The Effects of a Father's Abandonment on a Teenage Boy

By C.O. Ryan
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In 2012, 24 million children in the United States -- one in three -- lived in homes without their biological father, according to the National Fatherhood Initiative. Many studies have been conducted that highlight the effects of a biological father not being present for children as they are growing up. For teenage boys in particular, the negative effects of this loss can reach past adolescence, influencing a young man's self-esteem, social and emotional behavior and quality of life well into adulthood.

Effects on Education

Studies performed by the National Center for Education Statistics have revealed that when a father is involved in a teenage boy’s education, he has a much higher chance of getting good grades and a much lower chance of having to repeat a grade. This was found to be true in cases of both biological fathers and step-fathers being present. When his father was not present in his life, there was noticeably less chance of a boy getting A's and not having to repeat a grade. ]

Effects on Behavior

According to studies conducted by the National Bureau of Economic Research, teenage boys are more likely to become involved in anti-social or criminal behavior such as gang fights when they have no active father presence in their lives. The studies found that even when the boys’ mother was very involved in their lives, teenage boys with no father at home were still 7.6 percent more likely to get into trouble at school or on the streets than those whose fathers were active in their lives.

Effects on Home Life

A 2006 report by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services revealed that children whose fathers are positively involved in their lives are more likely to be calm, confident and to get along better with others. They are “less likely to get in trouble at home, school or in the neighborhood,” according to the report. Teenage boys whose fathers live with them in a married household also grow up better equipped to create a safe and caring home environment, and are much less likely to be abused or neglected.

Effects on Sexual Behavior

According to a 2001 study published in the British medical journal "The Lancet," teenage boys who are living without their biological fathers at home were twice as likely to have intercourse before the age of 16 as teens from two-parent homes. They were also nearly two times as likely to not use contraception during first intercourse. Teenage boys from divorced families were also nearly twice as likely to become fathers by the age of 22 than men from married households.

Effects on Economic Status

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, teens living in homes where the father is absent are nearly four times more likely to be poor. In 2011, 44 percent of children living with their single mothers were living below the poverty line, compared to only 12 percent of children in married households. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the results of living in poverty for a teenage boy can include a higher likelihood of problems with mental and physical health, and increased chance of smoking, underage drinking and drug abuse.