the child to have a healthy separation from the mother in order to develop on their own and to help find their place in the world. Its kind of like asking what's more important to a plant soil or water and sunlight. You take away one of those and the plant dies. I think this is how children and people are. However that is just my opinion, as stated we don't have the data to determine otherwise (and quite honestly we do have an extreme bias towards mothers then we do fathers which is also something that needs to be accounted for).

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  • I think it has to do with discipline. Fathers tend to be more strict and they generally prepare their kids for the real world, unlike mothers who tend to be less strict, and focus more on the kid having what they want.
    I think that's the main problem to why soooo many single mothers fail, and why it's one of the main factors of kids who have shitty lives. It's because the mother doesn't really prepare them for the real world like a father would. That's why you have so many snowflakes today.

    It's no secret that fathers tend to impose more discipline, and if you're not disciplined in life, you're gonna have huge problems.

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  • both parents are equally important in rearing a child. one is not better than the other in terms of gender.

    how the parents choose to behave is a case by case basis. there are poor mothers and fathers out there in the world.

    children learn how to behave from the people they are around (mostly and usually their parents) if a child is acting out it is typically because they are craving more attention.

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  • If we're comparing a healthy relationship between two married parents with child and a healthy relationship between single parent with child. Then it depends on how you look at it. Young boys growing up need their mom more than their dad, until around 11-13 because then he needs dad more. In his formative years where he decides the type of man he'll be he needs a strong respectable male figure in his life.
    For girls the reverse is true. Her self esteem is more closely related to a good relationship with her father growing up. When period time comes around she needs mom more.
    Both genders need to see what a healthy relationship between man and woman looks like.

    That's why fully formed healthy family units are ideal.

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  • I think it is important to have both parents who love and support one another so that an example of a healthy relationship is shown to the kids and the kids get the lessons from both parents rather than just one, but if the relationship between the parents is broken or destructive then it may be better for them to be raised by a single parent

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  • Nope. Depends on how good the parent is. One can have lousy mothers and fathers. Or one can have great mothers and friends fathers.

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  • I think both parents are both important in a child's development, they both have different roles to play in a child's life. The role of a father is just as an important as the mother's, vice a versa.

    As a child myself from having a mother and a father in my life, I think I needed them both in my life, they both played an important part in my life. They should not even be compared.

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  • Most kids grow up without a father. Even the ones that technically have one, he is busy working, while the mother gets to enjoy being there with the kids. I wish I could have it where I only work part time and find a mate that is okay with that, and I would get to spend plenty of time with my kids when I have them.

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  • Could you post the statistics or the source where you got this from? I'm just kinda skeptical of your claims.

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    • 15d

      It's no secret that most criminals come from single mother homes. There's many studies.
      I'll leave you a link:
      lib.post.ca.gov/.../Safe_Harbor.pdf

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    • 15d

      @AleDeEurope Yeah but what if there were respectively 70% more single mothers. Like I agree with you that single fathers most likely are on average better parents just because the shitty ones usually just bail out and you have to have your shit together to win custody. But you'd have to make a direct comparison between the statistics from single father households compared to single mother households and I'd be interested to see how the differences would be.

    • 14d

      @AleDeEurope I looked on the link. What I found is that if we cut welfare from single mothers, we would save a ton of tax dollars. :)
      Seriously though, I've worked in elementary schools for years, and I can tell you that kids without fathers make up most of the ones with persistent bad behavior problems. I think fathers just tend to have better and more consistent behavior management skills. Though, the kids with mothers tend to eat healthier more often.

  • Tbh, i dun really care whether a father or a mother is more important. A good parent is what is important no matter their gender. A good mother will teach her daughter on how a good man will be.

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  • where are the statistics to prove these statements in the first place?

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  • Its equal but usually whatever that child's gender is the opposite sex parent is more important. So a daughter needs her father more and a son needs his mother more.

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  • In most cases, the mother is the head and the father is at the heart so both parents are important. But I personally think men make better single parents.

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  • Having a 'biological' father and mother has it perks. But what children need is both a good "FATHER FIGURE" and good "MOTHER FIGURE". Having input from both genders will give the child balanced upbringing.

    In think both is equally important. But if one is missing, that missing FIGURE should somehow be filled up.

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  • Mother is more important being the better nurturer. Father's presence is still needed though, just not as much.

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  • No, all things being equal the mother would be more important. Of course a good father is more important than a bad mother, so it depends

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  • I hardly doubt it

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  • I grew up without a mother perfectly fine, I don't need her. It doesn't really matter who, just how the person is. Stop making this a competition :/

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  • They're equally important for the children

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  • Depends on gender and period of child's life

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  • absulutely correct after 2 years of age.

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  • Maddenis123 said it best.

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  • nope but that doesn't mean fathers are sux. they are needed af.

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  • I think they are both equally important.

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  • The question is unfairly skewed against women. Many women are single moms because they deliberately got pregnant so as to claim a living from welfare or because they divorced the father for alimony and child support the father was a deadbeat but single fathers on the other hand are because the courts always biased towards the mother single fathers are usually good parents who have custody because the mother died, abandoned the family or were serious negligent/abusive parents. (Its amazing what a bad parent has to do to get their kids removed by social services). So basically there are more bad single moms because single fathers are a rarity.

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  • Mother's are considered far more important early on. Which makes sense even from a biological standpoint.

    After that, historically speaking, I believe fathers and mothers typically take on different roles. The father setting an example of how to be and the mother being there to lean on for emotional support.
    As for those two I would believe the example more important than the support, mainly due to good friends filling the support role but more likely than not being unable to fill that of an example. It is not that the father is more important but what he does is more difficult to substitute.

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What Girls Said 4

  • Both parents are important, but it's my personal opinion that the mother is more important.

    I grew up in a divorced home, going between both parents. I clearly see the impact my mother has had on my life compared to my dad, and it's more significant.

    It also may be because I'm female and I relate more and look up to the female figure in my life.

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  • Both parents a equally as important.
    I grew up without my father and, and I wouldn't just say I was fine, but I was actually much better off. My mother is an amazing lady.
    ... but I'm glad and relieved that my daughter has her dad in her life. I never experienced how important that bond was for myself, but I see it in them.

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  • I think humans are adaptable. There is no single right way of raising a child.

    My parents divorced when I was very young and as a child I would spend time with each parent separately. They both had very different ways of raising me, but I see that as due to a difference in their personalities not their gender. Both of their methods worked on me and my siblings. I think having family (or guardians) and lots of love is what really matters, not the gender or the number of parents you have.

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  • It took both of them to get the child here so the child will NEED BOTH..

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