Do children need fathers?

The charity Families Need Fathers has succeeded in making child
contact arrangements an issue of men’s civil rights – and the
Conservative Party has decided that dividing children equally
between divorced parents is a vote-winning policy. Research tells a
different story. A new study from Oxford University suggests that
whether parents are together or separated, it is the quality of
family relationships that makes the difference to children, not the
quantity of time spent with one or other parent. Other studies have
found that after parents separate, children who have regular
contact with their fathers do better than those who have none, but
most of these studies fail to account for the quality of the father
and child’s relationship before separation. Involved fathers
(and mothers) are good for children. Whether it is good for
children to regularly move between two homes is less obvious.

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