How fatherless homes affect the development of children





How fatherless homes affect the development of children.

Research has shown that the number of fatherless children across the United States continues to rise as the number of divorces rises and teen births continues to increase. The trend has led to continued questioning of the potential effects of the trend where most children are being brought up by single mothers without any father figure in their lives. There has been much scholarly research that has been conducted on the topic with the main aim being to identify the results of this trend across the American families. In general, research suggests that the absence of a father figure in children’s lives is likely to affect negatively their development and increases the chances of such teens engaging in social evils such as drug abuse, crime, and end up in poverty. A further analysis of the research on the topic, researchers agree that the effects are likely to be more severe for boy children who are brought up in the absence of their fathers.

A scholarly article from the National Center for Father focuses on the effects of lack of a father figure in every child’s development. The National Center for Father is registered as a not for profit organization under article 501 (c) (3) and it was founded in the year 1990 with the aim of addressing the socio-economic issues that are related to fatherlessness across the United States of America. The organization’s objective is to ‘have an actively engaged father or father figure in the life of every child’. The organization over the years has been able to engage different fathers and engaging the various stakeholders who have interest in statistics on fatherless children and potential effects associated with the situation. Fathers get empowered by the organization on how they can become great fathers and ensure their presence shapes the development of their children in the right direction.

A research by the Marriage and Religion Research Institute in the United States sought to find out the effects of fatherlessness on the development of American Children. The research by the institute found out that about a third of children across the United States lives a fatherless life and further explained that such children suffered from emotional, physical, social, intellectual and economic deprivation in the lives due to lack of a father figure. The research by Marriage and Religion Institute (MARRI) focused on various aspects of child development such as sexual practice, deviant behavior, and education and generally concluded that children from fatherless families experience the majority of the social evils in the society.

On the effects of lack on a father figure in the development of a child’s sexual behavior, the research showed that girls who grew without a father figure are eight times more likely to have a teen pregnancy compared to those who grow with their father figure around them. The research also found out that when there is a father in the lives of African-American girls, 42 % of them are likely not to engage in premarital sex before turning 18 years. On the boy child, the research found out that boys who grow with close company of their fathers have good attitudes towards intimacy and are more likely to have aspirations for their marriage live compared to those who grow fatherless. The finding from the research clearly shows that the presence of a father figures in the lives of children, both male and females is important for their sexual development.

The research by MARRI focused on the effects of children growing fatherless on their education. The research focused on how lack of a father figure could negatively or positively affect a child’s school performance. The researchers found out that lack of a father in a child’s life could decrease the educational performance of a child. Fatherless children are more likely to drop out of school compared to those with a father figure with the research showing that 71% of school dropouts were from students without a father figure in their lives. From the research’s findings, it is evident that a child’s education suffers negatively when there is no father figure and the need for a father figure in every child’s life. However critics of this finding argue that, the research did not reveal why the absence of a father figure led to decreased school performance and increased the likelihood of a school dropout. Those who support the finding argue that mothers are less likely to discipline their children and ensure they focus on their education while fathers more often focusing on ensuring children get educated.

The research finally focused on the effects of fatherlessness in a children general behavior. The research shows that the probability of a child developing a deviant behavior when they lack a father figure in their lives is higher when contrasted with those with a father. When a child, a boy or a child has a father in their lives, they grow with an acceptable behavior and end up as compassionate and responsible adults eventually. A father figure plays a key role in modifying the behavior of boys and girls while those who are fatherless are likely to show delayed gratification, poor management of their anger, sexual gratification attitude and often showed a weaker sense of right from the wrongs.

The statistics from the U.S. state department of Health and Human services concluded that, ‘Fatherless children are at a dramatically greater risk of drug and alcohol abuse.’ The conclusion was based on the analysis of data on child drug abuse from different states and this points towards a worrying trend. The conclusions resurfaces the argument of how absentee fathers should be dealt with as the effects of such absenteeism has proven to be grave and can lead to deviant behavior in children.

A research has been done how children without a father figure in their lives deal with internal and external behavior issues. A research on 1,977 children aged between 3years and 15 years indicated that children who lived in families with a father and mother experience fewer behavior issues compared to those raised by single mums. This research shows the importance of a father figure in helping a child manage their behavior and is less likely to pick up deviant behavior.

From the research above, it is evident that children who grow without a father figure are likely to experience emotional, physical, psychological, social and economic disadvantages. The findings of the research indicate theta children are likely to develop wholesomely when they have a father or a father figure in their lives. Fathers can be a source of love, compassionate, and mentor in helping kids achieve their goals in life. Research has shown that many teens that grow without a father figure end up dropping out of school developing deviant behavior and do not appreciate the role of marriage in general. From my own experience with friends who I have seen grow without a father figure, I believe that teens growing without the guidance of a father figure can lead to deviant behavior in children. Mothers are often softer to their children and reluctant to correct them when they go wrong compared to fathers who are willing to make their opinions known without any hesitation. Until one understands the role of a father figure in child development, they are likely to underestimate it.


Glenn, N. (2017). Social science findings and the “family wars”. In Searching for science policy (pp. 81-96). Routledge.Green, D. S. (2018). Differential Pathways of Fathering and Fatherlessness in Afro-Caribbean Families.Popenoe, D. (2017). Families without Fathers: Fatherhood, Marriage and Children in American Society. Routledge.Scott, J. N. (2017). Impact of Fatherlessness on Academic Achievement, Delinquent Behavior, Sexual Behavior and Attachment Style (Doctoral dissertation, Tennessee State University).