“No generation knows better than ours the terrible consequences of growing up without a father. Fatherless boys are far more likely to grow up and commit violent crime, mistreat women, and act out against society in every other way. Girls who do not have a father to honour — and, hopefully, to love as well — are more likely to seek the wrong men and to be promiscuous at an early age.” These are the sobering words of Dennis Prager.

Dennis Prager is one of America’s most respected and influential family-friendly thinkers, writers, and speakers. His Prager University YouTube channel gets one billion views each year. He has spoken extensively and produced multiple videos on the importance of manhood, faith, fatherhood, and family.

This video below, called ‘Are Fathers Necessary’ by Dennis Prager, has 2.8 million views and is well worth the watch.

Arguably, my good friend Bill Muehlenberg from Melbourne is Australia’s Dennis Prager. His CultureWatch website has almost 3,000 family-friendly articles and many videos and radio interviews. Bill has been supporting and helping Dads4Kids for the last two decades and produced Australia’s very first Facts on Fatherlessness Sheet.

Please find an abbreviated version of his recent article called, ‘The Terrible Harms of Fatherlessness’.

Fatherlessness is a growing problem in the Western world. Whether caused by divorce and broken families, or by deliberate single parenting, more and more children grow up in Australia without fathers. Concerned groups have argued that a mother and father are crucial in the raising of children. Father absence has been shown to be detrimental to the well-being of children. The following is a summary of the evidence for the importance of fathers and mothers.

One expert from Harvard medical school who has studied over 40 years of research on the question of parental absence and children’s well-being said this:

“What has been shown over and over again to contribute most to the emotional development of the child is a close, warm, sustained and continuous relationship with both parents. Yet this vast body of research is almost totally ignored by our society. Why have even the professionals tended to ignore this research? Perhaps the answer is, to put it most simply, because the findings are unacceptable.”

Educational performance

A number of studies show that children from mother-only families obtain fewer years of education and are far more likely to drop out of school than children from intact families. For example, American children from intact families have a 21 per cent chance of dropping out of high school whereas children from broken families have a 46 per cent chance.

Moreover, the presence of fathers seems to strongly impact on the educational performance and intelligence of children. Research shows that school children who became father-absent early in life generally scored significantly lower on measures of IQ and achievement tests…

Criminal involvement

Studies show a connection between delinquent and/or criminal behaviour, and broken families…

A British study found a direct statistical link between single parenthood and virtually every major type of crime, including mugging, violence against strangers, car theft and burglary.

One study even arrived at this startling conclusion: the proportion of single-parent households in a community predicts its rates of violent crime and burglary, but the community’s poverty level does not…

Involvement with drugs

Offspring from non-intact families are more likely to engage in drug and alcohol use than offspring from two-parent families.

Fathers, it seems, play a particularly important role in prevention of drug use… With regard to youthful drug users, the father’s involvement is more important.” Among the homes with strict fathers, only 18 per cent used alcohol or drugs at all. In contrast, among mother-dominated homes, 35 per cent had children who used drugs frequently.

Psychological/emotional well-being – mental and physical health

Studies show that the absence of a parent contributes to many forms of emotional disorder among children, especially anger, rebelliousness, low self-esteem, depression, and antisocial behaviour.

Children of divorce make up an estimated 60 per cent of child patients in clinical treatment and 80 to 100 per cent of adolescents in in-patient mental hospital settings…

Children having children

Children from mother-only families are more likely to marry early and have children early, both in and out of wedlock, and are more likely to divorce…

For example, a recent British study found that girls brought up by lone parents were twice as likely to leave home by the age of 18 than the daughters of intact homes; were three times as likely to be cohabitating by the age of 20; and almost three times as likely to have a birth out of wedlock.


Broadly speaking, several trends can be observed from the evidence:

1) a child’s development, by every indicator, is best served in the context of a natural, two-parent home.

2) the absence of a parent seems more devastating for a child than poverty or bad neighbourhoods.

3) single-parent families are more likely to produce a new generation that has the same or even worse problems than the last.


Children can also experience fatherlessness when Dad is present, but not really present. This is something I have to work on myself.

Our children need our presence (active) more than our presents. Never forget you are your child’s greatest asset!

Yours for our Children,
Warwick Marsh

PS: The National Grandparents Conference is coming up on Saturday, 16 September 2023. Tell any grandparents you know. Check it out here.


Photo by Helena Lopes.

About the Author: Warwick Marsh

Warwick Marsh has been married to Alison Marsh since 1975; they have five children and nine grandchildren, and he and his wife live in Wollongong in NSW, Australia. He is a family and faith advocate, social reformer, musician, TV producer, writer and public speaker. Warwick is a leader in the Men’s and Family Movement, and he is well-known in Australia for his advocacy for children, marriage, manhood, family, fatherhood and faith. Warwick is passionate to encourage men to be great fathers and to know the greatest Father of all. The Father in Whom “there is no shadow of turning.”

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