Impact of Father Figures on Boy’s Future


I have recently come across a brilliant article written by Shelbi York- a student and activist.  I am so happy someone has finally come out with research showing that a mom can in fact raise children without a man in the house.  For years- every time a young adult gets into trouble of any kind- single moms are blamed-

“The broken home” theory has always annoyed me.  Fathers do not determine if a kid will turn out good, or troubled.  It is true that a child benefits financially from a second income in a home- but the actual relationship with a father does not contribute to how a child turns out.

Below is the article written by Shelbi– and I think it is a brilliant- truthful- research article.  Thank you Shelbi– for shedding light on the truth that nobody will admit- Please read the below article and feel free to post comments on the comments thread-

Impact of Father Figures on Boy’s Future
Shelbi York
Eastern Kentucky University
SOC 313 – Social Deviance
October 26, 2012
         Determining whether or not father figures have an influence on a boy’s future is a question that is crucial in understanding the roots of juvenile delinquency.  In a society where we always look for reasons and labels for others and their behaviors, the blame is often placed on the father and the role that he played in the child’s life.  Determining the correlation between a father figure and the actions of the child when they are grown can help in determining whether delinquency occurs when there is a lack of fathering.  Based on what society tells us, I would assume that there was a negative correlation between the two factors.  By examining Shears, Robinson, and Emde’s “Fathering relationships and their associations with juvenile delinquency,” we can start to analyze this connection.
         Jeffrey Shears is a researcher, Associate Professor, and BSW Coordinator at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte in the Department of Social Work.  He has a PhDfrom the University of Denver.  With his focus being primarily on family health, Shears does a lotof work concerning the family structure and delinquency in minors (UNC Charlotte).  JoAnn Robinson is a professor and the director of Early Childhood Education Training in the Department of Human Development and Family Studies at the University of Connecticut.  She has a PhD in Human Development and Family Studies from Cornell University.  She has a long history of researching families and young children in relation to the early impacts of intervention(Naropa University).  Robert Emde is a retired Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center and Adjunct Professor of Psychology at the University of Denver.  Emde has an impressively long list of affiliations as well as honors, awards, recognitions, and books that have been published.  He has focused most of his work on early socio-emotional development and early preventive interventions (ZERO TO THREE).
         Shears, Robinson, and Emde started out questioning whether a man’s relationship with his father affects the relationship that he, in turn, has with his child.  This research team looked at “87 men who were identified as fathers or father figures by women involved in two Early Head Start sites in Denver, Colorado (2002:79).”  Based on the interviews “about their experiences when their child was between 2 and 3 years of age (2002:79),” Shears, Robinson, and Emde discovered that a relationship did exist between the way a man was raised and how that affects how he raises his children.  This is an important thing for people who work with children to understand when assessing the problems that a child is experiencing currently as well as the problems they will experience when they are in their adolescent years.  The study could predict domestic violence as well as an antisocial attitude that would be projected to the child’s peers throughout life.
         The researchers found that there was a “significant correlation (2002:84)” between how a man rated himself as a father and how attached he was to his child. That did not find an attachment between his self-rating and the involvement that he had in the child’s life.  Based on this data, they determined that men with positive experiences with father figures generally felt as if they were good fathers with high attachments levels to their children.  They also discovered that there was not a direct correlation between negative experiences with father figures and engagement in delinquent acts (2002: 84).  The study also showed that the men who said that they had experienced high levels of antisocial behaviors indicated that they had low involvement with their child and rated themselves low as fathers.  However, the men who did report high levels of antisocial behaviors did not indicated that they had any lower levels of emotional attachment to their children than those with lower levels of antisocial behaviors (2002:84).
         As a society that is so concerned with labeling people, we often times want to blame someone else for the delinquent acts that occur.  Often times when juvenile delinquency occurs,the blame is placed on the father figure (or the lack thereof) in the juveniles’ life.  As we learned in class, Cesare Combroso was a firm believer that people are not born with free will and that they are instead subject to intrinsic biological propensities.  He believed that some people are simply born with genetics that are predisposed to certain deviant behaviors (Matthews 2011).  Shears, Robinson, and Emde’s research would certainly support Combroso’s claim.  Based on the lack of evidence to show that negative experiences with a father figure affect a juvenile’s engagement in delinquent acts (2002:84), it seems to support the argument that the juveniles that commit these acts are genetically predisposed to do so.  One can look at this in comparison to the data that shows the rates of juvenile delinquency occurring in children that come from single parent homes.  It might be beneficial to analyze what other factors that were present in the home could have led to the delinquency of the minor since this study shows that the lack of a father figure does not necessarily present a link to delinquent behaviors.
         This study agrees with Cooley’s theory of the looking-glass self.  Cooley suggests that we define ourselves as individuals based on how we look at society.  He believed that you never see yourself for who you really are but instead you judge yourself based on how you feel that society views you and how you measure up to what is expected by our society (Matthews 2011).  By concluding that most men who reported having lots of instances of antisocial behaviors rate themselves poorly as fathers (2002:84) shows that society’s pressures on these men are often negative.  It can be assumed that these men have low self-confidence based on the anti-social behaviors they admitted to having.  This low self-confidence could have led them into believing that they are less of a father than someone with a better feeling about themselves.  The standards for what makes a good father from society suggests that one needs confidence in order to be successful.  These conflicting sides of what society sees and what the responder sees are a perfect example of Cooley’s theory.
         The findings from this survey also can be easily compared to the Symbolic Interactionism Perspective.  Symbolic Interactists view society as an ongoing process of social interactions in which people are constantly learning and evolving.  They also believe that everything we learn, know, and believe is our own creation (Matthews 2011).  SI’s would suggest that men would have negative experiences with their children if they had negative experiences with their fathers because that is all that they have been taught and all that they have learned.  This experiment discounts this theory’s hypothesis by providing evidence to suggest that a man that has had negative experiences with father figures does not always have negative experiences with his children (2002:84).
         In conclusion, based on the findings from this survey study, one can see that the role of a man’s father does not necessarily determine how he acts as a juvenile or an adult.  This can be very crucial in debunking the age-old myth that single mothers are not as effective in raising their children as a child that has a mother and a father.  While it is often a plus economically to have a male (or another income-earner) in the home, this study suggests that the lack of a male figure does not have a direct correlation to positive behaviors in the future.  Based on this information, more research can be done to determine if this stands true for the general population or if it was only true for these low-income males.
Matthews, Austin. 2011. Lecture on Social Deviance. Eastern Kentucky University.
Naropa University. JoAnn Robinson. Boulder, CO: Naropa University. Retrieved October 22, 2012 (
Shears, J., Robinson, J., & Emde, R. N. (2002). Fathering relationships and their associations with juvenile delinquency. Infant Mental Health Journal23(1/2), 79-87.
UNC Charlotte. 2012. Jeffrey Shears. Charlotte, NC: The University of North Carolina at Charlotte. Retrieved October 22, 2012 (
ZERO TO THREE: National Center for Infants, Toddlers and Families. 2012. Washington, DC:ZERO TO THREE: National Center for Infants, Toddlers and Families. Retrieved October 22, 2012 (

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