Monday, June 17, 2013

Thoughts about life, crap, training, and stuff - Post Father's day edition

Happy belated Father's Day to all the dads out there.

For the dads that are involved and immersed in their kids lives, I think all would agree with me when I write that being a dad is the most awesome and rewarding thing that's ever happened to us in our life.  I cannot comprehend how a man could have a child and not want to be everything in that kids life.  That's your blood, your legacy.  Yet there's an epidemic going on with single mother homes now, and I am not sure why.

I'm not sure why men are freeing themselves from the responsibility of being a part of their own flesh and bloods live's.  I don't think there's a single cultural or social answer, regardless of what the media tells you, or what some study tells you.

If I had to take a shot in the dark, I would say that economic stress, family history, and education all play a part.  I think that some basic "values" also play a role.  When someone comes from a single mother home and never sees a responsible father or doesn't know what that looks like, they may be more inclined to not play that role.  Of course, this isn't the case across the board, I'm not painting with broad strokes here.

I wanted to look at two things.  Some stats on single mothers, and how fatherless homes affects the kids that came from them.

This is what I found.......

In regards to the economic (poorer families) and education part (poorer families) is what studies find in regards to unwed mothers having kids....

Nonmarital births have increased precipitously in the past forty years, especially among minorities and the poor, the groups of greatest concern. Today more than 70 percent of black children, 50 percent of Hispanic children, nearly 30 percent of white children, and 40 percent of all children are born outside marriage, assuring the persistence of poverty, wasting human potential, and raising government spending. Reducing nonmarital births and mitigating their consequences should be a top priority of the nation’s social policy

To add..........

A long-term study by researchers from Princeton and Columbia universities who've followed the lives of 5,000 children, born to married and never-married mothers in 20 urban centers, is the latest to reach that conclusion, and it sheds light on the reasons.

A large majority of the never-married mothers had close relationships with a partner when their child was born. But by the time the child was 5, most of the fathers were gone and the child had little contact with him. As many of the mothers went on to new relationships, the children were hampered by repeated transitions that did more harm to their development.

My thoughts on this?

Five years?  Suddenly the guy just jets after 5 or less years?

That didn't make a lot of sense to me.  So I found this piece of evidence......

In both Promises I Can Keep, and Doing the Best I Can, Edin’s forthcoming book on low-income fathers co-written with Tim Nelson, most parents-to-be had been together for only a few months, or even weeks. Those relationships also tended to be emotionally distant. Expectant couples have rarely spent much time doing things together or hanging out with friends and family. Men described themselves as "associating with" the woman who would become their child’s mother, not "dating" or "seeing" her. Still, Edin and Nelson find that men are generally happy, even thrilled, when a sexual partner announces that she is expecting, and the pregnancy tends to intensify the association into a recognizable relationship—at least temporarily. Unsurprisingly, many men and women quickly find they have nothing in common and don’t even like each other.

Most couples break up within a few years.
So basically, in the poorer communities, people hook up, the chic gets preggo and then ol boy is actually pretty receptive to it.  Never mind that they don't really know each other at all.  But the bond of having a child together seems to at least hold for a little while.  However eventually, as with most things, wanes and he jets. Thus the stat for why so many of the single mothers in the poor communities had the father around the kid for 5 years or less.  

But to be fair, there appears to be three types of single moms.

First are women who were married or in committed partnerships when they had their kids, but who divorced or separated later on. They run the socio-economic gamut, from rich to poor. Second are "choice mothers," single women who planned to become mothers despite being unmarried. Choice mothers tend to be educated, in their 30s or early 40s, and financially stable. Their children are usually born via anonymous or known sperm donor, though hook ups with ex-boyfriends are not unheard of. As the term suggests, "choice mothers" distinguish themselves from the far larger third category: low-income or working-class, young, never-married mothers.

So basically, only one of the three types are a single mother by choice.  The third kind I don't get either.  You would purposely not want a father in your kids life?  This makes no sense to me.  So without getting into a fucking moral debate about it, let's deal with some stats again......

From the website thefatherlessgeneration...........
  • 63% of youth suicides are from fatherless homes (US Dept. Of Health/Census) – 5 times the average.
  • 90% of all homeless and runaway children are from fatherless homes – 32 times the average.
  • 85% of all children who show behavior disorders come from fatherless homes – 20 times the average. (Center for Disease Control)
  • 80% of rapists with anger problems come from fatherless homes –14 times the average. (Justice & Behavior, Vol 14, p. 403-26)
  • 71% of all high school dropouts come from fatherless homes – 9 times the average. (National Principals Association Report)

Father Factor in Education - 
  • Fatherless children are twice as likely to drop out of school.
  • Children with Fathers who are involved are 40% less likely to repeat a grade in school.
  • Children with Fathers who are involved are 70% less likely to drop out of school.
  • Children with Fathers who are involved are more likely to get A’s in school.
  • Children with Fathers who are involved are more likely to enjoy school and engage in extracurricular activities.
  • 75% of all adolescent patients in chemical abuse centers come from fatherless homes – 10 times the average.

Father Factor in Drug and Alcohol Abuse - 
  • Researchers at Columbia University found that children living in two-parent household with a poor relationship with their father are 68% more likely to smoke, drink, or use drugs compared to all teens in two-parent households. Teens in single mother households are at a 30% higher risk than those in two-parent households.
  • 70% of youths in state-operated institutions come from fatherless homes – 9 times the average. (U.S. Dept. of Justice, Sept. 1988)
  • 85% of all youths in prison come from fatherless homes – 20 times the average. (Fulton Co. Georgia, Texas Dept. of Correction)
Now, the largest amount of kids who come from fatherless homes tend to fall from economically challenged group, so I don't know how skewed these stats are regarding that.  However, I still wanted to show these stats because I think dads are fucking important.  And the above stats say why.

But you know what, fuck all that.  Fuck all the stats and research.  Let's get back to reality.  

Rich or poor, social status be damned, dads matter.  If you're a guy who got a woman pregnant and then failed to be a father to that kid, and that kid grows up to be a statistic you played a part in that by being estranged in that kids life.  

No blog post is going to fix any social issue we have going on in America.  Hell, I can barely fix my own problems half the time.  I think that probably goes for most of us.  However, the one thing I don't have a problem with, is sacrificing for my kids and making them priority number one in my life.  

This is the message I'd like to write, in case it even reaches a single father that has not been involved in his kids life.

It's never too late.  Ever.  

You're broke, or don't have a job.  That kid doesn't care.  He or she just wants to know dad.  They still want to have a relationship with you.  Your social or economic status or standing doesn't factor into how they will feel about you.  They won't ever judge you on what your paycheck reads.  They care more about what is written on your heart about them.    

They will love you unconditionally.  They will forgive you for not being there the years before because they will want this relationship with you so badly.  But you need to make up for that too.  Even in cases where that kid is older, that may take some time, but it will eventually happen.  Kids want to know their dad.  They want to be close with him and know that dad loves them, cares, will protect and provide the best he can for them.  

No matter what you think of yourself, they will always want you to be someone that is proud of them.  Someone that is at all the games, at all the graduations, at their wedding(s).  

Your kid won't remember the jobs you had or didn't have, they will remember the time you gave them and the love you showed them.  They will remember how you made them feel.  

If you're a dad out there and you've been estranged for a while from your blood, man up.  Seek them out, and ask for forgiveness.  Put aside the differences you may have with the mother and make all the sacrifices you need to make in your life to show them how important they are.  Pass on something better than what you had given to you.  That way next year, when Father's Day rolls around, you get a little something extra that maybe you haven't had before.  You'll never want to be without it after that.  

In closing, thanks to my dad and I hope you had a great fathers day, pops.  


  1. A-MEN! Great post. My best Father's Day gift, yesterday? Having my 3-year old fall asleep on my lap, and taking a nap with my 5-year old.

    Another great read on the importance of fathers in a girl's life: 'Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters', by Dr. Meg Meeker. Great, great stuff.

  2. I always have mixed feelings about this topic. I grew up in a single mother household, Dad split when I was 3. There was a time when he was part of my life again for a couple short years as an early teenager, and when I asked about why they split up I sort of got it but not really. At first I was bitter about the whole thing, but then I grew up. The whole thing made me want to make sure my kids never had to experience the same thing.

    It helped that I still had my grandpa as an example of a man and he was involved in my life. But he wasn't the only one that stepped up to the plate. Many cities or towns have "Big Brother" programs. I don't remember my big brother's last name, but Bob was a Navy officer. He taught me how to play chess, we went on long bike rides, talked about life, he helped toughen me up, and even enjoyed a couple MREs and learned to throw a hand grenade. There were other men who helped me become the man I am today. They taught me how to lead by example, how to teach, how to listen.

    Long story short is that while the statistics suck, there are solutions. You can make a difference in some kid's life even if they aren't yours. You don't even have to be a full time part of their lives. Every little bit helps. Just watching a man be a man and keep their promises to their own hurt, or choose _not_ to retaliate when they have every right to has a huge impact.

    1. Good point, Berin. Unfortunately, there seems to be a plethora of single mothers who think they can "do it on their own", or be mom AND dad. Those kids are the ones who suffer.

  3. Is there some reason that you have assumed that the father being gone is the father's choice? In the breakups I've seen, it was the mother who kicked the father out.