Impact of Fatherlessness

Posted on April 9, 2012 
Filed Under Fathering, Focus on the Family Broadcast, Parenting, Social Concern

I just spent a delightful weekend away with my family. We were away in the mountains, with no internet, and lots of time together. It was great! We played games, talked, and relaxed as a family. I tried to spend individual time with each of the five who made it (our oldest lives on the East Coast), and was grateful for the meaningful ways we connected. With the warmth of the weekend on my heart and mind, earlier today I was reflecting on some startling stats about kids who don’t have a dad in their lives.

Did you know the United States is the world’s leader in fatherless homes? The impact is breathtaking: 63 percent of youth suicides come from fatherless homes, and 75 percent of all adolescent patients in drug treatment centers come from homes without a dad.

In his book, It’s Better to Build Boys than Mend Men, Truett Cathy offers some other insights about the trouble children from fatherless homes experience. They are:

• 5 times more likely to commit suicide.

• 32 times more likely to run away.

• 20 times more likely to have behavioral disorders.

• 14 times more likely to commit rape.

• 9 times more likely to drop out of school.

• 10 times more likely to abuse chemical substances.

• 9 times more likely to end up in a state-operated institution.

• 20 times more likely to end up in prison.

Such revelations should drive every wayward father home and cause every dad teetering on divorce to do whatever he can to salvage his marriage.

And if you ARE home, Dad, those statistics should push you to spend time – quality and quantity time – time with your children. You should do that because it is the right thing. Because your child needs you. And because it is wonderfully rewarding!

Have a little boy? Or maybe a teen boy? For a father who really wants to shape his son’s future, let me suggest there is an outstanding set of resources from my friend Robert Lewis. His book, Raising A Modern Day Knight, has been wonderfully helpful to me in bringing up three boys, and I’ve recommended it for years. Additionally, let me suggest a cool – free! – smartphone app to help you be more intentional in training your boy to become a man of integrity with a rock-solid faith. Find a link to some videos, as well – check out these resources and hear an interview with Robert Lewis right here.

I might also add that regardless of your stage of parenting, in my book First Time Dad I tried to capture some of the common challenges – and joys – every father, especially new dads, encounter.  Intended to encourage and inspire, the book reflects my experiences as a Dad for the past 23 years. You might consider it as an early Father’s Day present?