Since we were boys we knew that we would have children one day. Our parents expected that from us. In fact, the environment we were raised in a whole expected it. However, we seldom ask ourselves, “Do I want to have children?” let’s put it this way. Suppose you have all the skills you need to perform a certain job, would it make a difference if you are doing this job because you “have to” or because you “want to” ? When you “have to” do something, you are not usually happy or excited about it, you just want to get it over with. You also tend to do just the minimum required to satisfy those who put this burden on you with the hope they will leave you alone when it’s done. However, when you “want to” do something, you become passionate about it. You tend to go above and beyond to get the best possible result.
Becoming a father because you are pressured by your spouse and/or relatives, or because you believe that it is your duty in life since you are a man, is different from wanting to be a father. This will inevitably show in the way you treat and raise your children. Some fathers see their children as a burden, a hindrance to their careers, to fun, and to their goals. They avoid getting involved in their children’s lives as much as possible, sometimes without realizing it. They get the minimum done to appease their conscience, but they have no joy accomplishing their duties. Some go as far as blaming their partners for tying them up with children and turn their backs on them. What they don’t realized is that kids can sense when they are unwanted. This can ruin a child’s life and result in delinquency, violent behaviors, drugs, and alcohol abuse.
Here are a few statistics from the National Fatherhood Initiative and the National Center for Fathering:
- Individuals from father absent homes are 279% more likely to carry guns and deal drugs than peers living with their fathers.
- Children born to single mothers show higher levels of aggressive behavior than children born to married mothers.
- Teens without fathers are twice as likely to be involved in early sexual activity and seven times more likely to get pregnant as an adolescent. They are 9 times more likely to be raped or sexually abused in a home without a biological father.
- Teens without fathers are 10 times more likely to abuse chemical substances. 71% Of all adolescent substance abusers come from a fatherless home
- 80% of adolescents in psychiatric hospitals come from fatherless homes. They are twice more likely to commit suicide.
It’s important for men to take a good look at themselves and sincerely answer the question, “Do I want to be a dad?’ This will impact greatly their performance as fathers as well as the future of their children.
If the answer is no, have an honest discussion with your partner and your family so that they know where you stand. That’s not something to be ashamed of. It’s better not to take the job than to accept it and do it poorly. The consequences can be devastating not just for you and your family but for the society as a whole.
Co-founder of the League of Extraordinary Dads