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Posted by on Jan 3, 2017 in From Boy to Man, Parenting Tips, Saving Our Sons, The Quest Project, Tips for Moms | 0 comments

Parenting Boys: What You Need To Know



Are you parenting boys? Is dad active in his life?  Do you worry he could be in trouble?

Parenting Boys:  Boys Without Fathers

One of the most common issues our boys face is growing up without their father.  

According to estimates, one in three boys currently lives in a home without a father or other strong male role model.

Maybe dad does live in the home but isn’t emotionally present because:

  • He’s working 60 hours a week and has no time for his son
  • He’s struggling with addiction issues and that impacts the quality of parenting
  • He’s putting himself first and focuses on sports, friends or other non-family activities

Studies show these boys are more likely than the rest of their peers to:

  • Drop out of school
  • Get involved in gangs
  • Experience trouble with the law
  • Experiment with drugs and/or alcohol

My research supports that when a boy gets in serious trouble, there’s a very good chance he’s growing up without a father.

  • 70% of adolescent boys in residential treatment centers are fatherless
  • 72% of juveniles in state reform institutions grew up without parents or in single-parent homes
  • 72% of adolescent murderers grew up without fathers
  • The most shocking…more than 75% of all crime in America is committed by men who were fatherless as children

Parenting Boys: Our Boys Are Suffering

I’m not saying every boy who is suffering is fatherless. Plenty of boys raised by single mothers grow up to be healthy, happy and whole members of society.  There are many boys who aren’t any trouble at all that are struggling in school, feeling sadness or depression, having trouble in their relationships with their peers or families. They may even be experiencing physical pain or illness that is caused by mental stress.

I’m going to say something here you might not like.  Over the last 25 years or so, we have ignored our boys.”  A significant amount of attention has been focused on girls and young women, which was certainly needed.  In the meantime, society has ignored the boys and they’re struggling. 

Questions we should be asking ourselves:

Why are they having such a rough time growing up?

Why are so many of them struggling to find their way in the world?

Can the people who care about them, do anything about it?

I say we can! First, we have to agree, accept and decide we’re going to do something about it.  This is my mission when I work with boys during the 10- week Quest Project® (a troubled teens program).  Look for answers to these questions and more in future blog articles.

In the meantime, I’m curious to know your thoughts about how we can address the epidemic of troubled boys in our society. Please post your comments, questions or challenges in the comments below.

Clayton Lessor
Clayton Lessor, PhD in education and counseling, is a Licensed Professional Counselor in private practice. He is author of "Generation of Men: How to raise your son to be a healthy man among men" and “Saving Our Sons: A Parent's Guide to Preparing Boys for Success." Dr. Clay has seen over 2000 boys since 2000 and facilitated over 300 The Quest Project groups. Boys attend a 10-week "boys to men program" where they and their parents will learn the tools needed to get through these turbulent teen years. Dr. Clay is a member of the Steering Committee for The Coalition to Create a White House Council for Boys and Men.
Clayton Lessor
Clayton Lessor

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