Family and Father Figure

Fatherless I remember always thinking to myself as a kid: Was it my fault that my father wasn’t around? Was it my fault my family is struggling? My fault we can’t afford nicer things? While I would see the other kids getting picked up by their parents after school while I’m waiting on the school bus to take me home. At times it hurt, especially when I had to teach myself everything a father figure should have.

Life without a father or in a single parent household has a burden on children, but it’s something that many children face in America today. It’s sometimes the reason why kids grow up and stray the wrong direction in life and then they grow up putting their children through the same thing they went through. Being fatherless is actually something that a lot of children suffer with in America, and it’s a vicious cycle that continues to run rampant through communities, both bad and good. “One-third of American children are growing up, without their biological father, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. In the past 50 years, the percentage of children who live with two married parents has dropped 22 points. During that same time, the number of babies born to unwed mothers jumped from 5 percent to 40 percent” (Stuart). It happens in many different ways, which include: one night stands, divorce, separation due to imprisonment or death, and etc. One situation that sticks out to me because it actually happened to me is the father walking out on his family, either after the child is born or before.

When this happens the father usually has no idea the impact on the decision he has made. Most times its out of fear, he thinks he’s too young to have a child or family. Other cases include the father leaving because doesn’t want anything to do with the child. So he leaves with the thought that the child would be better off without him, when in fact he’s making things worse. When this happens it causes children to blame themselves for what’s happened to them, to blame themselves for what’s happening to their family. They grow p questioning everything they see, without receiving any answers. They end up having bitter feelings or being jealous of other kids, and they struggle mentally and physically. “The growing trend of father absence could have grave implications for society, researchers say, because having dad around has been linked to important developments in a child’s physical, emotional and behavioral health” (Stuart). In doing this they end up making a lot of the wrong decisions, end up struggling in school, and may end up committing crimes or dropping out of school.

Another thing it causes is MORE children to grow up without fathers in America. This happens because children without fathers tend to experiment sexually sooner than other children, so they end up doing the same thing their father initially did to them. There has been a lot of research done on single parent households in collaboration to them growing up without fathers, some of the facts that were found are:  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. 3% of youth suicides are from fatherless homes. 85% of all children that exhibit behavioral disorders come from fatherless homes. 71% of all high school dropouts come from fatherless homes. Boys who grow up in father-absent homes are more likely that those in father-present homes to have trouble establishing appropriate sex roles and gender identity. The likelihood that a young male will engage in criminal activity doubles if he is raised without a father and triples if he lives in a neighborhood with a high concentration of single-parent families.

Lastly, in a longitudinal study of 1,197 fourth-grade students, researchers observed “greater levels of aggression in boys from mother-only households than from boys in mother-father households” (Parker). It’s very sad that all of that can be caused simply because a father is not around. Sometimes children don’t become a statistic and actually close the cycle they’ve been put in, but others aren’t so lucky. A child can grow-up just with his or her mother, but there are things that a mother just can’t do.

She can’t stop her child for blaming himself or herself, and she can’t stop the mental and physical burden that her child has to endure. Yes, as a mother she can handle everything on her own, but in the end the child still wonders. I had a wonderful mother growing up, and I appreciated everything she did for me. As her son there were things I just couldn’t ask her or talk to her about: I couldn’t ask her about woman, how to talk to a girl, how to get a girl to like me, or even about sex. So I had to experience things on my own, I had to learn the hard way in most cases.

I fell right into the statistics that haunt fatherless children, I did horrible in school, I ended up smoking marijuana, indulged in sexual activities at a young age, and ended up not graduating with my class in high school. Luckily I realized what road I was taking before it was too late, and sometimes all that takes is someone to step up, come into your life and be that father figure. For me, it was my Marine Corps Recruiter, I finally had someone to talk to me about the things I should have already known if I had a father in my life and if it wasn’t for him who knows where I would be right now.

Not every child is lucky enough to have experienced what I did, some of the friends I had growing up ended up with kids at an early age, ended up in prison, or are just completely unhappy with their life. There’s one thing I promised myself when I was younger because of my experiences, and that’s is: No matter the situation or current point I am in, in my life, I will never have my seed go through what I went through growing up. I haven’t had any children yet for that reason; I’m waiting until I know for a fact that I’m ready, mentally, physically, and financially.

Sometimes I even catch myself being happy that I grew up the way I did, I made some poor choices and mistakes that I learned from, and I probably wouldn’t be the man I am today if that would have happened, so for that I am grateful. Change is something that needs to happen not only in America but all over the world. Men as a whole need to start taking responsibilities for their actions and being there for their children, even though with some cases it is hard especially when the father loses all custody for his child, but even this is no excuse for not being around.

Like I said earlier, women are strong and can handle anything you throw at them, but there are still things a woman can’t teach her son or daughter. It doesn’t seem like much but a father or a father like figure makes a significant difference in a child’s life, that it could be the difference of being depressed to happy, successful and unsuccessful, prison or not, or even life or death. Works Cited Stuart, Elizabeth. “Fatherless America? A third of children now live without their dad. ” Deseret News. , 22 May 2011. Web. 4 May 2009. Parker, Wayne. “Statistics on Fatherless Children in America. ”

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