The Chicago Family Law Blog

Dads' Role In Raising Girls Crucial After Divorce

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A USA Today article from several years ago highlights a film about a teenage girl whose poetry reflects her "yearning for her absent dad." It's a work of fiction, but studies show that girls whose fathers aren't around as they grow up because of a divorce or otherwise, lack important guidance.

That means divorce attorneys in Chicago and elsewhere should do whatever they can to negotiate adequate visitation of daughters by their fathers; based solely on the premise that it's in the best interests of developing girls.

San Diego psychologist Constance Ahrons, author of The Good Divorce, told the newspaper that girls isolated from their fathers tend to idealize the absent dad and yearn for attention. But she says, this doesn't always play out in healthy ways:

"They're seeking 'the good dad' out there. [Boys yearn, too] but it tends to get translated into sexuality only for girls."

A short column in the Chicago Tribune's family section echoes similar concerns about girls with absent dads; including early sexuality, leaving home, quitting school and having generally unhealthy relationships with men.

Our point is that young girls may go out and find males early in life if none show up in their family experience. And there are males out there subconsciously or consciously looking for emotionally vulnerable, young women.

One notable study out of Duke University cited by the USA Today article found that a girl with an absent father is roughly five times more likely to have been sexually active by age 16 if her father left the family before she was six years old, as compared to girls from two-parent homes.

Studies also show that dads who get to see their children are far more likely to pay child support, as cited by the USA Today article.

Related Resources:

  • Ten Tips for Dads after Divorce: Birthdays and Holidays (FindLaw)
  • Five Tips on Child Custody and Visitation (FindLaw Law & Daily Life Blog)
  • Directory of Chicago Family Law Attorneys (FindLaw)

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