Why is Fatherlessness An Epidemic in America?

In my ongoing research about Fatherless Daughter Syndrome and related topics, I have recently found resources that discuss some of the causes of fatherlessness that were previously not on my radar on a conscious level. I’m posting the video clip below and this commentary to encourage thoughtfulness in the hope of preventing another generation of fatherlessness.

Even if my message here reaches just one family–YOURS–the positive ripples will impact your child(ren)’s future relationships in love, business, and society in general.

My personal experience with my father leaving when I was 4 years old was that it was his own choice, that he was not able to cope with the responsibilities of family life. However, when I was a young mother going through my divorce, ¬†my son’s father was a good man who wanted to participate to the best of his abilities.

Fortunately, I was aware of the consequences of my own fatherless history, and I knew my son having a healthy relationship with his father would make it easier for him to enjoy success in life.

I regret I was thoughtless–truly unintentionally–in some of my decision-making that affected my son’s visitation with his father, such as when I moved us 80 miles away. Although my reasons were valid independent of the proximity to my son’s father, the distance put undue pressure on him, especially during the period of time when I did not have a car to drive our son to see his father for the weekend. If my son’s father had not been diligent and responsible¬†AND had the resources to make the effort, the two would not have had as good a relationship, which would have been at least half on me.

When my son graduated from 8th grade, I moved us back to near his father so they could have a solid relationship while in high school. In retrospect, there were several significant opportunity costs to our moving, even those my son recognizes, such as moving him out of the school district to a place where he had no long-term friends. For me, the opportunity costs included leaving a property I owned to pay relatively high rent. Still, overall, the move to near my son’s father was in their better interest, and mine, residually.

Hindsight is 20/20, but I share this with you to encourage thoughtfulness in your decision-making in matters related to your child(ren) and the other parent.

Why is fatherlessness an epidemic in America? Let’s actively work on prevention of fatherlessness in this generation of youth. Keep these in mind:

  • If both parents are reasonably sane and at least somewhat loving, their presence and participation in parenting–even if separate–will be better than either one being absent.
  • If you are a mother with custody of your child and the father is a decent man, do everything you can to facilitate their visitation as long as your child is safe.
  • If you are a non-residential father, do what you can to participate in your child’s life actively. Absence from the household does not have to mean absence from the child’s life!
  • Remember: You are divorcing your spouse, NOT your children. Likewise, your children are not divorcing the other parent. The kids need two parents. Be there.