Growing Up FatherLess

There is a father crisis in America, which dates back to generations before millennials and continues to Generation X. A two-parent household is the “ideal arrangement” for a family; it takes two to make the baby right?  Many would agree that an absent or inconsistent parent in a child’s life is detrimental; especially in the formative years (ages 10-19). According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 19.7 million children, more than 1 in 4, live without a father in the home (Initiative, 2017). In the face of a fatherless home, there are repercussions, not only for the mother and their finances but the child as well. For a single mother with one child, the risk of poverty is 4x more likely without the support of a second income. Neglect and abuse increase because a mother may not be able to afford proper childcare or after school programs; which means a child is in the hands of babysitter without certifications and/or education. The suicide rate in children without fathers triple from a two-parent household. Other consequences include subpar academic performance, drug/alcohol abuse, teen pregnancy, misplaced stress, and aggression.

All of these issues affect a child differently especially in puberty years when forming positive and healthy opposite and same-sex relationships are imperative. Also, these effects are not for a selective amount of time they are life-long and will show up in every area of their life if they do not get the proper counseling to talk about their issues. For women, they may not be able to properly trust a man and if so the relationship is not healthy. Speaking from experience in a single mother household it affected me most in knowing my worth in relationships. Many young girls accept what they can get because it is consistent, even if that means dealing with certain types of abuse. In boys, you see delinquent behavior among other outcomes, because they find a family in other young boys or men that are negative influences. Consequently these same boys grow into men and fathers that are raising their child when they did not have a present father themselves; doing their best to be a model of something they did not get to see properly.

The best way to remedy the situation is to get positive male figures around your child, such as an uncle, pastor, boys and girls club, godfather, teacher, coach, etc. They will not replace the father but they will add substance and satisfy a need for positive male attention. There are many males that will volunteer their services with your child and you will be able to see the positive effects, even if it only for an hour a week or every other day. Most do not make a decision to be a single parent and for those who are left out in the cold there is a chance for you to turn your life, and your child’s life around for a better and brighter future.


Reference

Initiative, N. F. (2017). Father absence. Retrieved from https://www.fatherhood.org/fatherhood-

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