Children are a gift from the Lord; they are a reward from him.Psalm 127
By John Thurman, M.Div., M.A., LPCC
Recently I was at our son-in-law and daughter’s home in the Texas Hill Country. For those who don’t know, this region stretches across the state’s center, bound in on the east by Austin and San Antonio, stretching west towards the Llano Uplift and Big Bend country. It is a special place, Angie, and I love to visit.
Dads are essential—despite what many in our culture think. I have named this article The Importance of Having a Man in the Home because it is time for us to acknowledge dads’ contributions to their children’s lives.
This trip was memorable because our son, his son, and our Texas grandsons were all together for a few days.
My son and son-in-law are doing an exceptional job as present dads. I am thankful that even with my mistakes, our kids have turned into productive, caring adults, and it looks like our grandsons are on a great trajectory.
Let’s see what the research says about The Importance of Having a Man in the Home.
As a minister and therapist, I have been profoundly aware of some of the challenges boys and girls face when there is no man in the home and no dad to be there for the kids.
Children do comparatively better when a dad dies or is killed in war than when their fathers are absent because of divorce or parents never married. While they do not fare as well as children raised in families in which both biological parents are present, the likelihood of damage is less.
Why? When a dad is killed in war or dies prematurely, his absence does not leave them feeling purposely abandoned.[i]
In stark contrast, children of divorce report that they rarely hear their dad honored; instead, they often hear him badmouthed. They “inherit” that lack respect for him and, therefore, for the half of themselves that comes from him.
Children raised by moms who are single by choice tend to experience fewer problems than children of divorce.
On the dark side, a fundamental review of school shooters reveals that many were dad-deprived boys. While this may or may not come as a surprise, I will soon show you fifteen well-researched ways that dads are so important.
One of the people I follow is Dr. Jordan Peterson, a Canadian Professor, and Psychologist who brings a refreshing perspective to many areas of life. I recently listened to Dr. Peterson interview Dr. Farrell, discussing school shootings and the Boy Crisis. (link)
*Warren Farrell, PhD., and John Gray did a significant job gathering data for their book The Boy Crisis: Why Our Boys are Struggling and What We Can Do About It (2019). This next segment is adapted from this book.
The fifteen reasons listed in The Importance of Having a Man in the Home come from the above-mentioned book.
These are from the book mentioned above:
Here are fifteen reasons why dads are important. For the list of seventy ways, check out Appendix B of the book.
1. School Achievement. A study of boys from similar backgrounds revealed that by the third grade, the boys whose fathers were present scored higher on every achievement test and received a higher grade.
2. The 3 Rs. The more involved his dad is, the more significant the boy’s increase in verbal intelligence and the better both boys’ and girls’ math and quantitative abilities are.[ii]
3. School Dropout Rates. The more years children spend with no or minimal father involvement, the fewer years of school they complete; 71 percent of high school dropouts have minimal or no father involvement. Dad-deprived children are also more likely to skip school or be expelled.
4. Employment. While boys from two-parent homes are two times more likely than their sisters to be employed as young adults, dad-deprived boys are more likely than their sisters to be unemployed. And when they are employed, dad-deprived boys are also less likely than their sisters to succeed professionally.
5. Suicide. Living in a home without a dad correlates more with suicide among children and teenagers than any other factor.
6. Drugs. Father involvement is at least five times more important in preventing drug use than closeness to parent, parent rules, parent trust, or strictness. In addition, it is a more potent determining factor than the child’s gender, ethnicity, or social class.
7. Homelessness. Around 90 percent of runaways and homeless youths are from fatherless homes.
8. Bullying. The American Psychological Association found in its 153 studies that father absence predicts the profile of both the bully and the bullied: poor self-esteem, poor grades, and poor social skills.
9. Victimization. Children between ten and seventeen living without their biological dad were likelier to be victims of child abuse, significant violence, sexual assault, and domestic violence.
10. Violent Crimes. Every 1 percent increase in fatherlessness in a neighborhood predicts a 3 percent increase in adolescent violence.
11. Rape. Among rapists specifically assessed as raping out of anger or rage, 85percent came from father-absent homes.
12. Power and Mobility. Children born poor and raised by both married parents have an 80 percent chance of moving into the middle class or above; conversely, children born into the middle class and raised without a married dad were almost four times more likely to end up considerably poorer.
13. Hypertension. Among Black boys, hypertension is reduced by 46 percent when dads are significantly involved.
14. Trust. The more contact children have with their dads, the more quickly they make open, receptive, and trusting contact with new people in their lives.
15. Empathy. The amount of time a father spends with a child is one of the strongest predictors of the child’s ability to empathize in adulthood.
Review this list for a couple of moments. Any of these has enormous implications for your son and daughter’s future.
In the following few articles, I hope to give dads, granddads, uncles, and other men tools they can use to help. I also want to suggest how single moms, particularly boys, might find appropriate male input for their boys from male family members and other men from churches and neighbors.
I believe we are in the middle of a masculine crisis! Many men feel the defining traits of being a man, including “toughness, dominance, self-reliance, heterosexual behaviors, restriction of emotions expression and the avoidance of traditional feminine attitudes and behaviors are under attack.
I also believe that the Scriptures give us clear guidance on how to be a man who loves God, serves others, controls his passions, provides, protects his family and those in peril, and is learning to follow God’s word.
I recently received a copy of Jon Tyson’s book, The Intentional Father: A Practical Guide to Raise Sons of Courage and Character, from Baker books. This resource, based on the Barna Institutes’ research, gives Christian dads several biblically-based suggestions on raising courageous young men. I give it five stars!
I hope you enjoyed the Importance of Having a Man in the Home. I realize this is not a possibility for everyone, but in the future, I will be giving you some suggestions on how to find safe, honorable men who can positively influence your sons.
Want more information?
Check out my website www.johnthurman.info