“More than 20 million children live in a home without the physical presence of a father. Millions more have dads who are physically present, but emotionally absent. If it were classified as a disease, fatherlessness would be an epidemic worthy of attention as a national emergency.”–fathers.com 2012
We spend so much time condemning, chastising, and berating fathers who just ‘walk away’ that we don’t stop long enough to consider what exactly is going on with them. We see the headlines or read the story part way through and then don’t finish it thinking we know how the story ends. We get angry at fathers for being low lifes who don’t deserve kids yet we seldom ask how can we help stop this from happening. We recycle old ideas and programs, pretty them up some, and then throw some money at the problem and declare that we have developed a new program or approach that will help to fix the problem but nothing changes. We don’t reach out to fathers to get their side of the story and we certainly don’t reach out to hear what the kids have to say. We don’t ask how to help but rather seem more interested with who is to blame.
Are there some moms out there who need to be helped–absolutely. Are there some men-fathers- who are guilty of abandoning their families-absolutely. Is that the case for all dad’s–absolutely not.
There are many dads who want to be involved in their sons lives who are legally prevented from doing so. Rather counter-productive in the end and its the child who is punished because the parents can’t get their stuff together..
How do we lessen the burden that many moms experience as a single parent? How do we do this without crushing any opportunity for a father to parent his son?
But what amazes me most is how the health systems and the legal systems can’t figure out why there is such a horrific drug problem among our kids. Why is there so much violence and growing suicide rates? Why are gangs becoming almost unstoppable?
Let’s take a look at some of the side effects for a kid who grows up without a father and then ask ourselves those same questions over again. Imagine being a kid and facing these issues everyday. In the U.S. they describe fatherlessness as having reached epidemic proportions. There are approximately 20 Million kids who are fatherless.
Poverty–Children in father-absent homes are almost four times more likely to be poor. In 2011, 12 percent of children in married-couple families were living in poverty, compared to 44 percent of children in mother-only families. Fathers are important too.
Drug and Alcohol Abuse–The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services states, “Fatherless children are at a dramatically greater risk of drug and alcohol abuse.”
Physical and Emotional Health–Children of single-parent homes are more than twice as likely to commit suicide.
Educational Achievement–Children living with their married biological father tested at a significantly higher level than those living with a non biological father.
71% of high school dropouts are fatherless; fatherless children have more trouble academically, scoring poorly on tests of reading, mathematics, and thinking skills; children from father-absent homes are more likely to be truant from school, more likely to be excluded from school, more likely to leave school at age 16, and less likely to attain academic and professional qualifications in adulthood.
Crime–A study of 109 juvenile offenders indicated that family structure significantly predicts delinquency.
Sexual Activity and Teen Pregnancy
Being raised by a single mother raises the risk of teen pregnancy, marrying with less than a high school degree, and forming a marriage where both partners have less than a high school degree.
Perhaps if we were to actually pay attention to evidence like this and if we decided to deal with the issues as a responsible society void of prejudice, bias, religion and politics and began to look at the issues attached as social issues that involve human lives worthy of our attention, energy and care we would be better off.
Let’s try to put the true welfare of the child FIRST for a change instead of considering what sound bite or position will get you votes. Let’s help BOTH moms and Dads be responsible for the wee life that they each helped to make. The responsibility of nourishing that life doesn’t stop at the front door or a border somewhere. Moms need to drop the anger and the outrage. They need to stop using their kids as a ‘tool’ to hurt the other parent. Moms need to help support and promote that relationship between fathers and sons not destroy or discourage it. It would be better for Moms in the long run as well. Legal systems need to stop punishing dads and come up with a better approach that encourages a co-operative approach. Parents don’t have to like each other they just need to put the needs of the kid ahead of their own.
Fathers need to step up and take care of business meaning looking after their family. First priority-bar none. If mom is the full time parent then help her do the job. Give her what she needs to do the best she can. If dad wont do the right thing then lets make sure that Mom has ALL the resources she needs to do what’s important.
Lets encourage parents to stop making the kids suffer for what the parents can’t sort out. It really is the parents who need to grow up not the kids.
Anyways, that’s how I see things.
All the best and thanks for stopping by–Jim
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