“Where Have All The Fathers Gone?”

father reading from a bk to his girlAccording to the U.S. Census Bureau, 24 million children in America — one out of every three — live in biological father-absent homes.

With the increasing number of premarital births and a continuing high divorce rate, the proportion of children living with just one parent rose from 9.1% in 1960 to 20.7% in 2012. – Source: U.S. Census Bureau, “Living Arrangements of Children Under 18 Years Old: 1960 to Present.” U.S. Census Bureau July 1, 2012. [1]

One has to ask, Why is this happening? How can some men walk away from their own offspring? Where’s their sense of personal and moral obligation, or don’t they have any? What has contributed to this crisis?

Here are some possible answers —

1) The government, via welfare programs, has taken over the responsibility of child-rearing which the father should himself carry; making it easier for a man to ‘walk away.’ Many single mothers don’t report non-payment of child support, or don’t go after the father for child support out of fear or other reasons. Some men are substance abusers, mentally unbalanced, or abusive, and should’t have access to mother or child. In these cases its best if the father isn’t around.

2) The moral climate of society in America, is one of disrespect and disregard for human life in general – think this point needs no explanation.

3) Women are viewed as ‘sex objects’ by men, for the most part, and the media (movies, books, magazines, TV) exploits women as such, with little to no objection from themselves, society, and even the Church. From what I’ve seen, most churches today don’t preach about modesty, virtue, and a fathers obligation to his children born in or out of marriage. The Church et al has abdicated its responsiblity to its members, to God, and to society, through its silence on these issues and should be doing more to assist single-parent households. God wants the church to feed and clothe the poor, visit the sick and infirm, etc. 1Jn 3:17 But whoso hath the world’s goods, and beholdeth his brother in need, and shutteth up his compassion from him, how doth the love of God abide in him? Mat 25:31 But when the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the angels with him, then shall he sit on the throne of his glory: and before him shall be gathered all the nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as the shepherd separateth the sheep from the goats; and he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left. Mat 25:34 Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: for I was hungry, and ye gave me to eat; I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink; I was a stranger, and ye took me in; naked, and ye clothed me; I was sick, and ye visited me; I was in prison, and ye came unto me. Mat 25:37 Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee hungry, and fed thee? or athirst, and gave thee drink? And when saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? And when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it unto one of these my brethren, even these least, ye did it unto me. Mat 25:41 Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into the eternal fire which is prepared for the devil and his angels: for I was hungry, and ye did not give me to eat; I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink; I was a stranger, and ye took me not in; naked, and ye clothed me not; sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not. Mat 25:44 – 46 Then shall they also answer, saying, Lord, when saw we thee hungry, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee? Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not unto one of these least, ye did it not unto me. And these shall go away into eternal punishment: but the righteous into eternal life.

4) Women themselves have a hand in their own demise through their passivity and/or by actively supporting they’re being portrayed as sex objects. They do this by adopting the life-styles, behaviors, expressions, mindsets, work-ethics, aspirations, and fashions which the media and society suggest. Women in general dress provocatively in public; low cut and see-through blouses, heavy make-up, and skin-tight pants which show every curve and sometimes more. It’s become fashionable and acceptable behavior to accept a man’s proposal for sex before she’s had a chance to get to know him, and to continue having it without the benefit of marriage or commitment. Therein lies no protection for a woman, for whom sex is more than just a physical release no matter what the phychologists, agenda-driven social engineers, and media try to sell us. Women have lost more than their virginity from this immoral, dishonest, dangerous, and inaccurate portrayal, or should I say, betrayal! They’re loosing their natural instincts to what their true needs are in relationships, or are repressing them because they’re buying the false images they’re being shown of what they ‘should be’ according to those who only want to exploit them and make millions off their beauty. Sex sells, but at what a price, more so to the women being exploited than to anyone else. They either knowingly or ignorantly, exchange their modesty for a phoney sex image which robs them of their natural, innate beauty. Believe it or not, a woman’s modesty is what makes her truly beautiful! Modesty in women today has just about disappeared, which is a major loss for all. Children grow up thinking immodesty and self-exploitation is not only acceptable and normal, but even advantageous and desirable. The ‘new’ morality of today is turned around and upsidedown from what it was just fifty to a hundred years ago. Today, it’s almost considered a ‘virtue’ to dress and behave like a whore, to use your body and beauty to gain popularity, entice and control men, and or, to advance one’s career. Sure, hookers have been around for quite awhile but that life-style has mainly been looked upon as an immoral, at least it was before the so called, ‘sexual revolution’ of the 1960’s. Since then, women and young girls seem to be ever declining in modesty and moral behavior; loosing their innate sense of what it means to be ‘a virtuous woman’ –

Pro 12:4 A virtuous woman is a crown to her husband: but she that maketh ashamed is as rottenness in his bones. Pro 31:10 Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies. Pro 31:30 Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the LORD, she shall be praised. 1Pe 3:1 – In like manner, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, even if any obey not the word, they may without the word be gained by the behavior of their wives; beholding your chaste behavior coupled with fear. Whose adorning let it not be the outward adorning of braiding the hair, and of wearing jewels of gold, or of putting on apparel; but let it be the hidden man of the heart, in the incorruptible apparel of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.

Some Stats & Studies on the Effects of Absentee Fathers on their Children

Statistics consistently point out that children who grow up without their fathers are more likely to suffer from various social problems. Crime, drug abuse, abortion and school dropout rates are often directly related to father absence.

The biological relationship between father and child is well-established in the literature as a basis for paternal investment and, therefore, child well-being; however, the finding that the legal relationship between the parents is also linked to child well-being is a relatively new and important discovery. [2]

– Children in father-absent homes are almost four times more likely to be poor. In 2011, 12 percent of children in married-couple families were living in poverty, compared to 44 percent of children in mother-only families.

Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Children’s Living Arrangements and Characteristics: March 2011, Table C8. Washington D.C.: 2011.

– Children living in female headed families with no spouse present had a poverty rate of 47.6 percent, over 4 times the rate in married-couple families.

Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; ASEP Issue Brief: Information on Poverty and Income Statistics. September 12, 2012 [3]

– Children of single-parent homes are more than twice as likely to commit suicide.

Sources: The Lancet, Jan. 25, 2003 • Gunilla Ringbäck Weitoft, MD, Centre for Epidemiology, the National Board of Health and Welfare, Stockholm, Sweden • Irwin Sandler, PhD, professor of psychology and director of the Prevention Research Center, Arizona State University, Tempe • Douglas G. Jacobs, MD, associate clinical professor of psychiatry, Harvard Medical School; and founder and director, The National Depression Screening Program • Madelyn Gould, PhD, MPH, professor of child psychiatry and public health, College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia University; and research scientist, New York State Psychiatric Institute. [4]

The Father Factor in Child Abuse

A study using data from the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study revealed that in many cases the absence of a biological father contributes to increased risk of child maltreatment. The results suggest that Child Protective Services (CPS) agencies have some justification in viewing the presence of a social father as increasing children’s risk of abuse and neglect. It is believed that in families with a non-biological (social) father figure, there is a higher risk of abuse and neglect to children, despite the social father living in the household or only dating the mother.

Source: “CPS Involvement in Families with Social Fathers.” Fragile Families Research Brief No.46. Princeton, NJ and New York, NY: Bendheim-Thomas Center for Research on Child Wellbeing and Social Indicators Survey Center, 2010. [5]

**Click on this link, http://fathers.com/wp39/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/fatherlessInfographic.png, to see a ‘FatherlessInfographic.’

**An excellent resource which I HIGHLY recommend is, THE NATIONAL CENTER FOR FATHERING – a well designed site with plenty of resources and aides for fathers, including some free e-books and educational programs for your schools, community, and more. NCF was founded as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit in 1990, with the purpose of “turning the hearts of fathers to their children.” Check it out at http://www.fathers.com/

Do it for your children, yourselves, and for future generations. Everyone matters and everyone can make a positive difference in the world, if they so choose.

Debra R. Stout, February 16, 2016

Endnotes:

1] http://www.census.gov/population/socdemo/hh-fam/ch5.xls
2] http://www.vision.org/visionmedia/article.aspx?id=4210
3] http://aspe.hhs.gov/hsp/12/PovertyAndIncomeEst/ib.shtml
4] http://www.webmd.com/baby/news/20030123/absent-parent-doubles-child-suicide-risk
5] http://www.fatherhood.org/father-absence-statistics

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