fathers, The Home No Comments

     Have you stopped to consider the impact of fatherlessness on our country?  With the rise of single parent families in America and the absence of a father in the home, social ills have increased.  Six are noted here.
     —Poverty.  Children in fatherless homes are five times more likely to be poor.  In 2002, 7.8% of children in married-couple families were living in poverty, compared to 38.4% of children in female-householder families.  Almost 75% of American children living in single-parent families will experience poverty before they turn 11 years old.
     —Drugs and Alcohol Abuse.  The U. S. Department of Health and Human Services states, “Fatherless children are at a dramatically greater risk of drug and alcohol abuse.”  Children who live apart from their fathers are 4.3 times more likely to smoke cigarettes as teenagers than children growing up with their fathers in the home.
     —Physical and Emotional Health.  Children in single-parent families are two to three times as likely as children in two-parent families to have emotional and behavioral  problems.  A study on nearly 6,000 children found that children from single parent homes had more physical and mental health problems than children who lived with two married parents.  Additionally, boys in single parent homes were found to have more illnesses than girls in single parent homes.  Three out of four teenage suicides occur in households where a parent has been absent.
     —Educational Achievement.  In studies involving over 25,000 children using nationally representative data sets, children who lived with only one parent had lower grade point averages, lower college aspirations, poor attendance records, and higher drop out rates than students who lived with both parents.  Fatherless children are twice as likely to drop out of school.  Even divorce has an impact on children.  School children from divorced families are absent more, are more anxious, hostile, and withdrawn, and are less popular with their peers than those from intact families.
     —Crime.  In a study using a national probability sample of 1,636 young men and women, it was found that older boys and girls from female headed households are more likely to commit criminal acts than their peers who lived with two parents.   A study in the state of Washington using statewide data found a male born to an unmarried teen mother was ten times more likely to become a chronic juvenile offender.
     —Sexual Activity and Teen Pregnancy.   A survey of 720 teenage girls found:  97% of the girls said that having parents they could talk to could help reduce teen pregnancy.  93% said having loving parents reduced the risk.  76% said that their fathers were very or somewhat influential on their decision to have sex.  Children in single parent families are more likely to get pregnant as teenagers than their peers who grow up with two parents.  (All of the above statistics are from: www.fathers.com).
     Fathers have a significant position and role to play in the home.  While all of the above information proves this point, consider also the spiritual leadership that fathers should provide for their children.  Paul writes, “And ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath, but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord” (Eph. 6:4).  Fathers should nurture their children by spiritual instruction and training.  Children desperately need their fathers to be present in their lives, to love them, to be a role model for them, and to lead them spiritually to know and follow God.