Do You Know Your Father? The Problems Of Fatherlessness
AFRICANGLOBE – The problems among young Black males stem from many areas such as lack of opportunity, systematic racism, low self-esteem, living in a violent environment, drugs, etc. The root of the problem for some Black males may be the absence of the father in the Black family. The relationship between the absent father and the problems of some young Black male is definitely a strong one. Black males need strong Black fathers as models in which to live their lives.
They need them for their self-esteem, because without them they are missing a part of themselves. The absent Black father tends to turn into a cycle among Black males. Young Black males whose fathers were not there for them tend not to be there for their children. This research shows the relationship between the absent Black father and his Black male children’s development, socially, and psychologically.
Researchers have found that for young Black children, the results are nothing short of disastrous:
- Black children’s diminished self-concept, and compromised physical and emotional security (children consistently report feeling abandoned when their fathers are not involved in their lives, struggling with their emotions and episodic bouts of self-loathing)
- Behavioral problems (fatherless children have more difficulties with social adjustment, and are more likely to report problems with friendships, and manifest behavior problems; many develop a swaggering, intimidating persona in an attempt to disguise their underlying fears, resentments, anxieties and unhappiness)
- Poor academic performance (71 percent of high school dropouts are fatherless; fatherless children have more trouble academically, scoring poorly on tests of reading, mathematics, and thinking skills; children from father absent homes are more likely to play truant from school, more likely to be excluded from school, more likely to leave school at age 16, and less likely to attain academic and professional qualifications in adulthood).
- Delinquency and youth crime, including violent crime (85% of Black male youth in prison have an absent father; fatherless children are more likely to offend and go to jail as adults)
- Drug and alcohol abuse (fatherless children are more likely to smoke, drink alcohol, and abuse drugs in childhood and adulthood)
- Homelessness (90% of runaway children have an absent father)
- Exploitation and abuse/being an abuser (fatherless children are at greater risk of suffering physical, emotional, and sexual abuse, being five times more likely to have experienced physical abuse and emotional maltreatment, with a one hundred times higher risk of fatal abuse; a recent study reported that preschoolers not living with both of their biological parents are 40 times more likely to be sexually abused)
- Physical health problems (fatherless children report significantly more psychosomatic health symptoms and illness such as acute and chronic pain, asthma, headaches, and stomach aches)
- Mental health disorders (Black male youth that have absent fathers are consistently overrepresented on a wide range of mental health problems, particularly anxiety, depression and suicide)
- Life chances (as adults, fatherless children are more likely to experience unemployment, have low incomes, remain on social assistance, and experience homelessness)
- Future relationships (father absent children tend to enter partnerships earlier, are more likely to divorce or dissolve their cohabiting unions, and are more likely to have children outside marriage or outside any partnership)
- Mortality (fatherless children are more likely to die as children, and live an average of four years less over their life span)
Black mothers can not replace the complete absence of a father figure by increasing their involvement with their children. In fact, it is those children without a father figure in their lives who engage in fewer activities and talk about fewer issues with their mothers all together. What is the solution for Black male children that grow up into Black men without a father?
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