A new report by Charity Addaction shows the fatherless children are more angry, less confident and suffer from low self-esteem, and seek escape in drink and drugs and lash out with anti-social behaviour, writes Tom Newton Dunn at the Sun.
Report author Dr. Martin Glynn said:
"Our evidence suggests not having a dad is deeply damaging to a young person."
The report seems to put the political cat among the pigeons and will be a catalyst that will reignite the heated Coalition Government split on how far the tax system should reward families who stay together.
But Anthony, an 18 year old who is currently being treated by Addaction and grew up without a father, echoes the report's findings. He said:
"When you don't have the sort of discipline and love that a father gives, you look for others to give you that. I started hanging round with people who had no ambition so they used to smoke. I used to smoke and do all sorts of things. I kind of lost myself."
A poll for the report shows fatherless young people think they are more likely to run into trouble. Three-quarters fear turning to crime, and seven out of ten say they may take drugs.
"Not having a father means I don't trust people and don't get close to them. I don't think it holds me back but I push friendships away," said Anthony.
The report may also spark controversy within the same-sex parenting community.
The report is based on interviews with youths aged from 16 to 25 being helped at Addaction's centres in Liverpool, London and Derby.
Interestingly, the charity found projects run by respected local people are more likely to work than celebrity-backed ideas.