It’s Fatherlessness Day again. What will we do about it?
Frederick Douglass once said, “It is easier to build strong children than it is to repair broken men.” Indeed, I shudder to think of what life would be like for both of my children—but especially for my son—if I was not married to their father, or if he wasn’t a steady presence in their lives.
Father absence is an epidemic in the U.S., with over 24 million children now living in fatherless homes. Roughly 1.5 million children experience divorce annually in the U.S. alone, with 30% of kids losing touch with one of their parents—typically the father—within two years.
Here are some statistics about what happens to kids when fathers are absent:
- 63% of youth suicides are from fatherless homes (U.S. Dept. Of Health/Census)
- 90% of all homeless and runaway children are from fatherless homes
- 85% of all children who show behavior disorders come from fatherless homes (Center for Disease Control)
- 80% of rapists with anger problems come from fatherless homes (Justice & Behavior, Vol. 14, p. 403-26)
- 71% of all high school dropouts come from fatherless homes (National Principals Association Report)
Bottom line: Children who grow up without a father in their lives are considerably more susceptible to permanent emotional scars. They’re also more likely to be poor. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, children who live in female-headed families with no spouse present have a poverty rate of 47.6 percent—over 4 times the rate in married-couple families.
For girls in particular, father absence can, and often does, translate to promiscuity. “Father absence is an overriding risk factor for early sexual activity and adolescent pregnancy,” notes the U.S. National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health. “Conversely, father presence was a major protective factor against early sexual outcomes, even if other risk factors were present.”
For boys, the prognosis is even worse. Boys who grow up without fathers face a profound crisis in education, in work, and in their physical and emotional health. They are far more likely to be aggressive and quick to anger; they’re far more likely to drop out of high school and use drugs; and they’re far more likely to be incarcerated or commit suicide.
The consequences of fatherlessness are simply profound, as my friend Warren Farrell explains in this video to inspire a White House Council on Boys & Men. It is no exaggeration to say fatherlessness is the number one social problem facing America today—and if we don’t face it, we will all suffer.
Yet there is silence.
There is silence because to admit the truth would mean being very uncomfortable for a while. Some single mothers will get offended, but conscientious ones are suffering from this epidemic and could benefit from an education about why their children—especially their boys—are floundering.
There is silence because to admit the truth is to shift the spotlight off of women and girls for a change, and that would upend the Left’s plan for a new world order—one where women rule, where gender is arbitrary, and where marriage is optional.
In other words, there’s silence about children’s suffering because to admit the truth amounts to a hot political mess. You may be okay with that, but I’m not.
So while our country continues to ignore the children whose lives are destroyed by fatherlessness, I will continue to fight back against those who seek to undermine men, marriage and the family—and pray that someday, someday, America will listen.