How Can an Absent Father Affect a Child?

There are many ways that an absent father can affect people. It differs based on the circumstances of your father's absence and can include depression, grief, loneliness, low self-worth and anger.

However, one area not a lot of people talk about is sexual promiscuity. I am saddened when I hear about so many girls who thought they were in love become devastated by giving in to guys when it wasn't love at all.  So why do girls give in to guys?

Sex and Father Hunger

Father Hunger is a deep longing that comes into our lives when there is little or no closeness between us and our fathers.  This longing causes us to crave a father figure to fill that role.

What does Father Hunger have to do with girls giving in to guys?  Leah, in her comment, answers that question, "Girls who have poor relationships with their fathers easily give into sex because they are looking for something or someone to fill the void their father has left."

Few of us have any idea the impact fathers play in our lives, for good or for bad. We are emotionally hardwired to be loved and accepted by our dads. I was blessed with a great father who loved and accepted me.  When he died, I was devastated. I still miss him greatly and think about him every day. He made a profound impact on my life. One thing fathers are designed to do is be a role model on how to relate to the opposite sex.

As Derek said, "Women who don't have good relationships with their fathers never get to see how a man should treat women, and especially the woman he loves. Without this basis for how a relationship should go, they are lost and confused."

The Role of a Father

Maybe your father failed to be a role model in your life and never taught you how to relate to the opposite sex.  Without his example and encouragement, you could easily be confused and vulnerable to some guys who only want to use you. Father Hunger can easily cause an intense craving in you to be accepted and loved by a father figure.  It's easy to confuse that craving with what you think is love.  Sex without love and commitment (marriage) never meets needs, it only uncovers them.  A guy named Michael wrote one of the most insightful thoughts I have read in a long time: "Since some girls never got the right attention from their fathers, they want to get the wrong attention from their boyfriend."

King Solomon, whose been called the wisest man in the Bible, said this:

 When you're hungry, even what tastes bitter tastes good.

Sex without commitment will never solve your Father Hunger.  In fact, it will only make matters much worse.  Father Hunger is so deep it can only be filled a lot of work and the grace of God.

Why The Pressure is Great

The pressure to have sex without commitment (marriage) is great.  First of all, there is your own natural and healthy emotional and sexual attraction.  Then the culture glamorizes it and tells you it's okay.  Next, there is a lie so many believe which says, "Sex is love."  So, if you think you are in love, it's only normal to have sex.  Plus, at one time or another, you will probably be pressured to give in.  Finally, there's the incredible emotional cravings of father hunger that causes you to long to fill your need (good or bad).  That makes you more susceptible to destructive sex.  That's a lot of pressure.  As Kendra put it, "When a girl is hurt in life by her father the daughter will search the rest of her life for love from a man. She needs a strong male figure in her life, but without a dad to show her what a real man is, she will fall for any trick of the trade."

You Don't have to Follow this Pattern

Some girls have great relationships with their fathers and still give in to guys.  Others have very poor, or no relationships with their fathers and never give in.  So how do you stay strong? Someone once said, If you want to be happy, know yourself and know your God.  As you understand yourself better, it will be easier for you to protect yourself not only from some guy who may want to use you, but also from your own weaknesses.

I am totally in your corner. That's why I've told you the truth. We all need to understand ourselves better, and together face difficult issues like Father Hunger. Check out my blog on "How to Deal with Father Hunger"

Dawson McAllister
Dawson McAllister, also known as America's youth pastor, was an author, radio host, speaker, and founder of TheHopeLine. McAllister attended Bethel College in Minnesota for undergraduate work where he graduated in 1968, began graduate studies at Talbot School of Theology in California, and received an honorary doctorate from Biola University.
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5 comments on “How Can an Absent Father Affect a Child?”

  1. I love this blog! Bless God that I came across this article first I believe! This is very encouraging and helpful.

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