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Fatherlessness and the 2011 Riots

In August 2011 overnight looting took place in London leading to widespread rioting across England. In a speech given in his own constituency the Prime Minister, David Cameron, highlighted the role of families and in particular fathers in dealing with the disturbances;

Let me start with families.

The question people asked over and over again last week was 'where are the parents?
Why aren't they keeping the rioting kids indoors?

Tragically that's been followed in some cases by judges rightly lamenting: "why don't the parents even turn up when their children are in court?"

Well, join the dots and you have a clear idea about why some of these young people were behaving so terribly.

Either there was no one at home, they didn't much care or they'd lost control.

Families matter.

I don't doubt that many of the rioters out last week have no father at home.

Perhaps they come from one of the neighbourhoods where it's standard for children to have a mum and not a dad......where it's normal for young men to grow up without a male role model, looking to the streets for their father figures, filled up with rage and anger.

So if we want to have any hope of mending our broken society, family and parenting is where we've got to start.

In her newspaper column for the Daily Mail, Melanie Phillips (Britain's liberal intelligentsia has smashed virtually every social value, 11 August 2011) blamed not merely, 'feral children but feral parents'.

The causes of this sickness are many and complex. But three things can be said with
certainty: every one of them is the fault of the liberal intelligentsia; every one of them was instituted or exacerbated by the Labour government; and at the very heart of these problems lies the breakdown of the family.

For most of these children come from lone-mother households. And the single most crucial factor behind all this mayhem is the willed removal of the most important thing that socialises children and turns them from feral savages into civilised citizens: a father who is a fully committed member of the family unit.

Of course there are many lone parents who do a tremendous job. But we’re talking here about widespread social collapse. And there are whole areas of Britain, white as well as black, where committed fathers are a wholly unknown phenomenon.

In such areas, successive generations are being brought up only by mothers, through whose houses pass transitory males by whom these women have yet more children ― and who inevitably repeat the pattern of lone and dysfunctional parenting.

The result is fatherless boys who are consumed by an existential rage and desperate emotional need, and who take out the damage done to them by lashing out from infancy at everyone around them. Such children inhabit what is effectively a different world from the rest of society. It’s a world without any boundaries or rules. A world of emotional and physical chaos.

A world where a child responds to the slightest setback or disagreement by resorting to violence. A world where the parent is unwilling or incapable of providing the loving and disciplined framework that a child needs in order to thrive.

According to the Office for National Statistics, one in three or 3.8 million children live without their father and it was partly in response to these riots that the Telegraph newspaper reported that 'Children win legal right to see both parents after divorce' (2 February 2012).