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Growing Up Without a Father

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Growing Up Without a Father
Scott Rangel
Professor Sigauke
English Writing 302
11 April 2011
Daddy-less and Disadvantaged
“I cannot think of any need in childhood as strong as the need for a father's protection.” --Sigmund Freud, Standard Edition, 1956 Growing up without a father or strong male role model in the United States is extremely difficult. Fatherless children are disadvantaged in American society and face a greater struggle to become successful in their personal, educational, and professional lives. The decline of fatherhood in one of the most unexpected and extraordinary trends of our time. Its dimensions can be captured in a single statistic: In just three decades, between 1960 and 1990, the percentage of children living apart from their biological fathers more than doubled, from 17 percent to 36 percent(Popenoe). Analysts predict that by 2016, nearly fifty percent of American children may be going to sleep each evening without being able to say good night to their dads (F. Furstenberg). Does this statistic bother you? It should and its ramifications are widespread. No one predicted this trend; few researchers or government agencies have monitored it; and to this day is still not widely discussed. But the data that is available suggests that the decline of fatherhood is a major force behind many of the most disturbing social problems that plague American society: crime; premature sexuality and out-of-wedlock births to teenagers; domestic violence against women; child abuse; deteriorating educational achievement; depression; substance abuse and alienation among adolescents; and the growing number of women and children in poverty (Popenoe). These problems that urge our attention are not separate issues, but are linked in an important way by the family trend of our time, which is the break-up of the mother-father-child rearing unit, and the increasing number of American children who spend all or a significant part of their childhood living apart from their father. The fact



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