Globe and Mail

A father in the house

B. Jenkins
Letter to the Editor of The Globe and Mail
Thursday, October 14, 1999

Mississauga -- I found Teenage Daughters Still Find Dad Distant (Oct. 11) interesting, but its conclusions overlook the importance of a father's presence in preventing problems.

The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University in New York produced a study that stated that more than twice as many teens say it's easier to talk to Mom than Dad about drugs (57 per cent v. 26 per cent). However, the presence of a father in the house reduced the abuse of drugs by more than 30 per cent. In a two-parent household, where a father is involved with the child, the risk is reduced 68 per cent.

The presence and involvement of a father in his children's lives has a substantial impact. When looking at preventing drug, alcohol and tobacco abuse, teenage pregnancy and violent behaviour, the presence of a father has been shown to be consistently the most important factor, whether the child felt Dad was more approachable after the problem arose or not.

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