Mike Rowe Tackles the Problems Fatherlessness Causes, and It's About Time We Put Focus on It

We can trace of a lot of society’s problems to fatherless families.

This isn’t an easy thing to say or admit in a society that has elevated mothers, specifically single motherhood, to a nearly religious-like reverence. Furthermore, it doesn’t help that we live in a society that has — at least in its more leftist/mainstream feminist circles — made villains out of men, masculinity, and fatherhood in its more extreme cases.


But as the former host of Dirty Jobs and current host of Returning the Favor, Mike Rowe, recently pointed out, fatherless homes cause a bevy of problems within the home that affect society as a whole.

Rowe posted a new episode of Returning the Favor on his Facebook wall and began by musing over a certain celebrity divorce wherein the mother dismissed the idea that her child needed a father:

A couple years ago, when Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt were getting divorced, Jolie was quoted as saying, “It never even crossed my mind that my son would need a father.”

I was struck by her comment, and I remember wondering how many other Americans might share her view. At the time, I didn’t think many. But today, I’m convinced the number is significant. I’m also amazed at how quickly fatherhood has fallen out of favor. Can you imagine a celebrity – or anyone for that matter – saying such a thing just twenty years ago?

Rowe went on to describe that midway through this week’s episode of Returning the Favor, Rowe began to identify bullying as what it is, a symptom, not a disease. The disease, he found, was fatherlessness.

And he posted the facts to back it up:

• 63% of youth suicides are from fatherless homes – 5 times the average. (US Dept. Of Health/Census)
• 90% of all homeless and runaway children are from fatherless homes – 32 times the average.
• 85% of all children who show behavior disorders come from fatherless homes – 20 times the average. (Center for Disease Control)
• 80% of rapists with anger problems come from fatherless homes – 14 times the average. (Justice & Behavior, Vol 14, p. 403-26)
• 71% of all high school dropouts come from fatherless homes – 9 times the average. (National Principals Association Report)
• 43% of US children live without their father [US Department of Census]


“Is it really so surprising to learn that a majority of bullies also come from fatherless homes?” Rowe asks after stating the stats. “As do a majority of school shooters? As do a majority of older male shooters?”

“I know this is controversial,” he continues, “and I’m sorry to inject an uncomfortable element into a post about a “feel-good” show, but I think it’s important to consider the possibility that this thing we like to call “an epidemic of bullying,” is really an “epidemic of fatherlessness.” I also think it’s reasonable to conclude that our society is sending a message to men of all ages that is decidedly mixed.”

Societal violence is definitely a problem, but most problems seem to have a common source, and it’s not what politicians, activists, or the media point to. As Rowe notes, not having a dad has a serious effect on a kid’s life, especially a boy’s.

The bullying crisis is real, but the root cause has nothing to do with video games, or guns, or social media, or rock and roll, or sugary drinks, or any of the other boogymen currently in fashion. Nor is it a function of some new chromosome unique to the current crop of kids coming of age. Kids are the same now as they were a hundred years ago – petulant, brave, arrogant, earnest, frightened, and cocksure. It’s the parents who have changed. It’s the parents who have put their own happiness above the best interests of their kids. It’s the parents who actually believe “the village” will raise their kids, when the village is profoundly incapable of doing anything of the sort.


It’s time we as a society understand just how important fathers are, and ditch the idea that good men aren’t necessary for a society to thrive.


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