Analysis: Fatherhood Absence and Involvement Makes a Difference in Child Development
Having an available, responsible and emotionally supportive father figure actively involved in a child’s life can play a dramatic role in the shaping of a child’s future.
Of course, any biological male can produce a child but a male that actively participates in the child’s life and takes on the role of fatherhood has been proven by various studies to be vital in a child’s developmental growth.
For instance, studies have shown that young women who had an unstable or a non-existent father figure in their lives were more likely to develop depression, be sexually active at an early age, and often displayed patterns of risky sexual behavior.
Fatherless daughters have often found themselves having difficulty building and sustaining healthy long-term relationships with men. Those same studies have also shown that absent fathers have been linked to the majority of teenage pregnancies. Over 70 percent of unplanned teenage pregnancies occurred in homes where there was no father figure present.
Young boys often tend to model themselves after the closest male authority figures in their household. Those that lack a father figure presence- have often found themselves having a tougher time learning how to be men or fathers. They have no sense of guidance or direction and are more likely to suffer from low self-esteem and anger issues.
Studies have found that adolescent males who grew up without a father figure in their lives, often join gangs and engage in criminal activity. An involved father figure present tends to provide the much needed structure and discipline young males crave.
Fatherless households also contribute to 63% of youth suicides, 85% of behavioral disorders found in children, 90% of youth homelessness, 71% of high school dropouts, 85% of youth crime and delinquency, 68% more likely to smoke, drink, or use drugs, and 80% rape cases motivated by displaced anger.
The research shows that fathers, much like mothers, are pillars in a child’s cognitive, emotional, and social development. A father’s involvement or lack thereof can take a detrimental toll on a child’s upbringing.