The Absent Father: The Greatest Problem in Our Society
Our culture is in deep trouble. Anyone can look around and see the effects of this problem on our society. The astounding debilitating impact the absentee father leaves is eye opening. In fact, this characteristic is the common denominator in most of the disenfranchised talked about in the last chapter. As Viv Grigg said, “Fatherless children are at a dramatically greater risk of drug and alcohol abuse, mental illness, suicide, poor educational performance, teen pregnancy, and criminality.”1
The following statistics overwhelmingly support the above claim:
- 63 percent of youth suicides are from fatherless homes
- 90 percent of all homeless and runaway children are from fatherless homes
- 85 percent of all children that exhibit behavioral disorders come from fatherless homes
- 80 percent of rapists motivated with displaced anger come from fatherless homes
- 71 percent of all high school dropouts come from fatherless homes
- 75 percent of all adolescent patients in chemical abuse centers come from fatherless homes
- 85 percent of all youths sitting in prisons grew up in fatherless homes2
The blame for crime has often been misplaced. As stated by Douglas A. Smith and G. Roger Jarjoura in the article titled Social Structure and Criminal Victimization, “Criminologists have long used race and poverty as key variables for explaining crime rates. However, researchers at the University of Maryland find that when differences in family structures are taken into account, crime rates run much the same in rich and poor neighborhoods and among African American, White, and Hispanic populations.”3 Thus the problems come not so much from poverty and race as they do from the lack of a father in the home.
The lack of a father in the home is a national epidemic. “Four out of every ten children in the United States will go to sleep in homes where their fathers do not live. Before they reach the age of eighteen, more than half of America’s children are likely to spend at least a significant portion of their childhood living apart from their fathers.”4
The impact of fatherless homes affects our country but all the more degrade our cities. According to the research done by A. Anne Hill and June O’Neill published in an article titled Underclass Behaviors in the United States, 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.5
1. Grigg, Viv, Compassion to the Poor. Monrovia: MARC, 1990, p. 29.
2. Department of justice, Special Report, Sep. 1988, p. 11.
3. Smith, Douglas A. and Jarjoura, G. Roger, “Social Structure and Criminal Victimization,” Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency; epitomizing in The Family in America: New Research, June 1988 Cited in Amneus, The Garbage Generation, p. 220.
4. Morehouse Conference on African American Fathers, Turning the Corner on Father Absence in Black America (Morehouse Research Institute, 830 Westview Dr. SW Atlanta, GA 30314 (404) 215-2676), Institute for American Values1841 Broadway, Suite 211, New York, NY 10023 (212) 541-6665, p. 6.
5. Hill, A. Anne and O’Neill, June, “Underclass Behaviors in the United States,” CUNY, Baruch College. Illinois Department of Public Health, 1993.
(This excerpt comes from Chapter 9, Urban Impact)