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What Happens to Boys When Fathers Don't Care?


Absent fathers and boys

A few weeks ago my son came into my office, "Mom, let me show you a video. I think of Dad every time I hear it." He pulled up Youtube and Gotye's Somebody That I Used To Know. Have you ever listened to the lyrics?

"But you didn't have to cut me off
Make out like it never happened and that we were nothing
And I don't even need your love
But you treat me like a stranger and that feels so rough

Now you're just somebody that I used to know
Now you're just somebody that I used to know"

Ouch!! I'm a mother, I know how I feel about my ex's apparent disregard for our children's feelings and needs. I will never "walk a mile" in my son's shoes, never be able to comprehend the pain that comes with parental abandonment. I've been a witness to the suffering both of my sons have taken on due to their father's absence from their life. I wish, with all my heart that it was me who was doing the suffering instead of them.

They, in my opinion are too good to have ever been the recipients of such blatant dismissal. But aren't all boys? Boys who will grow to one day be daddies themselves have a right to daddies who set a positive example of how to father. Many, like my boys weren't taught by their fathers that they were worthy of love and concern. And it is important to understand, as I do from first-hand experience, that fathers who don't care do extreme harm to boys.

What happens to boys who don't get enough attention, time, acceptance, encouragement, tenderness, discipline, stability, security, guidance, love or wisdom from a father?

  • They are two to three times as likely to seriously consider suicide.
  • They are more likely to have mental health issues including anxiety, aggression, withdrawal, inattention, peer popularity, and impulse control and mood disorders.
  • They have a higher incidence of major depressive episodes.
  • They have problems establishing love relationships with girls.
  • Their grades and school performance suffers putting them at risk of educational deficits.
  • They are 10 times more likely to use drugs and 32 times more likely to run away from home.
  • They have a higher risk of ending up in juvenile dentition or prison.

Fathers who find themselves contemplating leaving their children need to stop and think. Fathers may feel confusion, they may feel they can't deal with the constant reminders of what they lost due to divorce but they must never put their own discomfort before the needs of their sons. The simple fact is, boys need fathers and fathers need their boys.

Resources for Fathers:

A Father's Rights and Responsibilities During and After Divorce

How to Restore Your Relationship With Your Child

Have Your Children Been Alienated or Did You Behave Badly?

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