According to Fathers.com, fatherless children are at significantly greater risks of living in poverty, substance abuse, and display more internal and external behavioral problems than kids growing up in two parent households. Although there is no direct evidence that a child growing up without a father will develop ADHD; we can make a pretty strong case that they will experience many of the same symptoms of ADHD, when really it may be trauma that needs to be addressed.
ADHD and trauma share similar qualities: being easily distracted, aggressive behavior, and lack of control. Causes of trauma may include an unstable/unsafe environment, separation from a parent, bullying, and/or physical, sexual, or verbal abuse– categories fatherless children tend to fall into.
In an article entitled Why French Kids Don’t Have ADHD, French psychiatrists point out that instead of prematurely diagnosing children with ADHD (over 9% of all US children vs 0.5% for French children), we should be looking for and addressing the underlying issues and get to the root of the trauma instead. When we do, we can begin to bring healing to the wound rather than numbing it. Wounded Places, a documentary by California Newsreel, suggests that instead of asking ourselves, “What’s wrong with this person?” we should really be asking, “What HAPPENED to this person?”
As believers, I strongly feel that we have a Biblical obligation to get involved. The Bible is full of instructions for us to care for the fatherless (the word Orphanos actually means “orphan” OR “fatherless” in Greek). Thus anytime God is speaking on this matter, He is instructing us to be the hands and feet of Christ to visit them in their distress. Perhaps you are called to begin or strengthen a single parent ministry in your community. Or maybe you can designate one hour a week (yes, that’s all it takes!) to mentoring a fatherless youth. One way or another, we should be inviting these families into our lives and homes to share Christ with them. I realize not everyone may be able to get fully involved, but everyone can get involved in some way! Love, hope, encouragement, and stability are what these kids need the most. The Gospel is the answer to all of the above. They need it and we have it. By answering Jesus’ call to “father” the least of these, we are clearing a path to help all wounded sons and daughters discover the Father they’ve always wanted and who has always wanted them.
Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this,
to visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction,
and to keep himself unspotted from the world.
James 1:27 KJV
Do you know a fatherless child that is being treated with medication, when really they need the Great Physician?
By Matt Haviland
Husband to Christy, Dad of one daughter
1 Corinthians 13 Parenting Team Member
Founder of A Father’s Walk
Author of A Father’s Walk: A Christian-Based Resource for Single Fathers,
Co-author of The Daddy Gap