Fatherlessness is one of the biggest issues we face in today’s society. The world constantly paints a negative picture of fathers, as well as pointing out the negative effects of fatherlessness. I will be taking a look at negative effects of fatherlessness, in an effort to highlight the importance of the role fathers play in the development of their children. Here are few facts: 92% of parents in prison are fathers, children who don’t have their father present are 43% more likely to end up in poverty, 90% of all homeless and runaway young people come form fatherless homes, 71% of all high school dropouts come from fatherless homes and 63% of all youth suicides come from fatherless homes. Even though we know this and have had the data to back this up for over thirty years, society still continues to undervalue fathers. Some fathers even undervalue themselves and the importance of the role they play in their children’s lives.  

Parents Set An Example

While children always want to do differently than their parents and rebel against what their parents are saying, parents set an example for the children. For instance, children who see examples of good fathers – fathers who look out for and provide for their family, love their wives, and take their responsibilities – will go on and follow this example. It will be an important part of who they become as an adult. Now I know of many fathers doing exactly this, and I work with and know of multiple fathers groups with thousands of fathers living this way, but this doesn’t seem to be highlighted nearly enough. 

Having these examples as the blueprint for children is vital, because if the father isn’t there, you don’t get that example in the first place. Secondly, as the boys grow up, they haven’t gotten the father’s positive influence that is crucial as a part of growing up. Without a father, there’s no one to offer them guidance and sit them down every so often. They need a male figure one that looks like them, telling them they can’t do certain things, or telling them they can become whatever they put their minds to, as greatness is within them. There’s no discipline, it’s not to say that mothers cannot do this. It is just that having a male presence and example would be better for boys, and many mothers agree with this. 

It takes a man to raise a man

When we talk about raising boys, they need guidance from a man to make them a man. My grandmother had 7 boys and she said she couldn’t raise them as “it takes a man to raise a man”. A mother can love them, nurture them, care for them and teach them; and many mothers have been doing an amazing job at this for centuries. However who is going to guide them? Who is going to teach them how to talk to women? How to cherish a woman? How to lead with compassion and understanding? Who’s going to teach them how to manage conflicts? Who’s going to teach them how to manage their finances? Who’s going to teach them how to take care of their home? While I’m sure a lot of people will argue that these can be done and are done by mothers everyday, I would also point out that most mothers do it because they find themselves in situation where they just need to do it as best as they can. This is something that we tend not to see, but needs to be highlighted. Most single mothers do not want to be, and have to do everythihng on their own. That’s also one of the effects of fatherlessness we need to see: children see mothers trying to do their best – effectively doing the job of two people. The data shows and have shown for over 30 years that most of societies social issues are directly linked to fatherlessness. 

These are the problems I see in our society, as there is not enough mentorship at home. People send their kids to school to raise them. And then eventually, you come to a realisation that your boys are acting out. That’s one of the effects of fatherlessness we see the most. This is what happens when there is no father around to offer proper guidance. We are not by any means diminishing the role of mothers here at all. I am just advocating for fathers to step in and fulfil their role, this is about the importance of fathers. 

The Problem starts at home

When you stick around and build a family, see your kids grow, and see all the arguments along with the positive things, you also get to see them offer their gratitude to you. My daughters and I were having a conversation regarding the abortion laws recently and the two of them were putting forward highly intelligent points and I was in awe. At some point, I asked them what their example of a man was. They said, “you dad”, as I was holding back tears.

Essentially what you reap is what you sow as a father and it all starts at home. When you’re in that relationship as a potential father and your other half is having a baby, and you think, “Oh, I am scared, I want to get out of this.”, stick around. You will quickly find out it is the best thing; you can’t buy this feeling. 

As a father and mother, you have a life in your hands. You can shape that life or you can leave it. It is a challenge, as a parent, having to do everything at the start and having to let go of it when they enter their teenage years. There are arguments, difficulties, when you see them come out of the tunnel at the other end, it is amazing. 

As a parent as well, you find yourself doing, for your child, things that you would never do. You want to sacrifice things, you want to help them and you continue to do so as they grow older. You give, but you also get back a hundred times more, and that is the beauty of parenting. It is the best job in the world.

The influence of a father

Many men don’t recognise how good we have it. And, if we create the right environment for our sons and daughters to flourish and grow, then we would have a much better society. That is because we will be setting the example; that is what we are called to do. Fathers are meant to set examples and clear the path for their children. 

The same goes for girls as well. When your daughters start looking for their potential boyfriends who would be their husbands, they will largely be influenced by you, their father. Fathers are much more important for girls in that sense. Without a father, the man they are looking for, their aspiration or target, is much lower. This is because they’re thinking of a man that will come and go, and isn’t going to have responsibility. 

But if they have a responsible father around, they will want a life partner who is providing, a rock, or the cornerstone for the family. A guy that just comes and goes, will not be enough for their expectations. They will have higher aspirations, someone who is going to be around, as their dad was around. 

In essence, the effects of fatherlessness leave a mark throughout the life of a person. Without a prominent father figure, there’s no proper guidance to teach children, especially to show boys how to discipline themselves and make wise choices so that they can maximise their full potential . 

The Effects of Fatherlessness: How Do We Move Forward

To the men reading this: 

Don’t get into a relationship before you are emotionally ready to work at making it a success.

Work on identifying your purpose before getting into a relationship.

Make wise choices when choosing a partner.

Understand that love is a choice and it requires daily commitment and work. 

To the mothers: 

Please remember that a father cannot be the best father he can be, unless you give him the room to do so. He also cannot be the perfect father you might have created in your mind for him to be. He can only be the father that he is, with all his misgivings and flaws. 

To the media: 

Please highlight the fathers out here who are daily taking care of the families and handling business. They don’t do it to get highlighted, however if you are going to talk about fatherhood, please tell both sides of the story. As fatherlessness continues to rise; and of course the effects of fatherlessness are becoming critical today, it’s time to start changing the narrative so we can stop this crisis. 

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