Nearly a third of children in America are growing up without a dad.
According to a 2013 U.S. Census Bureau reports, 33 percent of children under the age of 18 live without their biological father.
According to the National Fatherhood Initiative, there is a “father factor” in nearly every social ill. The organization says children without fathers have higher rates of drug abuse, juvenile delinquency and generally do worse in school.
Jim Daly, president of the Focus on the Family, knows about not growing up with a father. His biological dad was an alcoholic and his stepfather abandoned him on the day of Jim’s mother’s funeral.
Daly spoke to Fox News’ Lauren Green about his early struggles. He explains how he dealt with not having a father in his new book, “The Good Dad.” Having a strong connection to God, he explains, helped him stay strong and not stray into bad habits.
“Core for me is my Christian faith,” Daly said. “It gave me the bedrock to get through those difficult times and process why did these men treat me so poorly and didn’t treat my mom right.”
He believes society hasn’t clearly set out the role of fathers in raising children.
“The culture rightly has done a good job over the last 30-40 years emphasizing the role of moms and women,” Daly said. “What we have forgotten is what is the role of a father and a husband … I think dads have floundered in that space and we don’t know what to do.”
Daly says fathers don’t need to be great, but should strive to be “good.”
He says the key to a positive childhood is for parents to love their spouses. “Your children see that model … they are looking for consistency, someone they can trust … when they see that in their mom and dad that’s a good building block for everything else they do in life.”
Daly has worked with President Obama on increasing awareness for fatherhood programs.
“I don’t agree with President Obama on many policies but for the president, any president, Republican or Democrat, to use that position to say dads need to be engaged in their families – if we as Christians can’t support that, we got to look at ourselves and say what is our motivation because that’s a good message,” said Daly.
Watch the full interview with Jim Daly above.
Chris Snyder is a producer for Fox News based in New York. Follow him on twitter: @ChrisSnyderFox.