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fathers | Father Hunger - How Father Absence Impacts Our Youth

Debra Lafave and the Absent Father in the home

I am not sure if you have heard of the case of Debra Lafave. I was flipping the channels and saw her story. Debra Lafave was a middle school teacher in Tampa, Fl., who had sexual relationship with a 14 year old student. There are multiple issues that Debra Lafave mentions that was a cause of her teenager mentality at the age of 23. She mentions father absence, rape, bi-polar disorder, suicidal attempts, lost of a sibling, etc. as things that happened in her life. I am not here to judge this woman at all. As in many stories within people’s lives, sometimes it is hard to understand because you were not there in the situation. All I know is there were many signs of a troubled past.

Whether or not the facts are as they happened, the truth is there was a problem with males in her life. As with many young women, the relationship with their biological father was absent and it leads into a life of many issues including sexual activity. Debra was obviously reaching out for a male in her life to fulfill her emotional needs. A father plays a crucial role and young girls gain their expectations about boyfriends and husbands from their dad. Often when a dad is lacking, a young woman attempts to fulfill that need through a relationship with a man. This type of emotional trauma often leads to unhealthy relationships.

In this country, we are setting ourselves up for destructive behavior with more than 24 million kids without their biological father each and every day.

Are We Numb to What is Going On Around Us?


Did you know the average father spends only 23 minutes per day with their kids? 1

Men, our past does not have to equal our future.  Let’s step up to the plate and accept the challenge. Today is the beginning of your new future.

Our kids are crying out everyday and they need us.  Fatherhood has touched every segment of our population and never is it more evident than in music.  The next time you listen to your favorite music on the radio, take a minute and listen to the lyrics.  The pain of fatherhood is all around us.  Just quite all the noise for a moment and listen to what is going on.  Here at RFFDads, we talk about the sheep when he is lost from his mother.  Kids all around us are like lost sheep.  They are looking for the love of their fathers and no one knows what is wrong with them.

I don’t care what type of music you enjoy, take a minute and listen to the message in this song.  This is an incredible message to all fathers.


1 Resource Bureau of Labor and Statistics study in 2007

Happy Fathers Day to all the Fathers out there

Happy Fathers Day to all the Fathers. It is our special day this year in which we are recognized for what we do for our families. I am very proud of my role as a father and deeply appreciate the thanks my girls have shown for this special day. My kids are 5 and 2 years old. They are so excited to celebrate their dad on this special day. My daughter has almost slipped several times in telling me what things their mother has planned for me. My hope is that I can continue to fulfill my role as a father and more importantly as a dad for many years to come.

I can remember the 1st father’s day for me. It was very special because before that time, father’s day was just another day to me except for my grandfather who is currently 86 years of age.

I realized through the creation of Reunite Fatherhood Families, Inc. that I had some issues that I needed to reconcile. If your father is alive, make that sacrifice and contact him today. I know I have not always done so in the past due to my own issues, but it is important to bring yourself to a level of forgiveness in your heart. Without forgiveness, you have a huge burden on your heart that you carry around for the rest of your life. You cannot live life to the fullest with the burden of not forgiving the situations of your past.

With over 24 million kids without their dad in their households tonight, I know that there are many families that feel like it is just another day. If you are a father and you are estranged from your kids, find it in your heart to pick up that telephone and reach out to your kids. There is a lot of hurt that is out there that few discuss when it comes to the absent father.


Are you a Gatekeeper?


Often times, in a relationship between a mothers and fathers, the mother serves as a gatekeeper to determine how involved the father is in the childs life.  While this is not the only barrier, this can create a very challenging situation for a father who wants to be involved in their childs life.  Of course, the father has to take initiative to be involved in the childs life.  See the article by Sue Shellenbarger of the Wall Street Journal to learn more about the role of the gatekeeper in a childs life.

Read more about our National Partner and how rffDads can help you understand the Mom as a Gatekeeper and the 24/7 Dads cirriculum

The Biggest Reason Why Men Repeat the Cycle

You really hit the nail on the head. I can definitely relate to your feelings. As a man, I wanted a son but I knew that I was going to be satisfied with 2 kids regardless of the sex of the child. I now understand why God blessed me with 2 beautiful daughters. I was not ready because of the issue you mentioned.

I have had the opportunity to mentor family members that were younger than me but I never understood why I never felt comfortable with doing it until I started learning more about fatherhood. Now I understand why and as I see, I am not alone.

Thank God I decided as a youngster to be a great dad. It is my most challenging and most rewarding job in life and I would not have it any other way. We do not have to repeat the cycle! There is a lot of hurt and lack of education that I am glad to be involved in this cause. Keep up the good work.

Originally posted as a comment; by rffdads on God’s Politics using Disqus

Father Absence and Substance Abuse


Parents, especially fathers, really are the anti-drug.

Children are more likely to use and abuse drugs when they grow up without involved, responsible, and committed fathers in their lives. Drugs and alcohol often serve as surrogates for children who experience a lack of love from and emotional connection to their family and community. Good dads step into that void and raise children who are less likely to use drugs.

The Facts

  • Researchers at Columbia University found that children living in two-parent households with a poor relationship with their father are 68% more likely to smoke, drink, or use drugs compared to all teens in two-parent households. Moreover, teens in single-mother households fared much worse. They had a 30% higher risk than those in all two-parent households.1
  • Father closeness reduces the number of a child’s friends who smoke tobacco, drink, and use marijuana. Father closeness also reduces a child’s use of alcohol, cigarettes, and hard drugs. Also, intact (married, two-parent) families ranked higher on father closeness than single parent families.2
  1. “Survey Links Teen Drug Use, Relationship With Father.” Alcoholism & Drug Abuse Weekly 6 September 1999:5.
  2. National Fatherhood Initiative. “Family Structure, Father Closeness, & Drug Abuse.” Gaithersburg, MD: National Fatherhood Initiative, 2004:20-22.

Father Absence and Sexual Activity

  • Fathers play a crucial role in sexuality and relationships.
  • A father’s behavior and values uniquely influence a girl’s expectations about boyfriends and husbands.  
  • In addition, boys learn how to treat girls and what kind of husband and father they should become from their fathers.

 Boys raised in single-mother homes are at a higher risk of teen pregnancy, marrying with less than a high school degree, and forming a marriage where both partners have less than a high school degree.1

Teenage girls without fathers were twice as likely to be involved in early sexual activity and seven times more likely to get pregnant as other adolescents.2

  • Separation or frequent residential changes increase a woman’s risk of early menarche, sexual activity, and pregnancy. Women whose parents separated between birth and six years old experienced twice the risk of early menstruation, more than four times the risk of early sexual intercourse, and two and a half times the risk of early pregnancy when compared to women in intact families. The longer a woman lived with both parents, the lower her risk of early reproductive development.3



  1. Teachman, Jay D. ” The Childhood Living Arrangements of Children and the Characteristics of Their Marriages”, Journal of Family issues 25 (January 2004): 86-111.
  2. Ellis, Bruce J., John E. Bates, Kenneth A. Dodge, David M. Ferguson, L. John Horwood, Gregory S. Petit, and Lianne Woodward. “Does Father Absence Place Daughters at Special Risk for Early Sexual Activity and Teenage Pregnancy?” Child Development 74 (May/June 2003); 801-821.
  3. Quinlan, Robert J. “Father absence, parental care, and female reproductive development.” Evolution and Human Behavior 24 (November 2003):376-390.

Father Absence and Child Abuse

Girl Daydreaming


 Dads play a role in protecting children from abuse. Children who grow up without their fathers are at greatest risk for child abuse. In fact, the presence of a child’s father in the home lowers the likelihood that a child will be abused. One possible reason for this connection is the very important role that fathers often play as the “protector” of their children. The facts are clear that children are safer when their dad lives in their home.

Compared to living with both parents, living in a single-parent home doubles the risk that a child will suffer physical, emotional, or educational neglect.1

1 America’s Children: Key National Indicators of Well-Being. Table SPECIAL1. Washington, D.C.: Federal Interagency Forum on Child and Family Statistics, 1997.

Father Absence and Crime



 I often wondered why the crime rate was the way it is and how to reduce it. Want to reduce the crime rate? End Father Absence.

Children without the presence of an involved, responsible, and committed father are significantly more likely to engage in criminal activity.

Good fathers serve as regulators of aggressive behaviors, particularly for your boys. Without dads around to teach children the values of restraint and appropriate expression, children are more likely to turn to delinquent and/or criminal behavior.

But, its not just boys who need involved dads to keep them out of trouble. The fastest growing prison population is young girls and women, many of whom have grown up in father-absent homes.

Why is Father Absence such a nasty problem?


 Father Absence is not a single issue. Father absence is an epidemic. Tonight, more than 24 million children are going through their day without the love and support of their biological father. Where are the dads? Why do we care at Rffdads? Children without involved, responsible, and committed fathers are being setup for failure.

What do I mean by failure? Children without a committed father suffer in areas of economic, health, educational, emotional, behavioral, and psychological well-being.

Our kids are acting out and the medication is a band-aid not the root cause of the problem. It is more important to find the source of the problem than to cover it up. There are several factors directly linked to father absence that the public needs to be aware of.

  • Father Absence and Crime
  • Father Absence and Poverty
  • Father Absence and Physical Health
  • Father Absence and Sexual Activity
  • Father Absence and Child Abuse
  • Father Absence and Education


Reference: Keider, Rose M. and Jason Field, The Living Arrangements of Children:2001, Current Population Reports, p70-104, Washington, D.C.: U.S. Census Burreau, 2005.

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