Important Male Figures- Stats state having males in your child's life may prevent future challenges
Being a parent is hard work, but being a single parent makes the job more than twice as hard.
If the added stress, work, and expectations aren’t enough, studies compiled by the Federal Interagency Forum on Child and Family Statistics show that the following figures are true. Single Parent Success reports that children raised without father figures account for:
· 63 percent of youth suicides
· 85 percent of all children that exhibit behavioral disorders
· 71 percent of all high school dropouts
· 70 percent of juveniles in state-operated institutions
· 75 percent of adolescent patients in substance abuse centers
Other government studies have determined that there are numerous correlations to be raised in a fatherless environment. With this in mind, it doesn’t hurt to make every effort to try to negate the potentially harmful impact of raising a child without a masculine figure.
It’s important to understand that the child’s father may not always be the best choice for the person who will act as a child’s father figure. There are numerous other options including other family members, friends, teachers, and coaches. The important thing to keep in mind that the person’s character is more important than a biological connection to the child.
Masculine Influence Makes a Difference
It takes a strong woman to raise a child alone, but it should be noted that fathers interact with children differently than mothers and have a different impact on a child’s life.
The Early Childhood Learning and Knowledge Center have studied the influence of father’s on lifelong outcomes of children. They found that children raised in a household with a father figure have better mental health, physical health, and tend to have more self-control.
Each of these things makes a long-term difference in a person’s life leading to higher earnings, more education, and more stable relationships based on the U.S. Department of Justice’s research.
It Takes a Village
In the absence of a biological father, the community can step up and help support a single mother. The important characteristics of a father figure are a strong character, stable relationship with the child, and investment of time and effort into guiding the youth.
The impact of father figures equally affects both boys and girls during their childhood though the impact is different for boys and girls. While absentee fathers increase lifetime crime rates among boys, Psychology Today notes that girls with absentee fathers were two to eight times more at risk of becoming teenage mothers than girls who were raised with a father figure, the risk increasing the younger they were when their father stopped being involved.
Communities can have a positive impact on the outcomes for single mothers when other men step in to fill the role of a father in a child’s life.
Impact of Sports Teams and Coaches
While teachers in the school systems are primarily women, most sports coaches are male making sports the perfect opportunity for children to have male influence in their lives in a predictable and stable environment.
Sports coaches challenge children to excel, set high expectations, help children deal with emotional events, and provide guidance in many ways on and off the field. In many sports, teams stay together for years allowing strong relationships to form between a child and their coach.
Having a male influence in a child’s life can lead to better outcomes for the child including decreased mental health issues, fewer criminal activities, and more stable relationships. In the absence of a biological father, sports can be an opportunity to create a relationship with a strong masculine figure which can provide some of the benefits of having a stable father figure in the child’s life.