Direct. Assess. Develop. Share.
Today, we have jails and prisons overflowing. We have vast populations of unengaged
adolescents to twenty-something boys who get there image of manhood from the latest video on MTV. Gang proliferation has moved
out of the big cities and brought drugs and death and pain to rural America. The diminishing role of father's involvement
in the life of a boy has serious societal, developmental and social consequences.
Boys without fathers in their lives are more likely to engage in crime and 7 times more
likely to engage in violent crime. "Today's prisons are like a center for fatherless men", writes one well known expert, Warren
Farrell. He goes on, "The implications of father involvement for social policy are staggering. We think of poverty as a major
cause of violent crime. Yet when children in homes with more income are compared to the children in homes with less income,
there is no difference in the rates of violent crime if both are living with fathers. Poverty is highly correlated with violent
crime because poverty is highly correlated with fatherlessness. The more dad is present, the more violent crime is absent.
In brief, fathers stop violent crime; money doesn't".(Farrell) Boys need a strong male model to learn "what it means to be
a man", due to the natural predator (hunter) drive males of our species are born with. When this need is not filled in the
home, boys will naturally migrate to where those lessons can be learned. Unfortunately, in most cases, that model will be
someone or something that is ultimately detrimental to that youth. For example, today's gangs, much like those throughout
history, select young males from fatherless homes as members. When Nazis sought new recruits, the
first and most logical place to look was homes with fatherless boys, especially if the mother was dominant and protective.
These males instinctively and probably unknowingly rebelled against the strong matriarchal figure and gravitated to the perceived
strongest males in the pack.
Boys without fathers in the home, particularly after divorce, are more easily tempted to drug
abuse. These youths are far more prone to addiction to fill an incredible void which they can't understand. While many young
males are likely to experiment with drugs and alcohol, it is a much greater risk for those without a strong father present
to steer the correction. It is an unfortunate but prevalent "substitute" due to the lack of a complete, traditional structure
to these boys home environment during the formative years. "Father presence is the most important factor by far in preventing
drug abuse (not drug use, but drug abuse). "Overall, a close relationship with dad is the most important preventive medicine
to avoid the cancer of a troubled childhood."(Farrell)
The Center for Law and Social Policy, a liberal child advocacy group, reports that, "studies
support that on average, children do best in all categories including education, when raised by two biological parents."(Parke
1) It has been long known that males and females communicate differently. For example one university study has shown that
women have the capacity to speak approximately 25,000 words in a twenty four hour period, compared to 2500 - 5000 words for
a male. Male communication tends to be more concise, with a lot of visual cues, i.e. body language. Particularly during the
early school years, this type of physical communication can be very difficult for a single mom to comprehend. A boy
"rough-housing" with his dad is communicating, albeit in a very different way than his mom. His dad instinctively knows the
value of such communication, and the valuable lessons they teach. I came from a single mom household, and did not develop
a relationship with my father until about 14-15 years of age. Part of this, I believe, was due to the fact that I didn't know
how to relate on that "physical" level. Once I was 14 or 15,1 was bigger than my dad, and therefore, subconsciously, the "alpha"
male. Threat gone. As I raise my son, now 5, I recognize the importance of the wrestling he loves so much, which turns into
tickling at which point, I usually become hysterical, because his laugh is infectious. The unspoken message is that strength
and size and power can be used to love also. It is not just for violent gain. Winning is not winning unless we both enjoy
the competition. It is also, a critical factor in the educational arena. Due to the difference in communication ability versus
little girls, many boys in general, but particularly those from fatherless homes are considered hyperactive or ADHD. I think
we need to look deeper into the development of the male, rather than being so quick to diagnose a disorder. Women have long
touted the advanced development of girls versus boys when it comes to age maturity. Well, it's true. Unlikely as it may sound,
however, while the education system recognized and publicized this truth, they have done little to create the environments
most conducive to young males learning capacity. Where there is no father present to work through these stages with a boy,
as a "boy", there is a significant decrease in educational ability. "What are the contributions dads make to our children's
lives? Start with girls' legendary difficulty with math and boys' difficulty with verbal skills. In the area of math and quantitative
abilities, the more involved the dad is, the better both daughters and sons do. Ditto for boys' increase in verbal intelligence.
And the amount of time a father spends reading to his daughter or son is a strong predictor of his child's future verbal ability.
So both sexes improve in both sets of skills when fathers are more involved."(Farrell)
Another study published in the American Journal of Medicine reports that, "children living with a single biological
parent are nearly twice as likely to be sexually abused compared with a child living with a married mother and father".(Gorden)
While this article discusses children of both sexes, it is a very specific threat to boys longing for a "father" figure. In
this ever increasing age of internet predators lurking on the Web, these boys make easy targets. These predators have been
around for ages preying on those boys with a deep sense of longing for a dad, in our schools, athletic organizations, even
our religious congregations, but now it has become much easier for them. Fatherless boys are more likely to be intimidated
by male authority, tend to be quieter and less athletic, and often would be afraid to jeopardize the one parental relationship
he has by admitting the abuse. Many of these boys feel that there is something "wrong" with them so they must deserve this
There are exceptions to every rule of course, but both generally and statically, boys without dads are at
much greater risk, are a much greater risk and will likely continue to pose the risk until the cycle stops. Men who grew up
without dads and are now fathers of sons must view that as a gift to be treasured. A heritage to be passed along, carrying
with it the responsibility and honor of the sons right of passage into manhood. The ancient societies may have had it right
when a boy went out after training with his dad for years to slay his first beast to become a man. Obviously we don't slay
beasts any longer, but the lessons we as fathers pass on can be just as valuable as learning to hunt for our dinner. It is
D.A.D.S. responsibility to Direct - Assess- Develop - Share.
Farrell,Warren. "Child Without Dad; Dad Without Child: The Making of a Killer www.warrenfarrell.com September 25,2004
Farrell, Warren. "Why Dad's Matter" www.focusonthefamilv.org September 26,2004
Parke, Mary. "Are Married Parents Really Better for Children?" Center for Law and
Social Policy Policy Brief, May 2003, p. 1
Gordon, Michael. "The Family Environment of Sexual Abuse," Child Abuse and Neglect, 13 (1985)