Do kids who grow up without dads have three strikes against them? It has long been assumed that an absent father and a single-parent household (with the parent usually being the mother) deprives children of the skills they need to be socially and academically successful. But that isn’t necessarily so. In a new study, researchers found that conjugal multiplicity, in which women have multiple partners, was in fact a strategic adaptation to the conditions of poverty that in fact provides developmental advantages for poor children in rural Jamaica. In a country where no public welfare system exists, having multiple partners enables Jamaican mothers to receive and combine resources from each of the children’s fathers, who are culturally obligated to provide material support, however meager their earnings.

Researcher Melanie Dreher says, "Legal marriage is a highly useful institution in populations that are propertied and economically solvent and in which women can draw on resources other than their fertility. For women living in societies in which men are economically marginal, however, it may be a liability."

In other words, this study gives us confirmation that the kids are all right–or ARE they? If your children think you work too much and don’t spend enough time with them, they may become transformed into BULLIES. Sociologist Andre Christie-Mizell says, “Our behavior is driven by our perception of our world, so if children feel they are not getting enough time and attention from parents then those feelings have to go somewhere and it appears in interaction with their peers.” His study showed that when fathers worked full time or overtime and children perceived that they did not spend enough time with their fathers that bullying behavior increased–However, mothers’ work hours showed modest to no effect on bullying behavior.

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