Opinion: Lack of Sleep Isn’t Why Kids Become Criminals — It’s Missing Fathers
A new study from our state university claims if kids start school later, they'll get more sleep and commit less crime.
The theory is if kids are more well-rested, they'll make better judgment calls when it comes to behavior. This is like saying if you have a nutritious breakfast you'll become a doctor. It's a typical solution offered by a government institution — a government solution — when in fact the state is responsible for the problem of youth crime and the general deterioration of society in general.
The state continues to pay women to have children out of wedlock, creating a disaster in many cases for the child, the mother and the community. The problem is not a lack of sleep, it's a lack of family structure and the important role a father and an intact family plays in raising a child.
Very few government officials or the mainstream media want to talk about it, but it's the biggest problem in our nation today. There are many heroically strong moms who do an amazing job in the absence of a father in the home, and the kids do well. But many of those cases don't start out without the presence of a dad.
I'm not alone in saying this. Then-President Obama (who I disagreed with on all sorts of things) told the Apostolic Church of God in Chicago congratation on Father's Day in 2008 fatherlessness was a critical problem — and that more than half of all black kids were in single-parent households.
"We know the statistics — that children who grow up without a father are five times more likely to live in poverty and commit crime; nine times more likely to drop out of schools and 20 times more likely to end up in prison," Obama said. "They are more likely to have behavioral problems, or run away from home or become teenage parents themselves. And the foundations of our community are weaker because of it."
Some more stunning stats:
- About one in four fathers in kids age 17 or younger are living apart from at least one of their children, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of data from the CDC's National Survey of Family Growth.
- A 1990s-era study also based on the National Survey of Family Growth said girls are twice as likely to suffer from obesity without the father present. It also said they were four times as likely to get pregnant.
- As Obama said, the problem breaks down very differently along racial lines. The same study showed about 47 percent of black dads were apart from at least one of their minor children (36 percent were apart from all of their children). For Hispanic families, the stat was 26 percent, and for non-Hispanic white families, 17 percent.
- Edward Kruk, Ph.D., an associate professor of social work at the University of British Columbia, wrote for Psychology Today that kids living without fathers are way more likely to be truant from school or to otherwise miss their education — he says 71 percent of high school dropouts are fatherless. He also says they're more likely to be homeless, to abuse substances, to have physical and mental health problems, and to struggle to form healthy relationships. He also says 85 percent of youth in prison have absent fathers.
Until we admit to the misguided compassion of paying for people's bad choices, the cycle will continue. We need to promote and encourage the importance of fathers and devalue the government's role in every aspect of our lives.
Maybe the state university employees need to sleep a little later so they can live a little longer. Then perhaps the life experience will teach them that government is rarely the answer and usually the problem.