Why Teenage Boys?
Every boy wants to become a successful man. Middle school is a critical time when a boy’s choices, both conscious and unconscious, begin to form the foundation of the man he will become. No boy dreams of dropping out of school, going to prison, getting hooked on drugs, or joining a gang yet millions do. One reason why is
Whether a boy’s father died, abandoned him, or is just emotionally unavailable, a teenage boy beginning his journey to manhood with no man to guide him will likely lose his way. Once the reality that he must figure out manhood alone sets in, his hope is replaced with despair and his innocence soon turns to anger.
Fatherless boys are FOUR times more likely to need help for emotional or behavioral problems. The longer he is lost and alone, the deeper the wound becomes. The difference between a 13 and 16-year-old boy with no father is shocking. Our middle school groups are full of sweet 12 and 13-year-old boys who cry when they talk of their missing fathers. The high school boys are different. Anger has replaced tears, and they stop “caring”.
Why? Because it hurts too much to care. “Why should I care? Nobody else does.” Without care, all they have left is anger. This anger affects them in every aspect of their lives and cripples their ability to maintain positive self-esteem and healthy relationships with others.
Why does this matter, you ask?
The number of boys growing up without fathers has reached epidemic proportions. High rates of divorce and out-of-wedlock births have created a generation of fatherless boys. Since 1960, the rate of U.S. boys without fathers has quadrupled. One in three children are born to unmarried parents, and an estimated 24.7 million children do not live with their biological father. Currently, 43% of urban teens live away from their father, and 42% of fathers fail to see their children after divorce.
Here are the devastating effects of fatherlessness on a teenager’s life:
85% of youths in prisons grew up in a fatherless home.
71% of high school dropouts come from fatherless homes.
80% of rapists with displaced anger come from fatherless homes.
63% of youth suicides are from fatherless homes.
Gang membership increased from 50,000 in 1975 to 1,150,000 in 2008.
90% of homeless children are from fatherless homes.
85% of children with behavioral disorders come from fatherless homes.
90% of adolescent repeat arsonists live with only their mother.
In addition, fatherless boys are disproportionately more likely to end up in prison. The prison incarceration rate more than quadrupled since 1975. A boy leaving high school to enter into a life of crime or drug abuse can cost his community $1.7–$2.3 million in his lifetime. Costing taxpayers $75 billion a year, 5% of the adult male population is in or has been in prison.