Dad, Where Are You?
This blog post is very personal for me. Even as I just think about writing it, my emotions range from deep sadness to extreme anger, which propel me to action. The negative impact of fatherlessness is staggering.
Many of America’s ills can be traced back to fatherlessness. Sadly, 40% of American children don’t have Dad at home. I was one of those children.
When Dad and Mom are married and emotionally healthy, their children are very likely to reproduce the example set before them. But what happens when Dad isn’t present in the home?
I’m indebted to Wayne Parker, who wrote the on-line article, Statistics on Fatherless Children in America.
- Young men who grow up without Dad at home are more likely to end up in jail than a young man who comes from a traditional two-parent home. (Cynthia Harper of the University of Pennsylvania and Sara S. McLanahan of Princeton University, cited in “Father Absence and Youth Incarceration.” Journal of Research on Adolescence 14 (September 2004): 369-397.)
- 63% of youth suicides are from fatherless homes (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Bureau of the Census).
- 85% of all children who exhibit behavioral disorders come from fatherless homes (United States Center for Disease Control).
HIGH SCHOOL DROPOUTS
- 71% of all high school dropouts come from fatherless homes (National Principals’ Association Report on the State of High Schools).
- Children living in a fatherless home report lower educational expectations on the part of their parents, less parental monitoring of school work, and less overall social supervision than children from intact families (N.M. Astore and S. McLanahan, American Sociological Review, No. 56 (1991)).
JUVENILE DETENTION RATES
- 70% of juveniles in state-operated institutions come from fatherless homes (U.S. Dept. of Justice, Special Report, Sept 1988).
- Boys who grow up in father-absent homes are more likely than those in father-present homes to have trouble establishing appropriate sex roles and gender identity (P.L. Adams, J.R. Milner, and N.A. Schrepf, Fatherless Children, New York, Wiley Press, 1984).
- In a longitudinal study of 1,197 fourth-grade students, researchers observed “greater levels of aggression in boys from mother-only households than from boys in mother-father households.” (N. Vaden-Kierman, N. Ialongo, J. Pearson, and S. Kellam, “Household Family Structure and Children’s Aggressive Behavior: A Longitudinal Study of Urban Elementary School Children,” Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology 23, no. 5, 1995).
- Children from low-income, two-parent families outperform students from high-income, single-parent homes. Almost twice as many high achievers come from two-parent homes as one-parent homes. (One-Parent Families and Their Children, Charles F. Kettering Foundation, 1990).
- The likelihood that a young male will engage in criminal activity doubles if he is raised without a father, and triples if he lives in a neighborhood with a high concentration of single-parent families. (Source: A. Anne Hill, June O’Neill, Underclass Behaviors in the United States, CUNY, Baruch College. 1993)
So what are we to do? Doing nothing is NOT an option.
- If you’re a father, take seriously the importance of your role in your children’s life.
- If you’re a single man who desires to get married one day, find a great woman, get married, have children, and be a remarkable father.
- Ladies, consider the man you’re in relationship with. Is he the man you want your children to be like? If not, stop wasting your time and don’t sabotage your children’s future, please.
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