5 Dangers of Being Deprived of an Involved Father

5 Dangers of Being Deprived of an Involved Father

In their latest book, The Boy Crisis, Warren Farrell and John Gray highlight stats and research that point to the pains of boys growing up deprived of an involved father. They also offer wisdom and counsel on how to invest in your sons. Though I don’t have sons, the research reminded me of the great responsibility I have as a dad. The countless studies on the benefits of an involved father and the consequences of an absent father remind us how important our role as father is. In Appendix B of their book, Farrell and Gray give 55 research-based benefits of an involved father (yes, 55!). The body of research on this issue is staggering. I won’t regurgitate the appendix, but here are some significant findings on what happens to a child who is deprived of a father. I have placed them under five broad categories:

Physical

Children who suffer the loss of a father have, by the age of nine, a 14 percent reduction in telomere length—the most reliable predictors of life expectancy.

The more frequently a father visits the hospital of an infant who is born prematurely, the more quickly the infant is released from the hospital.

Mental

Students coming from father-present families score higher in math and science even when they come from weaker schools.

The more interaction a boy has with his dad before six months of age, the higher his mental competence.

Living without a father doubles a child’s chance of dropping out of high school.

Social

Father absence predicts the profile of both the bully and the bullied: poor self-esteem, poor grades and poor social skills.

Among youths in prisons, 85 percent grew up in a fatherless home.

A study of ISIS fighters concluded that almost all male and female fighters had in common “some type of an ‘absent father’ syndrome.”

Emotional

Living in a home without a dad has a greater correlation with suicide among teenagers than any other factor.

The amount of time a father spends with a child is one of the strongest predictors of the child’s ability to empathize as he gets older.

And Spiritual

Though Farrell and Gray do not highlight this reality, surely Satan has plotted the attack on fathers and celebrates the reality that terms such as “dad deprivation” have been invented. Because God reveals Himself to us as a loving and compassionate Father, an attack on the image of a father is an attack on how humanity views God as Father. With the damaging impacts of fatherlessness in view, the Lord has defined true religion as providing care for the orphan (James 1:27) and He has commissioned fathers to love their children without provoking them.

Fathers, father your sons and daughters. Dads—for the sake of your child’s physical, mental, social, emotional and spiritual development, be an involved father.

For those without a father and those who have suffered through “dad deprivation, the Lord sees you and He cares infinitely more for you than you could possibly imagine. In His holy dwelling, He does not ignore you. “In His holy dwelling, He is a father of the fatherless and a champion of widows” (Psalm 68:5). He will not deprive you of His love and grace.

This article originally appeared here.

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Eric Geiger
Eric Geiger serves as the Vice President of the Church Resource Division at LifeWay Christian Resources. Prior to LifeWay, Eric served local churches, most recently investing eight years as the executive pastor of Christ Fellowship Miami. Eric received his doctorate in leadership and church ministry from Southern Seminary. He is also a teaching pastor and a frequent speaker and consultant on church mission and strategy. Eric authored or co-authored several books including the best selling church leadership book, Simple Church. Eric is married to Kaye, and they have two daughters: Eden and Evie. During his free time, Eric enjoys dating his wife, playing with his daughters, and shooting basketball.