Where are the fathers?


I am a high school teacher, and I deal with teenagers on a daily basis. I love young people, partly because I’m still young myself and partly because I love how fresh their minds are.

However, I am often saddened by how disrespectful and down right rude some teenage boys can be. I know that girls aren’t all daisies and sunshine either, but from my experience, I’ve only had behavior issue with boys.

This leads me to believe that they do not have fathers who are present. Let me clarify, I know that there are some that definitely do not have fathers in their lives due to abandonment and even death. However, there are still some fathers who are still in their lives whether they live in the same house or are divorced or were never married to their mothers, but still have contact with their sons. Some of these fathers who are around in my opinion are still not present.

Being present is being involved in your child’s life not just being in it. It is showing active support and guidance. It is raising your child either with the help of another parent or just on your own. It’s knowing their friends, where they are, what they like, how they are doing in school. It is teaching them how to respect others and themselves.

I lost my father two months before I entered high school. I’ve done OK, in the last several years, but it would have been nice have had that fatherly guidance through some very dark and lonely times. I feel that my self-esteem would have been better, my likelihood for depression would have been lessened.

It is important for young boys to learn from their fathers how to live. Men need to teach their sons the things that they can only learn from their fathers.

I found some dizzying statistics about children who have absent fathers.

Children reared by a divorced or never-married mother are less cooperative and score lower on tests of intelligence than children reared in intact families. Statistical analysis of the behavior and intelligence of these children revealed “significant detrimental effects” of living in a female-headed household. Growing up in a female-headed household remained a statistical predictor of behavior problems even after adjusting for differences in family income. [1]

 

I was raised through high school by my mom, and I never once got in trouble for anything. However, I was never really a child with behavior issues prior to my father’s departure from this world. I was also a great student and graduated 4th in my class. So I would imagine that there were some students who were involved in this statistic that were exceptional. However, the majority is what speaks.

Children with fathers at home tend to do better in school, are less prone to depression and are more successful in relationships. Children from one-parent families achieve less and get into trouble more than children from two parent families. [2]

 

I would argue that just having fathers at home is not enough. I reiterate, fathers need to be involved.

 

In a longitudinal study of 1,197 fourth-grade students, researchers observed “greater levels of aggression in boys from mother-only households than from boys in mother-father households.” [3]

 

I have witnessed this first hand as a teacher. Even the children that I have not caught fighting, I have witnessed them being passive aggressive with others.

I have students who have both mom and dad at home who often choose to behave poorly. I also have many, many, many more students who have both mom and dad at home who’ve never chosen to behave poorly in any of my classes. This is why  I believe so strongly that dad needs to be fully present. Children act out no matter how old they are if they feel they are not getting the adequate attention from their fathers.

“Father hunger” often afflicts boys age one and two whose fathers are suddenly and permanently absent. Sleep disturbances, such as trouble falling asleep, nightmares, and night terrors frequently begin within one to three months after the father leaves home. [4]

 

If you are a dad, step it up. Know your kid’s soul. If you need some adjustment, that’s fine. No one is perfect, and your kid will love you even if you just try.

Moms, if you are raising kids on your own. God bless you and keep you strong. If their fathers are willing and aren’t bad guys, let them be in your kids life. If you don’t have someone to offer male guidance, check out some of the links below.

I hope to see a strong swing in the pendulum  for this next generation. My generation and a little younger have been called the fatherless generation, and that is heart-breaking. Fathers provide a strong and steady guidance that when presented through love can change lives. I hope to see my students who have broken relationships with their dads mend what is lost, rise to the challenge and become true men of honor and courage instead of falling by the wayside only to fall victim of another statistic.

There are some organizations that are created for the purpose of mentoring:

http://www.boystomen.org/

http://www.bbbs.org/site/c.9iILI3NGKhK6F/b.5962335/k.BE16/Home.htm

http://www.caresmentoring.org/

Sources

[1]  Greg L. Duncan, Jeanne Brooks-Gunn and Pamela Kato Klebanov, “Economic Deprivation and Early Childhood Development,” Child Development 65 (1994).

[2] One Parent Families and Their Children: The School’s Most Significant Minority, conducted by The Consortium for the Study of School Needs of Children from One Parent Families, co sponsored by the National Association of Elementary School Principals and the Institute for Development of Educational Activities, a division of the Charles F. Kettering Foundation, Arlington, VA., 1980

[3] N. Vaden-Kierman, N. Ialongo, J. Pearson, and S. Kellam, “Household Family Structure and Children’s Aggressive Behavior: A Longitudinal Study of Urban Elementary School Children,” Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology 23, no. 5 (1995)

[4]  Alfred A. Messer, “Boys Father Hunger: The Missing Father Syndrome,” Medical Aspects of Human Sexuality, January 1989.

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