In fairy tales, the stepmother is the enemy, but father surrogates—a man who takes over the functions of the biological father—are often considered a great addition to a family. The conventional wisdom is that children of single mothers, especially boys, need a man in the home to provide a role model. Unfortunately, some studies find that children with a father surrogate living at home are more likely to be reported for maltreatment—abuse and neglect—than those with a biological father at home or, as some research shows, no father figure at all.
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