The evidence remains clear: children who grow up in homes with absentee fathers face greater challenges than those who grow up in two-parent homes.
Twenty-three percent of children in America under the age of eighteen live with one parent and no other adults. This is more than three times the seven percent of children around the world who do so (https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2019/12/12/u-s-children-more-likely-than-children-in-other-countries-to-live-with-just-one-parent/).
More than fifteen million single moms reside in America and raise more than twenty-two million of America’s youth (https://thelifeofasinglemom.com/single-mother-statistics-parent/).
And the challenges for these children are great. In fatherless homes, children face the following:
- Suicide: 63 percent of youth suicides
- Runaways: 90 percent of all homeless and runaway youths
- Behavioral Disorders: 85 percent of all children that exhibit behavioral disorders
- High School Dropouts: 71 percent of all high school dropouts
- Juvenile Detention Rates: 70 percent of juveniles in state-operated institutions
- Substance Abuse: 75 percent of adolescent patients in substance abuse centers
- Aggression: 75 percent of rapists motivated by displaced anger
Children who live without fathers in the home also face a greater risk of drug and alcohol abuse (National Center for Health Statistics. Survey on Child Health. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. 1993).
“Young men who grow up in homes without fathers are twice as likely to end up in jail as those who come from traditional two-parent families (Harper C, McLanahan SS. Cited in Father Absence and Youth Incarceration. Journal of Research on Adolescence. 2004).
Job didn’t have the statistics, but he obviously knew the importance of fulfilling his fatherly role in his family. After his children had a celebration, he worried they may have sinned through their behavior. He purified them by offering a sacrifice to God on their behalf. “When these celebrations ended—sometimes after several days—Job would purify his children. He would get up early in the morning and offer a burnt offering for each of them” (Job 1:5 NLT).
Thankfully, I had a dad in the home. One who taught me about God from the time I was old enough to understand. One who explained to me why I needed to trust Christ as my Savior. One who was there to help my mother support, teach, and discipline me. One who gave me an honorable example in numerous areas of life. He took the lead, but he was no male chauvinist. He simply recognized his God-given role.
Fathers have a wonderful opportunity to change the statistics by being present, engaged, and involved. Through their presence, example, involvement, and intercession, they can help mothers train children to live with morality, responsibility, and integrity.
Don’t be one of the statistics. Stand up, Dad, and make your child’s life a better life with your presence.