The Importance of Fathers and Positive Male Role Models for Children

black-father-with-childrenI recently read a post originally published on Earl Hipp’s Man-Making blog in 2012. While the post may be a few years old, the message is timeless and one that we don’t talk about as much as we should. Legions of boys, and girls, are growing up without a father, or father-fugure. The absence of a father has a profound negative effect on children, especially boys. These are some of the statictis regarding children who live without a father (from The National Center on Fathering)

  • 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.
  • The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services states, “Fatherless children are at a dramatically greater risk of drug and alcohol abuse.”
  • A study of 1,977 children age 3 and older living with a residential father or father figure found that children living with married biological parents had significantly fewer externalizing and internalizing behavioral problems than children living with at least one non-biological parent.
  • Children of single-parent homes are more than twice as likely to commit suicide.
  • 71% of high school dropouts are fatherless; fatherless children have more trouble academically, scoring poorly on tests of reading, mathematics, and thinking skills.

Even in our own organization, we see the positive impacts that a male volunteer has on boys or young males, many of whom are fatherless or living without a positive male role-model. One of our male volunteers was the first to ever play catch with a 10-year-old boy, another played basketball with a boy for 6 weeks before the boy would utter a single word to him, another was able to develop such a strong bond with a young man that he learned that the boy had a grandfather that no one else knew about – the grandfather eventually gained full custody of his grandson.

As we celebrate Father’s Day this month, let us remember that more than 20 million children live without a father and millions more have a father who is emotionally absent. As we know from the statistics above, children that grow up in fatherless homes have a multitude of challenges that extend into their adult life.

Thankfully, many organizations are tackling the fatherless issue by engaging and inspiring fathers, and father figures, to be active in their children’s lives and providing the resources to help reverse the fatherless trend in America.

See more at

The Good Men Project: http://goodmenproject.com/

The National Center for Fathering http://www.fathers.com/

Fatherhood Factor http://fatherhoodfactor.com/

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