The Impact on Children Being Raised In Single Parent-Headed Households
Parents play an integral role in the development of their children either directly or indirectly. In recognition of the important roles played by parents in the lives of their children, we honor and celebrate mothers in the month of May on Mother’s Day and fathers in the month of June on Father’s Day. This year, Mother’s Day was held on Sunday, May 12th, 2013, and Father’s Day is Sunday, June 16th, 2013.
Each year, for the past thirty (30) years, in the United States, on the third Sunday in the month of June, we honor and celebrate the contributions that fathers make in the lives of their children. Dr. Sigmund Freud is reported to have said that, he could not think of any need in childhood as strong as the need for a father’s protection.
For a growing number of American children, they have not known the love, protection, and guidance of a father. Social science research has shown the devastating impact of fatherless homes on the lives children. Data indicates that children in fatherless homes experience more major challenges in life than those who grow up with a father at home. The following statistics on children in fatherless homes are alarming and should give any father pause when thinking about his children.
“Incarceration Rates. “Young men who grow up in homes without fathers are twice as likely to end up in jail as those who come from traditional two-parent families…those boys whose fathers were absent from the household had double the odds of being incarcerated — even when other factors such as race, income, parent education and urban residence were held constant.” (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.)
Suicide. 63% of youth suicides are from fatherless homes (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Bureau of the Census).
Behavioral Disorders. 85% of all children that 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.).
Educational Attainment. Kids living in single-parent homes or in step-families 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).
Confused Identities. 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).
Aggression. 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).
Achievement. 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).
Delinquency. Only 13 percent of juvenile delinquents come from families in which the biological mother and father are married to each other. By contrast, 33 percent have parents who are either divorced or separated and 44 percent have parents who were never married. (Wisconsin Dept. of Health and Social Services, April 1994).
Criminal Activity. 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”[i].
If you want to make a meaningful difference in the lives of children and youth in homes where the fathers are absent, you can support the very necessary work of nonprofit organizations such as Big Brothers Big Sisters and/or Boys and Girls Club. Big Brothers Big Sisters has a 100 year history of providing quality youth mentoring services that have proven to have a measurable impact in the lives of: the youth served, their families and their community.
Boys and Girls Club’s mission is to “…enable all young people, especially those who need us most, to reach their full potential as productive, caring, responsible citizens.”. Every day, these agencies are changing the perspectives of children and enabling them to see the world around them in a more positive light. With that newfound point of view, they can see their potential more clearly and dream bigger about their future. Get involved in a child’s life.
Sources: Boys and Girls Club’s website. Big Brothers Big Sisters’ website. Indystar.com. “Father’s absence takes heavy toll on children”, Editorial, June 18, 2011. “Statistics on Fatherless Children in America”. Wayne Parker, About.com Guide.
Photo credit: Microsoft Clip Art.
[i] “Statistics on Fatherless Children in America”. Wayne Parker, About.com