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  • Writer's pictureDave Aucoin

The Consequences of Dad-Deprived Homes

Updated: Oct 27, 2022

When I was a kid, I thought the phrase “Nuclear Family” was a strange one. Now I wonder if people even know what it means. Have we relegated nuclear homes to something you read about in a Smithsonian Museum or watch sitcoms about on Nickelodeon TV? These are homes with a father and a mother (biological male and female). They may have any number of children that to each other are brothers and sisters (biological boys and girls). I submit to you we need a revival of the “nuclear family,” and two articles recently brought that home to me (pun intended).

The first was an article by Melissa Kirsch in The New York Times. In the article she said, “Last week marked the conclusion of Pride Month, a celebration of L.G.B.T.Q. rights which for many members of queer communities, is also a celebration of their chosen family [emphasis mine].” She went on to describe chosen families as those created outside the structures of (and often in place of) the traditional nuclear family.

The article was a clear attempt at re-defining the family. She went on to describe the Bickersons, a self-named chosen family of about 10 to 20 queer women who live near Asheville, NC. Their activities include raucous holidays, fishing trips and three-day birthday celebrations. It’s also means working on one another’s homes, helping each other get sober and providing love and support when one of the group is ill.

What the article really described was not a family but a commune. Thousands of these sprung up during the 1960s. It was a time of social upheaval in the United States. Anti-war protests, along with the sexual revolution and civil rights issues, left few social norms unchallenged. Young idealists then were in search of an alternative lifestyle, and abandoning the norm was the norm. But, when we abandon the norm, it usually follows that there are consequences.

The second article I read was in the Epoch Times, “Fatherless Homes Linked to Mental Illness, Mass Shootings.” Author William Farrell describes the consequences of what he called, “Dad-Deprived Homes.” In his research, he found that the mass shootings in 53 developed countries are linked to boys and men who lacked a father figure. His facts are sobering to say the least.

  • In the US, all six of the mass school shootings that have killed more than 10 people have been done by boys, and all six of them have been done by boys who have been “dad deprived.”

  • Girls are growing up in the same environment as boys, with access to the same media, video games, and guns — and dealing with the same mental health issues — yet are not committing any of the shootings.

Violence has been on the rise in states nationwide, and RI is no exception. Shootings are regular occurrences, and the vast majority are committed by boys and men. Activists are calling for more gun control, but it would seem the problem goes deeper and is really a “heart problem.”

The solution, therefore, is not to re-define the family as many RI legislators have tried to do but to strengthen the nuclear family as we have always known it to be. It seems obvious that if we want to see a decrease in social violence, we need to address the issue of dad-deprived homes.

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