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What you didn't know having a father was saving you from
8 jaw-dropping facts about the importance of fathers. - photo by Tana Bolinger
In 2014, 17.4 million children lived in a fatherless home. Every year there are more single moms raising children on their own. Despite the trend that seems to be rapidly increasing, there have been numerous studies that prove how essential a dad is to a childs success and overall happiness.

Here are some of the facts:

1. Children with fathers are less likely to live in poverty

In 2011, it was reported that fatherless homes were four times more likely to suffer from poverty. Single mothers work hard to provide for their families; but having a working father significantly reduces chances of poverty.

2. Children with fathers are less likely to experiment with drugs and alcohol

In the "Journal of Marriage and Family," it was reported that adolescents without a solid family structure or a working man in the home are much more prone to experiment with drugs and alcohol.

3. Girls without fathers are 3.5 times more likely to experience teenage pregnancy

A study of 264 adolescent women seeking psychological services found that the rate of pregnancy among those in a father-absent home was 17.4 percent, compared to 4 percent in a two-parent household.

4. Children with fathers perform better in school

The Department of Education performed a study that compared the academic success of children and the family structure they were being provided with. It concluded that children with fathers who were involved at home and at school were 43 percent more likely to receive As. Children without involved fathers were twice as likely to repeat a grade.

5. Children with fathers think more independently

Mothers often worry about their childs safety and are afraid to encourage risk-taking; whereas fathers push them to test certain boundaries, like jumping in the deep end, for example.

6. Children with fathers learn and grow from roughhousing

Roughhousing is something that fathers are known for. The U.S. Childrens Bureau explains that roughhousing can teach children how to control their emotions and refrain from aggressive impulses and physical contact.

7. Children with fathers are better problem solvers

In a study from the Father Involvement Research Alliance, it was discovered that children who had a father in the home ... continue to have higher cognitive functioning, are better problem solvers as toddlers, and have higher IQs by age three.

8. Children with fathers have less psychological problems

Especially in teenage girls, depression often occurs when there is little to no balance in a childs life. In the "Journal of Marriage and Family," Tami M. Videon shared that the stronger a child's relationship is with their father, the less likely they were to experience depression.

Your role as a dad is highly important. These statistics show that children are more social, adaptable, courageous and overall happy when they have an involved, loving father.

Do not EVER underestimate your influence on your childs life. You make more of a difference than you realize. Let that influence be for good.

If you are reading these facts as a single mother, encourage male family members -- uncles, grandfathers, etc. -- to be positive male role models in your children's lives.