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A Father's Impact on Teen Boys

By Dosser Handron, Ph.D. ; Updated June 13, 2017

In 2009 and 1991, 23.6 and 21.2 percent of children respectively were living with a mother only, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. The unfavorably increasing number of children living without fathers can be associated to different factors such as fathers walking away due to financial struggles and increased number of teenage mothers. However, being a good father means being a provider, nurturer and friend to your children. A father’s presence can play a significant role in a teen boy’s life.

Reduced Criminal Involvement

The presence or absence of a father in a teen boy's life can influence his chances of involvement in crime. A close and positive relationship between fathers and teens reduces the risk of engagement in multiple or first-time risky behaviors, according to a summary report published on the Father Involvement Research Alliance. Also, a 2011 study by the University of Melbourne shows that teen boys are more prone to delinquency in the absence of a father figure in their lives.


A father can influence a teen boy’s values, attitudes and preferences. Additionally, a father provides a sense of security and helps boost a boy’s self-esteem through reassurance. Evidence also shows that a father’s involvement in teenage boys has a buffering effect and protects teenage boys from extreme victimization, according to a 2002 study appearing in the journal "Aggressive Behavior" that examined whether father involvement can protect against low levels of satisfaction with life. For example, a teen boy is more courageous towards bullies if he has a father that can confront them on his behalf.

Role Modeling

Fathers have a vital responsibility to teach their sons how to be responsible and strong men. In the absence of a loving and patient father, it is difficult for a teen boy to learn what it means to be a good man; one who values good morals, is hardworking and is willing to take responsibility of supporting his family. Also, teaching a boy how to be a man takes more than just reciting advice to him. It is a conscious process of connection, training and mentoring him through living the life in front of him, which is made possible in the presence of a father. For example, a teenage boy who grew up with a father who took him fishing and went camping with him is more likely to do the same with his son in the future. A teenage boy whose father provides consistently also picks up provision as a role in his family in the future.

Nurture Aspirations

One of the core differences that distinguishes a real man from the rest is his ability to pursue his dreams and aspirations, make good choices and have self control, values which boys can learn by watching their dads. Good fathering also makes a man feel good, strong and important, says Frank Pittman, M.D., writing for Psychology Today. In addition, fathers play a role in how teen boys treat failure and their level of self-satisfaction with their achievements. The 2002 study published in the journal "Aggressive Behavior” reports that low father involvement in teenage boys contributes significantly to low levels of self-satisfaction.

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