- –Poor parents are twice as likely to break up as those with money. Once parents break up, a male child’s probability of becoming a criminal and a female child’s probability of becoming pregnant before the age of eighteen rise exponentially;
- –More than three fourths of crime in America, both violent and nonviolent, is committed by male children born to single parents or following their parents’ divorce;
- –90 percent of the nation’s prison inmates up to age thirty-five were born to mothers under eighteen;
- –About 20 percent of all violent crime is committed by children under the age of eighteen;
- –Most of these offenders, whether jailed or not, return to committing crimes;
- –90 percent of these offenders are boys.
Boys, says Gurian, need a stable family structure with caring parents of each sex. Especially as boys move into their second decade of life, they need strong adult male mentors that show them what it means to be a man — to accept responsibility, to overcome natural urges, to stand up for what is right. Adult female mentors are needed too, but their role is heavier during the first decade of a boy’s life.
No matter what the politically correct version says, Gurian charges that there is no way mentors of either sex can successfully teach a boy what he needs to learn from the opposite sex. Thus, our massive experiment with fatherlessness is producing dramatic societal costs.
Couple increased fatherlessness with the steady decline of volunteerism, and you have large swaths of adolescent American males that are left without adult male mentors that are positive role models. It was once more common for boys to be involved with groups like Boy Scouts where they regularly interacted with positive adult male mentors.
Boys now spend significantly more time with video games and computers. When they do get out, their male role models are other boys that are only a couple of years older than them and that know little of what it means to be a productive member of society. The problem is particularly egregious among the less affluent segments of society.
Most of the goods and ills that we see in broader society are a reflection of the state of our homes and families. It is bluntly obvious what we should be doing to strengthen our own families. How to help others do the same — particularly those most at risk — is not as simple.