Are you parenting boys? Is dad active in his life? Do you worry he could be in trouble?
Parenting Boys: Boys Without Fathers
One of the most common issues our boys face is growing up without their father.
According to estimates, one in three boys currently lives in a home without a father or other strong male role model.
Maybe dad does live in the home but isn’t emotionally present because:
- He’s working 60 hours a week and has no time for his son
- He’s struggling with addiction issues and that impacts the quality of parenting
- He’s putting himself first and focuses on sports, friends or other non-family activities
Studies show these boys are more likely than the rest of their peers to:
- Drop out of school
- Get involved in gangs
- Experience trouble with the law
- Experiment with drugs and/or alcohol
My research supports that when a boy gets in serious trouble, there’s a very good chance he’s growing up without a father.
- 70% of adolescent boys in residential treatment centers are fatherless
- 72% of juveniles in state reform institutions grew up without parents or in single-parent homes
- 72% of adolescent murderers grew up without fathers
- The most shocking…more than 75% of all crime in America is committed by men who were fatherless as children
Parenting Boys: Our Boys Are Suffering
I’m not saying every boy who is suffering is fatherless. Plenty of boys raised by single mothers grow up to be healthy, happy and whole members of society. There are many boys who aren’t any trouble at all that are struggling in school, feeling sadness or depression, having trouble in their relationships with their peers or families. They may even be experiencing physical pain or illness that is caused by mental stress.
I’m going to say something here you might not like. “Over the last 25 years or so, we have ignored our boys.” A significant amount of attention has been focused on girls and young women, which was certainly needed. In the meantime, society has ignored the boys and they’re struggling.
Questions we should be asking ourselves:
Why are they having such a rough time growing up?
Why are so many of them struggling to find their way in the world?
Can the people who care about them, do anything about it?
I say we can! First, we have to agree, accept and decide we’re going to do something about it. This is my mission when I work with boys during the 10- week Quest Project® (a troubled teens program). Look for answers to these questions and more in future blog articles.
In the meantime, I’m curious to know your thoughts about how we can address the epidemic of troubled boys in our society. Please post your comments, questions or challenges in the comments below.