Even as a kid, I could notice a difference in my classmates when they didn’t have a fatherly influence in their lives. Later on, as I became an educator myself, I observed in a completely separate way the conflicts that would arise now and then in the school setting when a father was missing from a child’s life. I’m definitely not saying the mothers are not doing the best that they can, but a child needs a father. If you are wondering if not spending a lot of time with your child could be affecting them, well think of this as your George Bailey moment from It’s a Wonderful Life. If you are not a constant presence, then this is what could happen.
The joke goes that half of all marriages end in divorce, and the other half ends with death. I know divorces can get messy. I’ve seen how nasty it can get firsthand. It is not a pleasant experience. But that doesn’t mean you should wash your hands of the situation and bail out on your children just because your ex-wife is making things difficult.
It is a fact that low-income families are more likely to lack the presence of a father. Part of the reason they are low-income in the first place is because once there were possibly two salaries coming in, and then there was one. The household income takes a major hit. And fathers that are absent tend to not realize what a detriment it is to the children to be raised in such dire need. If you don’t think a child being brought up at the poverty level is affecting them, then you are sorely kidding yourself. Just go ahead and listen to Elvis Presley’s song In the Ghetto. Elvis was raised in the ghettos of Mississippi and Tennessee, so he knows a bit about what he is singing about.
Emotional and Behavioral Problems
Once again, as an educator that has worked with young students for over a decade, there can be emotional and behavioral problems with the child stemming from not having a fatherly influence in their lives. You can read studies about it, there are many out there, or you can listen to a teacher like myself tell you what we have seen. The lack of a relationship with a child will affect their relationships with others for the rest of their lives.
I have taught kindergarten to junior high students. There have been many students that did not have a father in their lives that exhibited mature behavior. However, usually the opposite was the case in general. Younger students without a father can be easily led to make bad decisions. They can be swayed by others since their dad is not there to tell them what to expect in life. Plus, the problem with emotional and behavioral problems at a young age is that it can grow considerably worse over time. While it may only be detentions and getting sent to the principal’s office right now, down the road it could become problems with the law. Knowing that your child is going to prison because you weren’t there as a father is something that will haunt you forever.
Lack of Success Later in Life
Without a male influence pushing a child to do their best, many of these kids grow up and aim much too low in life. Mothers are always good at telling their children that they are perfect just the way they are. Fathers are great at informing their children that they expect more from them, and then guide them on how to go about doing it. One needs to play off the other and when the father component is missing, will the child who later becomes an adult want to shoot for the stars or settle for the crumbs?
Education is one of the most important things in a young child’s life. It constantly opens up new interests and hobbies to them on a weekly basis. As they get older, it will continue from there. A love of animals when they were little could lead to them becoming a veterinarian later in life.
Not having a father, especially in the formative years, could lead to the child not valuing education like they should. Personally speaking, if I was bombing in my subjects at school, my dad held my feet to the fire. He was the hammer and I was the nail. I quickly always got things back on track. Fathers are supposed to be there to hold their children accountable, and if they aren’t, it can be bad news across the board.
This blog is part of Fathers Incorporated‘s Drive To Five campaign. The campaign design seeks to reduce father absence by engaging dads at the early stages of their child’s development, which makes them more likely to continue their involvement through all of the stages of their development. For more information visit www.drivetofive.org