Fatherless Boys More Prone to Delinquency

America is in a slow-motion cultural suicide.

Did you know that we have the dubious distinction of ranking high among the world’s countries in the percentage of single-parent households?

A recent study by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development found that, of the 27 industrialized countries studied, the United States had 25.8% of children being raised by a single parent, compared with an average of 14.9% across the other countries.

That means more than 1 in 4 children in America is being raised by a single parent. The figure is even higher among Blacks: Nearly 3 out of 4, 72%, of Black children are raised in a single parent household.

In 2009, Native Americans ranked next highest in the % of children in single-parent households, at 53%; followed by Hispanics/Latinos at 40%; non-Hispanic whites at 24%; and Asians and Pacific Islanders at 16%.

Most of the single-parent families are single-mother households. The number of children in single-mother families has risen dramatically in the United States over the past four decades. Single-mother families are defined as families headed by a female with no spouse present—living with one or more own, never-married children under age 18.

In 2009, there were about 18.1 million children in the United States living in single-mother families. Single-mother families are a subset of female-headed families, which include mother-child families as well as children in the care of grandparents or other relatives. In 2009, there were 19.6 million U.S. children residing in female-headed families, i.e., households with no fathers.

Researchers have identified the rise in single-parent families (especially mother-child families) as a major factor driving the long-term increase in child poverty in the United States. The effects of growing up in single-parent households have been shown to go beyond economics, increasing the risk of children dropping out of school, disconnecting from the labor force, and becoming teen parents. Although many children growing up in single-parent families succeed, others will face significant challenges in making the transition to adulthood. Children in lower-income, single-parent families face the most significant barriers to success in school and the work force.

Now, using U.S. data, an Australian study has found that fatherless boys are more prone to delinquency.

Thaddeus Baklinski reports for LifeSiteNews, Dec. 12, 2011, that a study carried out by the Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research at the University of Melbourne has found that adolescent boys who have a father figure in their lives are significantly less likely to engage in subsequent delinquent behavior than are their peers with no father in their lives.

Unlike previous studies this research examined the full range of father figure roles and modern family structures. The study used American data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health. Three factors were studied in the role of fathers influencing youth delinquency: parental involvement and interaction, contribution to household income and engagement with a father figure by simply being present at home.

Professor Deborah Cobb-Clark, Director of the Melbourne Institute and lead author of the study, explains:

“The sense of security generated by the presence of a male role model in a youth’s life has protective effects for a child, regardless of the degree of interaction between the child and father. Fathers provide children with male role models and can influence children’s preferences, values and attitudes, while giving them a sense of security and boosting their self-esteem. They also increase the degree of adult supervision at home, which may lead to a direct reduction of delinquent behaviour.

Our study included residential and non-residential, biological fathers and residential stepfathers and their influence on adolescent behaviours. Our detailed data also allowed us to simultaneously consider mothers’ relationships with their children as well as the multiple pathways through which fathers might matter.”

The study found that any form of delinquent behavior was reduced by 7.6 percentage points for boys who were living with their biological fathers, and 5 percentage points for those living with non-biological fathers only.

“Fathers are associated with a particularly large reduction in the incidence of violent behavior and gang fighting among adolescent boys,” the study notes.

The researchers also say that while increased involvement with their sons is related to decreased incidence of delinquency, the largest portion of the positive effects appear to be related to the mere presence of a father figure, regardless of the level of involvement.

“Overall, when taken together our results strongly suggest that much of the overall (baseline) impact of fathers on their adolescent sons’ delinquent behavior reflects the effect of fathers’ presence rather than their involvement with their sons or the financial contribution they make to household income,” they write.

The researchers found, on the other hand, that the presence of a father figure did not have a major impact on the levels of delinquency amongst daughters. “Adolescent girls’ behaviours are less closely linked to this, which may be attributed to the inherent levels of risk-taking that vary between males and females,” Professor Cobb-Clark concluded.

The full pdf text of the study titled, “Fathers and Youths’ Delinquent Behaviour” is available here.

~Eowyn

2 responses to “Fatherless Boys More Prone to Delinquency

  1. Dr. Eowyn, thank you so much for this insightful and interesting post. This is what happens when victimhood is encouraged, just like Steve said above. The family, two-parent supervised raising of children is what God intended.

  2. Wouldn’t it be refreshing to have a government program that encourages the family unit instead of rewarding single moms? Go after the dad to work, if not a real job at least cleaning up freeways or something. Make him be friggin responsible. But alas is not the mentality, gotta have “victims” after all to take care of (and vote for ‘em).

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s