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(USA) Dad strives to be there for daughter

Children growing up without their fathers are twice as likely to drop out of high school, according to a National Center for Health Statistics survey on child health.

Children growing up without their fathers are twice as likely to drop out of high school, according to a National Center for Health Statistics survey on child health. Multiple studies show that youths are at a higher risk of developing drinking and smoking habits, substance abuse or getting in trouble with the law. Despite statistics indicating the need for both parents taking an active interest in their children's lives, only 13 states in the U.S. have fatherhood initiatives, Bordello said.

Dad strives to be there for daughter

Deseret News
21 June 2009

Dad strives to be there for daughter
By Lana Groves

John Garcia and his daughter Gabriela

John Garcia and his daughter Gabriela

While other children were playing video games or watching TV, John Garcia was baby-sitting his siblings at the early age of 5.

Garcia said his parents consisted of his mother and stepfather - an abusive man who was often away from home - and that they would stay out late at nightclubs, leaving their kids alone.

"I felt like I never got to have a childhood," said Garcia, now 49. "I wanted to get away from my stepdad, so I started doing drugs, started robbing. Young people today just want to be accepted by somebody, and if parents don't provide that, the kids will look to the streets and gangs."

And years later Garcia has children of his own that he wants to be a strong role model for, but with a custody battle looming ahead, the West Valley resident might see less of them.

"I didn't meet my dad till I was 12 years old. He promised he would keep in contact with me, but he didn't," Garcia said. "I want to be there for my kids."

Five of Garcia's six children are grown and living in California, but his 9-year-old daughter, Gabriela, who lives in Utah with him, is in the middle of a custody battle between Garcia and his soon-to-be ex-wife.

Garcia brought Gabriela with him to the 100th Father's Day Anniversary organized by the Fathers and Families Coalition of America on Thursday, trying to do everything with the little girl whom he considers his whole life.

Despite custody concerns, Garcia keeps taking fatherhood and nurturing classes offered by the coalition in the hopes that he can be a better dad to his kids.

The program offers typically mother-oriented classes to fathers in the community so they, too, can learn new techniques in regard to rearing their offspring.

"Gender roles are changing in our country; it's becoming more of a balance in parenting," said Angela Romera, program coordinator at the Sorenson Unity Center, which hosted the event. "Mothers are working full time, and fathers are taking a more nurturing role."

And Frank Bordello, state director of the Fathers and Families Coalition, plans to expand programs in Utah offering resources for single and co-parent fathers to prevent domestic violence, child abuse and gangs. Children growing up without their fathers are twice as likely to drop out of high school, according to a National Center for Health Statistics survey on child health.

Multiple studies show that youths are at a higher risk of developing drinking and smoking habits, substance abuse or getting in trouble with the law.

Despite statistics indicating the need for both parents taking an active interest in their children's lives, only 13 states in the U.S. have fatherhood initiatives, Bordello said.

"It's the stereotype that fathers are the breadwinners and mothers stay at home," Romero said. "But the old family structure is changing."

For Garcia, he just wants to raise his daughter to be a good person and "keep out of trouble" by being a role model for her.

"Fathers play a very important role. Kids look up to dad," he said. "And as parents, we have to be careful what we say and do. Eyes are always watching."


Comments

Eight comments to read:

M | 10:27 p.m. June 20, 2009

Fathers and Families is an amazing organization, I'm glad to see they're getting some credit and recognition. Fathers are very important in the lives of their children, and that's something our society seems to have lost sight of.



Dad's raising children | 5:39 a.m. June 21, 2009

I am one father who really believes that fathers are better at parenting than most mothers. I raised my 3 children and what this story says has a lot of merit and truth. One problem of single fathers is getting state support in raising them, it is a very discriminating system. For some illogical reason the state and courts discriminate against fathers as parents. Courts and laws think that only mothers can nurture children but this is false and not true. Anytime a father is determined to get custody of his children, it should be given serious and a preferential decision.

Child support has become too much of an issue that negatively impacts children's lives as they watch both parents in a constant life long battle over money. For this reason I opted out of any child support and put my children first and above all others.

Although fathers have some of the same problems in child peer pressures that children face, the fathers seem better able to help children cope with it.

Single fathers are proving themselves all the time as a responsible parent able to raise children in a happier and stable home.

Happy FATHERS day.



Lisa - 143 | 6:00 a.m. June 21, 2009

You are a wonderful father Jared! Creating many great memories and experiences is one of you many great qualities you share with your children. Thanks for sharing with us as well! We are all proud of you… keep it up! Love- Lisa and kids



Another Dad | 9:18 a.m. June 21, 2009

I two have raised my two sons without their mother, they were 6 years old and 12 years old when their mother decided to leave and find herself. I won a temporary court decision to keep my boys that turned into permanent one. The mother was to preoccupied having fun its been 18 years, their grown and great men now, at my own personal cost. I never remarried. And for the first seven years took a job with a Hugh pay-cut so I could be at home and be with my boys.

Men aren't necessarily the better parent, Just the parent one who puts their kids above everything else in this life.. Simple as that.

Loving being a dad



Anony | 9:29 a.m. June 21, 2009

While I agree that in many cases the father should be the main custodian, many of these comments seem geared toward saying the father should ALWAYS be the main custodian, and that just isn't the case. I am a single mom, and my children are much better off with me… trust me. There are still lots of deadbeat dads out there who don't know how to keep kids safe. Conversely, I agree… there are now lots of deadbeat moms out there who aren't vested. It goes both ways.



Brett | 10:26 a.m. June 21, 2009

I was excited to see these articles in the paper this morning.

I was a single father for 7 years., raising my son since he was 18 months old w/o a mother in the house.

Single mom's get a lot of attention, and I know many who do a wonderful job on their own. However society rarely ever recognizes or even mentions single dad's… and there are more out there than most people realize who are trying to do the best they can in a similar way single mom's do. It's to bad there is little support for single dad's in society.

I have since re-married and my son has a wonderful step-mom who is there for him. Thanks for letting people know that there are good single dad's out there living all around us.



Eve | 11:02 a.m. June 21, 2009

I think it's time we got some of these single dads and single moms together. I think we all have a lot in common and could use the support of someone who really knows what it's like.

Happy Fathers day to all you dads.



loving life | 1:55 p.m. June 21, 2009

I agree that the mother isn't always the best choice my husband and i are raising 2 of his 3 kids. His ex kicked his 12 year old out because he was causing to much problems. Then the second kid came to use when he was 11 cause she was working full time going to school full time and dating full time and wondered why the kids wanted to be with us. Its not really about who's better the mom or the dad its about who is going to put there child or children first before them selfs! To many parents nowadays are to worried about finding someone else that they forget the children in the mess. I'm glad that dad's are stepping up and fighting for what's right because i have no doubt that men can do it just like us woman can. Its all about who is going to put the kids first and not worry about there selfs first that's what its all about!

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