In the nineties, a study says a high percentage of gang members come from father-absent homes, probably because of the heightened desire to experience a sense of belonging.38 Everyone wants to have a family to belong to. The absence of a father seems to lessen the membership experience because the God-designated leader is missing. When they join gangs, young people find a sense of community and acceptance. Usually, the gang leader fills in the father’s role that the individual has been missing.39 The father’s presence in the child’s life dramatically reduces the likelihood of a child joining a gang.40
Mental Health Issues
When a child comes from a fatherless home, they can grow up having more emotional problems, such as anxiety and depression, than their peer. Fatherless children tend to think they are worth less than other children who have fathers and frequently wonder why their father abandoned them. These emotions may lead to an increased risk of suicide and self-injurious behaviors. Children who do not grow up with a father are also more likely to be aggressive and exhibit other externalizing issues.41 Children from father-absent homes are also more likely to be depressed, having suicidal thoughts, anxiety, social withdrawals, and school absences.
Poor School Performance
The father’s absence may also hurt the child’s overall academic performance. Research shows that children who come from a father-absent home are more likely to drop out of school when compared to children who live in two-parent households.42 Fatherless children are less likely to pursue higher education. Significantly, African American boys who identify their fathers as role models demonstrate substantially higher grade point averages and are less likely to be truant from school.43
Poverty and Homelessness
According to the 2011 U.S. Census Bureau, children from absent-father homes are four times more at risk of living in poverty. Single moms would have to work hard to make ends meet. Poverty presents an obstacle for children pursuing good jobs because of increased stress and frustration in the home. According to a 2003 study, children from father-absent homes are more likely to shoplift or become chronic shoplifters.
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