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John W. Travis, M.D. & Regina Sara Ryan
  Home  > Helping Professionals  > Presentation 3: Why Men Leave: The Epidemic of Disappearing Dads

Presentation 3: Why Men Leave: The Epidemic of Disappearing Dads

An ounce of prevention =  1.6703 tons of cure.

Over half the children in America are growing up without their biological father.


We are in the midst of an epidemic of fathers leaving their families shortly after the birth of a child. While many men leave physically, others leave emotionally through workaholism, depression, substance mis-use, aggression, and/or violence. Many of these men enthusiastically looked forward to the birth of their child and are confused, even frightened, by their feelings and behavior.

To unravel this puzzle, Dr Travis will share his research, including insights gleaned from intimate conversations with hundreds men and women, and his personal experiences as a father. By revealing the root causes of this epidemic, he offers strategies for counteracting what he calls Male Postpartum Rejection Syndrome (MPAS).

To curb this epidemic it is the responsibility of each one of us to help create a culture that supports parents in raising the next generation - the human capital essential to the future wellbeing of our world.


As a result of this presentation participants will be able to:

  • Recognize the magnitude of the epidemic of men leaving and its impact on society;
  • Understand the underlying cause - Male Postpartum Rejection Syndrome;
  • Name five specific actions that foster the optimal connection of fathers to infants and families;
  • Identify six ways to reduce the risk of men leaving their families.


I. The hidden epidemic:
  • Case studies portraying the phenomenon of men leaving
  • Statistics identifying the magnitude of father-disconnection
  • Cost to children, families, workplaces, and society.
II. Dynamics of Postpartum Male Abandonment Syndrome (MPAS)
  • The importance of connection, bonding, and attachment in brain development
  • Historic impact of a village culture on children and families
  • Evolution and consequences of industrialization
  • Scientific basis of MPAS - a vicious cycle that begins in childhood
III. Fatherhood redefined
  • The role of fathers as portrayed by contemporary media
  • Creating a new paradigm of father-connection
  • Parenting redefined
  • The need for mother to support fathers in staying connected
IV. Breaking the cycle - parenting as a path to connection and healing
  • Passing of unresolved childhood wounds from generation to generation
  • Fatherhood opens old wounds and can foster healing
  • Tools to heal or manage our childhood wounds
  • Supporting connection between couples and their children
  • A Blueprint for optimal human development - connection parenting
V. Questions, comments, and small group exercises.



Jed Diamond, The Irritable Male Syndrome, Rodale Press, 2004
Alice Miller, For Your Own Good - Hidden cruelty in Child-rearing and the Roots of Violence, Noonday Press, 1990
John W. Travis, Meryn Callander, Why Men Leave, manuscript in process. See

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