Family Groups - Fathers - fathers are essential
In the past several decades, the United States has achieved
the dubious distinction of becoming the world leader in fatherless
Currently, 34% of American children live without their biological
father. When did this trend start, and what does it bode for
The rise of father-absence can be traced 50 years back. In
1965, Daniel Patrick Moynihan, then working in the Johnson
administration, looked into the problems of under-class America.
The Moynihan Report issued this solemn warning:
"From the wild Irish slums of the 19th century eastern
seaboard, to the riot-torn suburbs of Los Angeles, there is
one unmistakable lesson in American history: A community that
allows a large number of young men to grow up in broken families,
dominated by women, never acquiring any stable relationship
to male authority, never acquiring any rational expectations
about the future -- that community asks for and gets chaos."
The heralded Report offered Americans a unique opportunity
to alter the trajectory of history, to thwart the impending
plunge into the abyss.
But rather than heed the prescient warning, warm-hearted liberals
denounced Moynihan’s conclusion as “blaming the
victim.” And feminists reviled the report as promoting
the “hetero-patriarchal” agenda.
But it wasn’t enough to just ignore Moynihan’s
Architects of the Great Society program went ahead and implemented
eligibility requirements that cut off welfare benefits if
the father resided with the mother – the so-called “man-in-the-house”
rule. Now, low-income fathers found themselves pitted against
government largesse to compete for the loyalty of poor mothers.
A tragic mismatch, indeed.
As a result, the number of children who lived in fatherless
homes mushroomed from 5.1 million in 1960 to 16.5 million
in 1995. These policies were so devastating in their impact
that involved, caring fathers all but disappeared from low-income,
So while liberals comforted themselves with the knowledge
that they had avoided “blaming the victim,” millions
of little boys and girls had to console themselves with the
elusive hope that someday, society would stop shoving daddy
out the back door.
Once poor fathers had been run out of their homes, the fem-liberals
broadened their focus. They launched an attack on the whole
notion of fatherhood itself [Read:].
Five years ago this month the American Psychological Association
used the occasion of Father’s Day to publish an article
with the awful title, “Deconstructing the Essential
The partisan article triggered a firestorm of protest, including
a rebuke from 18 members of Congress [Read:].
Despite what the American Psychological Association might
say, most persons agree that dads are worth keeping around.
First, a father’s breadwinning instinct keeps the family
out of the clutches of poverty. Indeed, while father-present
households saw an increase in income from 1960 to 1990, father-absent
families saw a financial decline.
But fathers are more than income producers. Fathers undergird
the very order and structure of the family.
Scores of research studies have documented the positive effects
of involved fathers (www.fatherhood.org/fatherfacts.htm).
Here’s just a sampling of the benefits:
• The National Center for Educational Statistics reported
that when fathers are involved in their children’s education,
the kids were more likely to get As, enjoy school, and participate
in extracurricular activities.
• Kyle Pruett concluded that kids with engaged fathers
demonstrate “a greater ability to take initiative and
• When these boys grew up, they were more likely to
be good dads themselves.
But when fathers are disenfranchised by misguided government
programs, here’s the result:
• Their children have a higher rate of asthma, headaches,
anxiety, depression, and behavioral problems.
• Teenagers are at greater risk of alcohol, tobacco,
and illicit drug use, and suicide
• Adolescent girls are 3 times more likely to engage
in sexual relations by the time they turn 15, and 5 times
more likely to become a teen mother.
Amazing, isn’t it?
Thank you, dad, for being there. You were more than essential.
You were a beacon of truthfulness, common sense, kindness,
and silent courage.