According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the American divorce rate has been decreasing over the past decade. However, there are still millions of children living in divorced homes. Divorce can be especially hard on teenage boys who need a father's influence in order to develop socially and psychologically.
Helping His Relationships with Girls
During the teenage years, boys begin to develop romantic and personal relationships. This can be a confusing time during which they need a role model to show them how to treat a dating partner. Recent studies by the U.S. Department of health and Human Services show a direct correlation between a father's behavior and his son's. Boys whose fathers remain involved in their lives and who treat their mothers with respect tend to have healthier relationships with the opposite sex. They are less likely to behave disrespectfully or violently toward women.
Helping His Education
Fathers play a pivotal role in their sons' intellectual development. When a father is involved in his son's education -- asking about homework, stressing the importance of grades and other factors that measure maturity and stability -- the boy's focus on school also improves. This focus tends to translate into better grades. In fact, the U.S. Department of Education reports that adolescents whose fathers are highly involved in their education are over 40 percent more likely to earn all A's. Therefore, a divorced father who remains in his son's life is much more likely to set him on the path to success.
Helping His Emotional Stability
During a divorce, children often feel frustrated, afraid and confused. They can carry these emotions throughout their teenage years and well into adulthood. However, boys tend to learn how to deal with these negative emotions by watching their fathers. When fathers are involved with their teenage sons and model appropriate coping mechanisms, sons learn how to handle stress. In fact, they not only handle stressful situations better but they also identify fewer situations as stressful. In this way, the good relationship with their fathers has kept them feeling more emotionally stable and in control.
Preventing Criminal Behavior
Boys who grow up without a father in their lives are 2 to 3 times more likely to become involved in criminal activity. This can be partially attributed to the fact that the teenage years can be a time for thrill-seeking and testing limits. A teenage boy needs to maintain a strong relationship with his father to help him understand where to draw the line. The more involved a father is, the less likely his son is to get into trouble.
- American Psychological Association: Childhood Memories of Father Have Lasting Impact on Men’s Ability to Handle Stress
- U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: The Importance of Fathers in the Healthy Development of Children
- U.S. Census Bureau: Marriages and Divorces -- Number and Rate by States: 1990-2009
- Divorce Source, Inc.: Long-Term Effects of Divorce on Children
- Family and Marriage: Divorce: Ignoring the Cost
- Jupiterimages/Pixland/Getty Images