Does a child need both parents? Dr. Richard Hoffman, Dr. Laura, college courses, and mainstream psychology in 2011 are pretty clear when it comes to answering that question: a boy needs a mother from ages 0-12, and a father from 13 on. A girl needs a dad from 0-12 and a mom from 13+.
Confused? Well, with divorce and separation being socially acceptable and seemingly fairly common in our modern liberal times, it is assumed that single parent households lack a father, mostly due to abandonment. It is assumed that no one takes over the father role at age 13, when puberty and peer pressure take in and a child needs a positive role model to be taught the ways of the world.
There is no question that a boy needs to be loved and nurtured by his mother as a kid. (Of course, all of these psychology statistics assume that the mother and father actually do their jobs). A girl needs a dad to get positive feedback from a man, since girls are preoccupied with socializing and physical image, more so that a boy that can just sit and play video games all day with no problems.
However once the kids hit (around 13) when they are East of Eden (puberty and peer pressure kick in- with temptations with sex, drugs, neglecting school work, clothes, being socially accepted by “cool kids”, getting the rebellious spirit against all forms of authority, having questions about traditions and religion, etc.) a teenager needs the guidance of the parent that can talk over the “adult” aspects of life.
A boy and dad can talk over ways to ask a girl out, talk to him about style, and the dad can show him what it is to be a responsible man. A mother and daughter can discuss periods, clothes, and dating. This is not to devalue single parents or relationships in which the reverse is true or that a child loves one parent more. The point is that teens have emotional requirements and have a bunch of questions that they are asking their friends at school or checking out on craigslist instead of talking it over with their parent. Again, if you are a guy, did you tell your mom when you kissed a girl for the first time? No, a teenage boy needs a dad to show him the ropes, and a teenage girl needs a mom to talk over the sensitive issues.
The most pivotal point in the development from a child to an adult are the rough teenage years when your child shuts him or herself out and values friends and social status over the love and authority of the parents.