The Silent Epidemic

We have a growing, silent epidemic in our country today. Fatherlessness.   Roughly about 50% of children live without a father.

What does this mean?

63% of youth suicides are from fatherless homes.

90% of all homeless and runaway children are from fatherless homes.

85% of all children that exhibit behavioral disorders come from fatherless homes.

80% of rapists motivated with displaced anger come from fatherless homes.

71% of all high school dropouts come from fatherless homes.

70% of juveniles in state operated institutions come from fatherless homes

85% of all youths sitting in prisons grew up in a fatherless home.

71% of pregnant teenagers lack a father.

90% of adolescent repeat arsonists live with only their mother.

75% of adolescent patients in chemical abuse centers come from fatherless homes.

Fatherless children are twice as likely to drop out of school.

Children with Fathers who are involved are 40% less likely to repeat a grade in school.

Children with Fathers who are involved are 70% less likely to drop out of school.

75% of all adolescent patients in chemical abuse centers come from fatherless homes – 10 times the average.

And the list goes no and on...

Furthermore, research from the Family Research Council shows that children from fatherless homes are three times more likely to become or experiment with homosexuality.  This is some of the first evidence countering the claim that sexual orientation is genetic or biological.

Children with involved, loving fathers are significantly more likely to do well in school, have healthy self-esteem, exhibit empathy and pro-social behavior, and avoid high-risk behaviors such as drug use, truancy, and criminal activity compared to children who have uninvolved fathers.  Studies on parent-child relationships and child well-being show that father love is an important factor in predicting the social, emotional, and cognitive development and functioning of children and young adults.

What isn't reported is that just having a father in the home is not enough.  An uninvolved father can bring about the same consequences as having no father at all.

What is the solution?

I believe it starts first and foremost with having a good marriage.  We need to put time and effort into our marriages to ensure they don't end up in divorce.  I once heard that in a marriage it's 50/50.  I disagree, it's 100/100.  Each spouse needs to give it their all and support the other 100%.

Next, we need to be strategic in our parenting and fathering.  We have to think long term and decide how we want our children to end up.   We have to look at research and parenting styles that will help us reach our final goal. Then backwards plan and ensure that we are meeting goals, and milestones along the way. All the while, sprinkling grace on top of the situation.

While this sounds easy, like a Business 101 class at community college.  It takes years of hard work, effort and sacrifice to accomplish.  My prayer is that more men will start stepping up to the challenge and not accept failure or mediocrity as an option.

For these children already in single parent homes or homes where the father is abusive or unfit to be a father.  There are other resources.

The Mentoring Project and Big Brothers, Big Sisters are excellent resources to ensure our children are being influenced and mentored by men and women of character.

While this post may seem laden with statistics and "scare you" studies.  I can assure you this epidemic is alive and real.

I am a product of it.

- Lance

Data and Research Sources

Source 1, Source 2, Source 3