Father’s Day was this past Sunday. Many people spent time with their fathers or even post photos celebrating the men in their life on social media. Still, more than ever, there is an epidemic of children living without a solid fatherly influence.

Today 1 in 4 children in America live without any kind of father in the home: biological, step, or adoptive. That is roughly 18.4 million children, enough to fill New York City twice, and when conflicts arise, the public neglects to notice the issue in the home. 

The United States has been on a steady incline in children born out of wedlock since the 60s, when it was around 7%; today, approximately 40% of children are born to unmarried parents in the United States. Although that doesn’t mean 40% of children are bound not to have a father in the home, it makes it easier for parents to split up if they aren’t married. 

It’s distressing, not only the neglect of the children but the neglect of the statistics that show how detrimental it is to lives. Children who grow up without a father are four times as likely to face poverty, seven times as likely to get pregnant as a teen, more likely to commit a crime and go to prison, two times as likely to suffer obesity, and two times as likely to drop out of school. These statistics can’t touch the intangible depth to which these issues affect adolescents’ self-esteem. 

Prosocial behavior is needed more than ever after adolescents were damaged socially and emotionally during the pandemic, and fathers have a massive impact on the social development of their children. So why is fatherlessness continuing to inch towards being our country’s standard?

Politicians don’t want to speak about this topic because they fear political backlash. During an extensive Epoch Times interview, Warren Farrell said this was his experience working with Democratic candidates. “Warren, we can’t afford to have our candidates speak out on the importance of boys having a lot of father involvement because we’re afraid to alienate our feminist base,” he stated.

Most people believe we should do what is best for children. Of course, they are the nation’s future, but if they are neglected by society and have no one to look up to and learn from, how can anyone expect them to succeed?

The solution to this issue isn’t easily solved because it ties into matters of education and social safety nets. Legislators cannot ethically pass a bill to make a father stay in their child’s life. What they can do is provide incentives that promote families staying together and start incrementally moving away from the welfare system that is in place presently. The demographic most affected by the welfare system are low-income single mother households that would have their benefits significantly diminished if a father’s income were to be reported. 

Recent efforts to combat fatherlessness include Florida Gov. Ron Desantis signing a bill in April that ensures mentorship programs and educational programs that support involved fatherhood. Although these programs can’t promise a final solution, leaders need to begin to treat this issue with the severity it deserves and support two-parent households. 

Ultimately, responsibility for one’s life comes with responsibility for one’s decisions. Not everything can be solved by legislation and incentives, and some issues rely on introspection of oneself and purpose. People must choose to do what is morally right and protect and nurture their children. Hopefully, the alarming statistics, which are the profound root of present issues, can inspire men and families to take responsibility for the children they helped create and give our country a stronger foundation for the future.