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(PRESS RELEASE) – Many youth in Saint Lucia grow up missing either a father or mother, and sometimes even both! Many don’t get to spend much time learning from and enjoying their dads.
Many times dads are not around to share some of their wisdom to their children.
The danger of fatherless
Unfortunately, many Lucian’s homes look more like the typical Disney princess situation: fatherless. With soaring divorce rates, increasing births out of wedlock, and the general collapse of the traditional family, involved fathers have become a lot harder to come by. Kids are growing up without their biological dad at home.
But what’s the big deal? Is life really all that different for those kids without a father around?
The reality actually says yes. Yes, it is.
This epidemic of fatherlessness does its fair share of damage. Here are just a handful of the disastrous symptoms we see when dads aren’t present and involved:
Poor academic achievement.
Children without an involved dad are two times more likely to drop out of high school. In fact, about 7 out of 10 high school dropouts are fatherless.
Poor emotional health.
When dad isn’t around, a child is over two times more likely to commit suicide. A father’s involvement (or lack thereof) also impacts a child’s overall emotional security and well-being, according to a report from the US Department of Health and Human Services.
Poverty and criminal activity.
Kids who grow up without a dad are four times more likely to be poor. Without the socioeconomic stability of a two-parent home, kids are also more likely to act out and engage in delinquent behavior.
According to the US Department of Health and Human Services, “Fatherless children are at a dramatically greater risk of drug and alcohol abuse”.
Acting out sexually.
When a girl’s dad isn’t involved in her life, she is seven times more likely to get pregnant as a teen. Seven times! Not only this, but girls who don’t have a good relationship with their fathers have difficulty forming healthy romantic relationships and are more likely to participate in risky or promiscuous sexual behavior. Turns out that missing a dad doesn’t usually lead to “happily ever after,” unlike what you see in the usual Disney princess film.
We believe that “In short, fatherlessness is associated with almost every societal ill facing our country’s children”.
Looking at all these harms can be a little depressing — especially considering how many kids grow up without a present and involved father. But thankfully, we don’t have to just sit by and cry. There are things we can do to motivate fathers and help them fulfill their essential role.
Show dads that they matter.
Whether it’s the father of your children or another father you know, make sure dads know just how important they are. Show appreciation for their efforts and let them know what a difference they’re making.
Let dads help out.
When it comes to caring for newborn children in particular, fathers can be inadvertently pushed away by mothers and the women who come to help them. Even if he does things differently than you would, make sure to let the father be involved and help in everything. The more he can take part in little daily routines, the more he’ll be able to impact your kids for the better.
Help divorced dads stay involved.
Unfortunately, many kids won’t get to live with their fathers because of divorce. But even in not so ideal circumstances, dads can still stay involved in their children’s lives. The suggestions for dads who aren’t living with their kids: keep your promises, communicate regularly with your kids, still provide discipline, and don’t be a “Disneyland dad” who only spends time doing fun activities with your kids.
Growing up without a dad really isn’t a dream come true, no matter how it looks in most Disney movies. But when a dad is involved, magic really can happen! While not every child will get to grow up with a loving mother and father, we can do our part to make the best of it.
As we show dads just how much they matter and encourage them to be involved, we can help both our children and our communities to become a little stronger.