I recently wrote an article on A/C regarding child support and joint custody. The article was written from a father’s point of view, mine. I won’t get into that article’s details, but if you are interested please read Child Support and Joint Custody.
I have received some good feedback and I wanted to follow it up with an article that concerns every father, but more so fathers who share custody of their children with an ex-spouse.
The Numbers Don’t Lie
I would first like to present to you some important information. The following are some very disturbing statistics from www.childrensjustice.org :
Children from fatherless homes account for the following in the United States:
63% of youth suicides. (Source: US Dept. of Health & Human Services, Bureau of the Census).
71% of pregnant teenagers. (Source: US Dept. of Health & Human Services)
90% of all homeless and runaway children.
70% of juveniles in state-operated institutions come from fatherless homes (Source: U.S. Dept. of Justice, Special Report, Sept 1988)
85% of all children that exhibit behavioral disorders. (Source: Center for Disease Control).
80% of rapists motivated with displaced anger. (Source: Criminal Justice & Behavior, Vol. 14, p. 403-26, 1978).
71% of all high school dropouts. (Source: National Principals Association Report on the State of High Schools).
75% of all adolescent patients in chemical abuse centers. (Source: Rainbows for all God’s Children).
85% of all youths sitting in prisons. (Source: Fulton Co. Georgia jail populations, Texas Dept. of Corrections 1992). As shocking as these statistics are, I am not all that surprised and neither should you. I believe that having a proper father figure in my life growing up, would have helped me avoid some of the bad decisions I made growing up. For more information please read: The Downward Spiral: Don’t Hit Bottom.
Children in the Crossfire
Too many times, and once is too many, children are used as tools and weapons against ex-spouses. I have been fortunate to not have had to deal with a situation such as this, but have been witness to it first hand. Unfortunately, I am confident that if you are reading this you know of a situation where a child is caught up in a terrible battle between two parents. The long-term effects can be devastating under certain conditions. Bribery, threats, neglect, mental and even physical abuse are all too common side effects of divorce and separation.
There is a stigma in this country amongst many men that his obligation ends with child support and alimony payments. This could not be further from the truth. As a father who pays child support I can tell you that your children do not care that you are making support payments. That is an issue between parents that is to be addressed by two adults. Your kids want you! They want to talk to you daily, see you often, and be there for them. Period. If you are a joint-custody father, can you even name three of your child’s friends? It is not their job to work it out to make it happen. As a man don’t be the one to cause it not to happen. There are resources available to help if there is an uncompromising ex-spouse preventing you from being there for your child if you have a legal right to do so. On the other hand if you have had personal barriers that prevent you from seeing them (drugs, alcohol, police trouble etc.), it’s time to man up and clean up your act. Your children want and need you to be the man God intended you to be.
The Harsh Reality
The reality of all of this is that the statistics show that children without a father figure are in danger. The reality of all of this is that children will wait for their father, and if he doesn’t step up they will harbor resentment towards him and possibly all authority figures. Please don’t let your children down. There is a decline of men who attend church services, a rise in male imprisonment, and unfortunately, too many passive fathers.