June 23, 2004 - NewsWithViews.com
In the past several decades, the United States has
achieved the dubious distinction of becoming the world
leader in fatherless families.
Currently, 34% of American children live without their
biological father. When did this trend start, and what
does it bode for our kids?
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
"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 analysis.
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
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, Black neighborhoods.
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 Father” (www.sharedparenting.net/fact/silver99.pdf).
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
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 evidence self-control.”
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.