New research studies show effect fatherly influence can have on - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

New research studies show effect fatherly influence can have on children

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MADISON (WKOW)-- Father's Day is seen by many as the one day each year that you set aside some time to honor the male role models in your life. For 24 million children in America, it's just another day. That's the number of children living without their father, according to the latest census data. What it means is 1 out of every 3 children in America are living without a father.

There have been numerous studies on the importance of a nurturing mother in a child's life, but many experts believe the importance of fatherly influence has been greatly ignored by many in the academic community. In recent years however, a handful of studies have shown just how important a positive male role model can be.

According to the American Enterprise Institute, teenagers with involved fathers are 98% more likely to graduate college. The National Father Initiative's website also highlights several research projects that shows how a fatherly influence can affect a child in many other ways as well. Children with a positive male role model in their lives are less likely to abuse drugs and alcohol, commit crimes, develop emotional and behavioral problems and are also at a lower risk of developing childhood obesity.

Many experts believe it only takes a few minutes each day for a father to create a lasting influence on his children. All you have to do is find a common interest and schedule time to do it. For many fathers, sports have provided the perfect platform for developing a strong relationship with their children. That was the idea behind a busy day at Odana Hills Golf Course where nearly a hundred father/son and father/daughter groups showed up for some bonding time.

"It's a good day, fathers day. Not a bad day to be out here with my dad," son Billy Walsh says.

"Spending time with your son and daughters and family, it's the best day of the year for me," father Michael Walsh adds.

It's not uncommon to see three or even four generations of fathers and sons playing golf on Madison area golf courses on Father's Day. Many families have kept the tradition alive for decades. It's a viable goal for Chris Johnson who hopes to be golfing with his teenage sons for many years to come.

"It's one of those things, something we can play for years and years. Hopefully we can get together on future Father's Days too as we get older," Johnson says.

Experts say male role models don't necessarily have to be the child's father, just someone who cares about the child and is willing to spend time with them.

Big Brothers Big Sisters has plenty of role models ready and willing to work with young children. For more information, visit their website at

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