It’s no secret that a boy needs his father just like a little girl needs her father. What if I told you that I believe fatherless children who then grow into fatherless adults are a huge reason we see such unrest and ignorance recently in our communities? According to an article published by The Minnesota Psychological Association, fatherless homes in America have reached an all-time high. Ten things were highlighted here that are worthy of our attention.
1.) The child’s idea that they have been abandoned
2.) The inability to create an attachment to healthy relationships
4.) Unhealthy lifestyles and obesity
5.) Issues with the criminal justice system
6.) Involvement and influence of gangs
7.) Multiple mental health issues
8.) Less than satisfactory academic performance
9.) Not having a home at all or extreme poverty
10.) Alcohol and drug abuse
Imagine being a small child and feeling that you are super proud to have reached an achievement. Something like hitting a home run or building your first bike jump, and your only desire at that point is to show it off to your dad. But he isn’t there. Imagine looking for something to be proud of, something like your father being a firefighter or driving a big awesome garbage truck. These are just a couple of examples of things that I believe little kids find to be pretty cool. We all also know that as great as moms are and all they do for their kids, they can in no way sit in for a man in a child’s life. How empty must a child feel when there is no dad to look up to or idolize. No father to try to imitate in the yard or even be able to tell your friends how awesome it is that your dad drives a super big dump truck for work. I think that children have a small world when it comes to the things that excite and disappoint them, and feeling abandoned when that role model is absent is probably pretty normal.
What is a parent? A parent is a caregiver. We can also probably agree that men and women are very different when providing care to their children. When children cannot attach themselves to the two different styles that men and women bring, it appears to have detrimental development effects. The issues that may present themselves are hyperalertness, intense anger, and an unnatural idea of when and how to use hostile intent. In my opinion, this will also severely hinder the ability of children to create lasting and meaningful friendships and healthy romantic relationships as they grow older.
The abuse of children is something that is in no way conducive to their well-being and development. Even if a father is not living in the home but can have a hand in raising the child, it makes all the difference in the world. Single-parent households are more susceptible to child abuse for many reasons, but one of the most prevalent facts I think is the idea that caring for a child is a lot of hard work. I mean, as parents, we take on the responsibility of turning these little tiny babies into thriving, contributing members of society. When the single mother is working, for example, what is happening to their child? Physical, sexual, and emotional abuse are all very possible while children are with alternate caregivers. This is not even considering the mounting stress that a single mother may feel while executing their motherly duties and abusing their children because of the lack of coping skills. I think that there are so many issues that can lead to the abuse of children in both two-parent households and single mothers’ homes that we could go on and on about.
I can honestly say that this one is something that I don’t quite understand. The idea that fathers have a more authoritarian style with their children – because of that, their kids are more likely to be physically fit. This may be true because it is easy to comfort a child by giving them food or using it to get their kids to do what they want.
Involvement in the system is something that can not be disputed. The statistics say that seventy percent of all youths in state-run juveniles come from fatherless homes. What I wonder is the difference in youths who had a father in the home at one point versus those who never had a father in the home. I have read about more minors being charged and/or tried as an adult than ever before. Not only that, but for more severe and violent crimes. What is to blame for this? Fatherless homes? YES… But there has to be more to it.
What is the attraction for minors to gang activity? If you ask me, it is simple, and it is due to a father’s presence in their lives. Let’s ask ourselves, how do young boys and girls get turned on to gangs? In some instances, they are preyed upon by older gang members, and they are made to think that being in a gang is a glamorous thing. We also see big brothers, cousins, or other people in the community that partake in these activities, and these young kids want that for themselves. It’s all about a feeling of belonging – these kids want to belong to something they can’t get at home. Thankfully some kids find sports or other activities to give them the feeling they are searching for. Leaders of these gangs give young people a father-like figure to look up to. For these reasons, if young people have a father in their lives, it is safe to say that their chances of joining a gang are greatly reduced.
I don’t think it is a surprise that mental health issues may arise from this situation that many youths find themselves in. We talked earlier about the feeling of abandonment and how that must feel. Well, what would you think is the outcome of feeling abandoned? I would say that things like anxiety and depression would be huge issues. Forms of post-traumatic stress disorder could certainly play a part in children that have been abused, especially sexually. I would go out on a limb and say children may get into cutting or injuring themselves and even go as far as suicide. In my research on this topic, I found that about sixty-three percent of all youth suicides in our country come from kids without fathers at home. Mental health issues are a topic that is relevant to a large percentage of our country, anyways. This research proves that those contributing factors are even more detrimental to kids in our communities.
Issues of poverty are not a surprise to me as it relates to this topic. Things in our society get more expensive and harder to find. Mothers trying to make it on a single income cannot always afford to provide adequate housing to their children. This, in turn, results in these fatherless children growing up in an impoverished community where all of the contributing factors discussed above are way more prevalent. I believe that poverty is one of the top contributing factors, along with fatherless homes, that make our youth’s violence so much more common.
Drug and alcohol abuse is certainly a no-brainer if you ask me. There is proven research that people have a tendency to self-medicate for mental health issues just to cope with the demons in their heads. That is all aside from the lack of guidance from a father in the home. The idea that fathers are more of the disciplinarian in a home would certainly denote that mothers are not always the best at it. After all, mothers are the nurturers in the household and in some cases are not built to be the iron fist of the family. Substance abuse is glorified on social media, in music, video games, TV, and just about everywhere else that a child looks. With that said, it is not a surprise that substance abuse is a huge factor contributing to the issues that we see in our communities today.
There is a lot of information to sift through and probably a whole lot of topics here that we could spend hours talking about. I think that the overall idea is that children without a father in their lives are being put up against a huge barricade to success. I believe that it is possible for a child without a father to make it in the big crazy world we live in, but it takes quite a few stars to align for that to happen. I mean, fathers are there to show their daughters how they should be treated by a man when they get old enough to enter a relationship. I don’t think that it is a secret that some women are passed around and become pregnant without even knowing who the father of their baby might be. Those kinds of things are a lot less likely to happen if they had a father to show them what a real man looks like. Fathers are there to teach their sons to be men of integrity and substance. Now, of course, there are many examples of people who had two parents in their homes and still turned out to not be good people, but I think the point is that without a dad at home the chances are a whole lot greater that a child could end up having struggles leading into adulthood.
I think I went WAY around the block to go across the street to say this…
The reason that we see such unrest in our communities, as well as things like the “cancel culture”, is because we have young adults and even middle-aged adults that grew up in these circumstances. The ability of these folks to function in a way that is peaceful and respectful has left them, because of the values they were taught, or not taught for that matter, in their childhood homes. All of this along with things like the internet and smartphones give them the idea that they need to have everything they desire RIGHT NOW and not have to wait or work for it. Social media has given people a voice that they didn’t once have. I believe that these things are both a blessing and a curse, all of which are detrimental to the future of our country. It hurts the hearts of people that really care about what it is that we have and what many of us have fought for over decades of service and sacrifice.
Lastly – fathers, we need to be better! We need to be better listeners, we need to be more compassionate, and be overall better leaders for our children. The future of our country and generations that come after us are all at stake.