I want to write about a serious deficiency that many families face. It is a plague upon the modern family: absentee fathers. Sadly, much of the blame for this plague can be placed at the feet of our own government. For generations now they have incentivized (in other words, encouraged) fatherless homes, and encouraged our women to marry the government. Fatherless homes are perhaps the biggest problem facing our culture.
The percentage of children born out of wedlock has increased dramatically in this country over the past few decades. A generation or two ago only 5% of births were to unmarried women. The current figure is hovering somewhere around 40%! One of the amazing things about this trend is that it has happened after the invention of modern birth control! Shouldn’t the availability of birth control methods have lowered the incidence of births out of wedlock? It seems that it has had the opposite effect in some regards. It has simply helped to create a culture of ever deteriorating morals. It doesn’t take a psychologist or social scientist to realize that this trend is detrimental to our society in a great many ways.
Children do better in every way with both a father and a mother in the home! And fathers especially seem to have a large positive influence. Children do better in every way you could think to measure when there is an involved father in the home. There is a large body of evidence supporting what we already instinctively know about fathers, but in a time such as ours, when truth and wisdom are so often seen as foolishness (or “backwards” or “outdated” or “sexist” etc.), it is good to have some facts at our disposal.
Here I have gathered some statistics from various sources. Please don’t write any comments about exceptions to these statistics. I know there are bad fathers and husbands out there. Maybe even your very own father was abusive. If so, I would be very sorry to hear it, but it in no way contradicts the numbers I am about to share. These numbers are speaking about fathers in general, and, generally speaking, fathers are very good to have around.
85% of all children who show behavior disorders come from fatherless homes.
71% of high school dropouts come from fatherless homes.
71% of pregnant teens have no father present in their life. Fatherless children are more likely to have children outside marriage or outside any partnership whatsoever.
90% of runaway children have an absent father.
Fatherless children are more likely to smoke, drink alcohol, and abuse drugs in childhood and adulthood.
Fathers are the natural protectors of their families. Therefore, fatherless children are at greater risk of suffering physical, emotional, and sexual abuse. Preschoolers living only with their mother are 40 times more likely to be sexually abused, and 5 times more likely to experience physical abuse and emotional maltreatment (with a 100 times higher risk of that abuse being fatal).
Fatherless children report significantly more psychosomatic health symptoms and illness such as acute and chronic pain, asthma, headaches, and stomach aches.
Children with absent fathers are consistently overrepresented among those with anxiety, depression, and suicidal tendencies.
As adults, fatherless children are more likely to experience unemployment, have low incomes, remain on social assistance, and experience homelessness.
Children with absent fathers are more likely to divorce, or dissolve their cohabiting unions.
Fatherless children are more likely to die as children, and live an average of four years less over the life span.
Given the fact that these and other social problems correlate more strongly with fatherlessness than with any other factor, surpassing race, social class, and poverty, father absence may well be the most critical social issue of our time.
Fathers are an absolutely vital part of human life and development, but a part that is often discredited and marginalized. Our society at large is screaming at men and boys that they ought to be ashamed for what they have done (i.e. existing as males), and for the negative effects they have had on the world. And that they ought to apologize for some imagined and unearned “privilege” which they have stolen from women – whom they have horribly abused and oppressed for the whole of history, and continue to oppress to the present day. Our children are constantly being fed the lie that men ought to be more like women, and that women and men are equal in every way. It is all a part of the attempted suicide of our western culture, and there are real and concerted efforts on many fronts to achieve this end.
For example, the American Psychological Association (APA) recently released their Guidelines for Psychological Practice with Boys and Men wherein they state, “Research suggests that socialization practices that teach boys from an early age to be self-reliant, strong, and to minimize and manage their problems on their own yield adult men who are less willing to seek mental health treatment.” The entire premise of this sentence is one of the most ridiculous things I have ever seen in print. Conflict of interest much? In other words these psychologists are saying, “Teaching boys to be strong, self reliant, and to manage their own problems, makes them not give as much money to us when they are adults.” Just think of it, they are criticizing teaching boys to be self-reliant, strong, and to manage their own problems! These people are actively engaged in the destruction of everything good and right in the world.
Here is what Jordan Peterson had to say about the document mentioned:
Let me translate this opening salvo into something approximating clear and blunt English. The authors are claiming that men who socialize their boys in a traditional manner destroy their mental health. This translation/clarification needs to be extended to the second major claim of the document, which is distributed more subtly through its body. We’ll begin with this quote, taken from the Guidelines (p. 3): “Research suggests that socialization practices that teach boys from an early age to be self-reliant, strong, and to minimize and manage their problems on their own yield adult men who are less willing to seek mental health treatment,” in combination with this one (p. 3, as well): “Men are overrepresented in prisons, are more likely than women to commit violent crimes, and are at greatest risk of being a victim of violent crime (e.g., homicide, aggravated assault; Federal Bureau of Investigation, 2015).” So, it’s not only that men who encourage their boys to be “self-reliant, strong and manage their problems on their own” destroy the mental health of their children: they also produce adults who are a primary menace to their families and society.
This is all bad enough (and by that I mean inexcusable) conceptually, rhetorically and politically. But it’s also a lie, scientifically—and worse (because not merely a lie; instead, something more unforgivable). To indicate, as the writers have, that it is the socialization of boys and men by men that is producing both a decrement in the personal mental health of males and females and a threat to the social fabric is not only to get the facts wrong, but to get them wrong in a manner that is directly antithetical to the truth…
It’s simple – and it is this simple fact that is absolutely damning to the claims in the APA document. What kind of families produce violent young men? Fatherless families. The pernicious effect of fatherlessness is exceptionally well-documented. No serious researchers question it. Even the generally damnable sociologists admit it (see, for example, http://bit.ly/2HB27JL). Fatherless girls tend, for example, toward early sexual experimentation (something in itself linked to antisocial behavior) and, unsurprisingly, higher rates of teenage pregnancy. What might be more surprising, however, is that there is even evidence for earlier puberty among girls whose fathers are absent. Fatherless boys are over-represented as alcoholics, addicts, gang-members, prisoners, rapists and murderers. And there’s plenty of what is positive that is lacking among fatherless children, in addition to the negative that is more likely to be present (here’s a decent summary, in lay language: http://bit.ly/2HB27JL)
Consider this (it’s of primary importance): If it is fatherless boys who are violent, how can it be that masculine socialization produces harm both to mental health and society? The data should indicate precisely the opposite: that boys who are only raised by women are much less violent than boys who have men in their lives and, similarly, that boys who do have fathers are more violent than those who do not.
This is not the case. Period.
What does all of this have to do with polygamy? A lot. Diminished influence of a strong father figure is obviously a potential problem facing polygamous families as well – especially if the wives live in separate houses (and more especially if those houses are separated by great distances). And of course, the danger of this increases with each additional wife in a family (assuming the branches of the family live separately). Having the father absent every other evening, or whatever, is potentially going to have a negative effect on his children, and that is a problem that plural husbands need to address!
A few episodes ago Vanessa Cobbs has her two sisters visit in L.A. and there are some tense moments between them – especially between her and her twin sister Adrienne. At one point Adrienne tells Vanessa that she will never be the center of Dimitri’s world. I ❤ Vanessa’s reply: that Dimitri’s universe is big, that she and Ashley are both the center of it, and that his children are at the center of it too!
In the next episode we see Adrienne talking to Ashley and Dimitri around the pool. She’s still not convinced, but she is showing some openness to the idea, and wants to actually know more about it. At one point she is talking to Dimitri and I ❤ this exchange as well! It so completely shows the outlook that a successful plural husband must have.
She asks him about the difficulties of providing for the emotions and well being of two women. In reply he speaks of listening and giving each woman what she needs. She then asks him about time, and his response is that he, “builds around his family”, “keeps them in the center”, and makes his “family always first”. In this way he can allocate his time and resources to meet his family’s needs. From what we are seeing, Dimitri seems to be doing it well. I love too that she eventually came around, and even apologized to Vanessa for her earlier offensiveness.
Men need to be there. They need to make their families a priority. There is no substitute for a father in the home, and polygamous men, if they want to have a successful family, need to work extra hard to make it happen. They need to be thinking of their families all the time, and acting in a way that puts them first. Polygamous men don’t have time for hobbies – their families need to be their hobby, or they need to find a way to involve their family in their hobbies. Seriously; if you are a video gamer, you probably shouldn’t be a polygamist. If you spend all your evenings watching sports with the guys, you probably shouldn’t be a polygamist. If you spend every free weekend at the golf course, you probably shouldn’t be a polygamist.
I am not speaking against recreation. I am speaking about priorities and life-habits. By all means, read a book, take a walk, watch the big game. All that is a needful part of a healthy life, but these things will necessarily occur much less frequently for plural men. At least, they will occur less frequently without your family present.
The difference is that polygamous men might read a book – to their children, take a walk – with their wives, and watch the big game with their sons – rather than with the guys. I am not saying that monogamous men don’t do these things; I am saying that polygamous men must.
There are amazing plural families and amazing monogamous families. Of course, both can be dysfunctional as well. In either case the difference, I believe, is largely a difference in dedication.
No matter your position in life, or the type of family structure you are a part of, let’s raise healthy, strong, confident, self-sufficient children – and unapologetically so. Let’s push back against the cultural suicide that is occurring. Let’s make this country and this world a better place!
10 thoughts on “Family Is Always First”
What are the statistics for homes where the father splits time between homes? Particularly if the father was at one point always present?
I doubt there are any statistics at all dealing with that specific situation you mentioned. But time with children should certainly be a concern that is addressed by all families; both plural and monogamous for that matter. I think most of the statistics reported are looking merely at the presence of the father and don’t have data broken down by the number of hours spent per child.
However, it is my strong suspicion that a very large portion of the father’s influence is derived from the example he sets rather than his direct interactions (altho those interactions are important too! – I’m just not sure they are the largest factor). In other words, much of the father’s influence will come from the children having a visual role model of what a man is and how a man behaves. How a man treats his wife, how he works to support and provide for his family, how he plays with, disciplines, and encourages his children, and how he interacts with other adults. I have heard it said, and I believe it is true, that the best thing a man can do for his children is to love their mother.
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So the impact of only having physical contact with one’s father every other day is considered negligible as long as the father is decent when he is around?
That’s not quite what I was trying to say. I think the impact is unknown. As far as I know, there is no real data to say one way or another.
But yes, it is my guess, based upon my limited (but not quantified) observations that: 1) The most important factor is the proper role modeling, and 2) There is probably a range of optimum values for time spent with a father. Also, the optimum range is probably fairly broad.
Obviously, completely absent fathers are a problem, but completely present fathers (completely present in a time sense) would also be a problem. Think deadbeat bum who does not have a job, and never intends to get one. There are other scenarios we could imagine, and thus imagined we could theorise how either extreme could have detrimental effects. However, between these extremes, there is a wide range of acceptable levels of interaction. Thus a man with 8 children can have outcomes just as good as a man with only 2, and a man that works 60 hours per week can have the same kind of children as a man that works only 40. I imagine it will depend a lot on the kind of father he is and the kind of example he sets when he is there.
I have personally observed some incredibly functional, delightful, competent, and well rounded children from polygamous families (this is the rule more than not in the circles I run in). I can say the same for children from monogamous families – some of them are amazing. I can also say the opposite for some children of both dysfunctional plural and dysfunctional monogamous families.
Come to think of it, I can even say the same for children of fatherless homes. I have known some of them to be amazing, and others to be future or present criminals.
The statistics are there for absent vs present fathers, and I do think this binary variable is the biggest factor. The continuous variable of time is also an important factor, but less so (this is not the same as saying it is, “negligible”, which I never said). However, for fathers that are already present, they ought to be doing whatever they can to optimize both their positive example, and also their positive interactions. This is true for all fathers – be they single, widowed, divorced, monogamous, or plural.
Is the positive outward behavior of the children the only indicator of emotional well-being? Could there be other hidden, unresolved emotional deficits due to a father’s decision to bring in outsiders, thereby subtracting emotional, monetary, and spiritual resources by half and allocating them elsewhere?
“Is the positive outward behavior of the children the only indicator of emotional well-being?”
The answer is, yes. Observable (outward) behavior (speech and action) is the only indicator we have. How could anything inward, unobservable, and unknowable indicate anything? Positive behavior is only sustainable, or iterable over time, if things are working well below the surface. If there are inward problems they eventually come to the surface and make themselves manifest – thus indicating.
Do you disagree? Are there unobservable indicators that I am missing?
“Could there be other hidden, unresolved emotional deficits due to a father’s decision to bring in outsiders, thereby subtracting emotional, monetary, and spiritual resources by half and allocating them elsewhere?”
Could there exist a yet-to-be-detected underground colony of cheese-making gnomes living on the dark side of the moon? Yes to both questions.
There is always a possibility for unknown, things to exist. But arguing about, or basing arguments upon, unknowable things isn’t worth anyone’s time. Talk about a subtraction of resources!
I take it you would not be in favor of a family with more than one child, yes? Or perhaps no children would be preferable for you? After all, they undoubtedly take up emotional, monetary, temporal, and spiritual resources, yes? Do you disagree?
I know people with this view of things, and they have limited their family to one child for the very reasons you have listed. I must say that I disagree somewhat with your views on family size, but I respect your right to limit your own family to any size you feel you are able to manage.
In the end, this is a decision that every capable person must ultimately make (how much family do they want). God knows there’s nothing more taxing than family. But there’s also nothing more rewarding. And that’s the truth 🙂
Is the addition of siblings within one household considered the same as the addition of an outside family under a different, distant roof?
I see that you are saying (and I paraphrase here) having a father’s loving leadership makes for more productive, well-adjusted humans basically. Agreed.
My question addresses matters beyond the external.
Is it even possible that a child is wholly unaffected when a father becomes partially absent after taking on another family? Are they expected to remain unaffected solely on the explanations of their elders? Their life view is unaltered?
If you are arguing that sacrifice and selflessness are attributes all children should learn (agreed) could you also advocate a man providing consistent, meaningful leadership to a family without sleeping with the mother?
Btw, I’m completely in favor of large families.
Hypothetically, let’s say a monogamous husband gets offered a new job that will require him to travel a lot more than his previous job. He will now be out of town 3-4 nights per week. It is a huge sacrifice for him (he loves being home with his wife and children), his wife (she’ll no longer have his presence/support for half the week as she used to) and the kids (they love their dad to help them with projects, show him their crafts and art, and have him read stories out loud to them as they go to bed each night). However, it will provide their family with an opportunity to pay off their house and get completely out of debt within just a few years instead of 3-4 times as long. After prayerfully considering and discussing the opportunity, the whole family (children included) agree it’s the right decision.
Would any sane person say that the children in this scenario will inescapably be (negatively) affected by this father’s partial absence? Would any sane person accuse this father of neglecting his duties as a husband/father? Would any sane person condemn such a decision as irresponsible or neglectful?
Fortunately, there’s a very happy ending to this story, which I hope will dispel several of the flawed assumptions of these anonymous comments.
The “hypothetical” monogamous father is me. My wife and children are just as happy and well adjusted as ever. The time we are able to spend together is that much more precious and appreciated, and filled with productive, bonding activities and experiences. Our debts are being paid off at a drastically accelerated rate, which will lead to much greater future freedom and opportunities.
The notion that the *quantity* of time a father spends with his children is of equal value as *quality* of time a father spends with his children – as metrics for the emotional health/well-being and development of the children – is simply absurd; at best an argument of ignorance.
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“So the impact of only having physical contact with one’s father every other day is considered negligible as long as the father is decent when he is around?” Since my Father died when I was 6, Yes I would have gladly shared him with others. My mother was 8 months pregnant and if we were in a Plural family we might have gotten help. Didn`t get any from so-called friends, family or the Church. Having a big family might cause some time or money issues but when it comes down to it, Family is everything.
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