Term Paper: Effects and Results of Children Living or Coming From Fatherless Homes

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¶ … Children/Fatherless Homes

Parenting: The Effects and Results of Children

Homes without a Father Present

The purpose of this paper is to research a large representative group of statistics and facts in relation to children who grow up in fatherless homes. Further examined will be the variables expressed in gender, race, economic status and geographical location and how these factors influence the situation of the child at home with no father present. Further this work will touch on every factor that is identified during the course of the research that is an issue or element in the life of a child from a home with no father present.

The nature and demographics of divorce have changed to such an extent over the past few decades that the existence of children in fatherless homes has become an epidemic of mass proportions affecting almost half of the children in the United States. The longitudinal effects of divorce have become a consideration among parents, researcher, educators and children alike in the attempt to address all the variables incurred as factors due to divorce rates. Children growing up in single parent homes was only at the rate of 10% in the decade of the 1960's compared to 60% today due to the increase in the divorce rate, the acceptance of unwed mothers and the growing acceptance of cohabitation.

I. Emotional Transitions:

When parents divorce a "series of transition s or stages for both adults and children occur and are very similar to the stages Elisabeth Kubler-Ross has given" description of in relation to patients facing terminal illnesses which are:

Denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance."

Furthermore children experience the stages of coping much differently than do adults. Children are known to go through a stage of fantasizing that the parents will reunite. After this stage of denial comes the anger with accompanied acting out. The next stage is the stage of bargaining wherein the children believe that if they can....get better grades or quit fussing with their brother or sister that it will be okay and their Father will come home. Then the final stage or that of the depression states is characterized by all invasive sadness that in effect permeates the entire life of the child. Acceptance can only come when the child has distanced themselves, or time has distanced them in order for them to see that it was for the absolute best that the parents divorced.

Studies further show that the following elements exist in female children whose parents had divorced were treated most often for the three listed occurring problems:

Intensified separation anxiety

Denial and avoidance of feelings associated with loss of father.

Identification with the lost object

Object hunger for males

In a study performed by Kalter and Rember [Children's Psychiatric Hospital, Univ. Of Michigan] in a sample of 144 children and adolescents whose parents had divorced found the following problems:

63%Psychological problems (anxiety, sadness, pronounced moodiness phobias, and depression)

56% Poor or lower grades than ability

43% Aggression toward parents

II. Financial Statistics - Economic Status:

According to studies one in five families of single-female households (19.5%) reported below poverty level income over the 24-month period between 1991 and 1992. Children under 18 were inclusive of 8.5% that were chronically poor. In fact 48% of the poor in the U.S. are children. More than 1/2 of all periods of poverty for these households lasted over 4.3 months. The U.S. Conference of Mayor's survey of homelessness in 27 cities resulting in the findings that children under the age of 18 are those which account for 25.3% of the urban homeless population. (U.S. Conference of Mayors, 2001)on a national level approximately 39$ of the homeless populations were over 30 and under 50 years of age.

III. Educational Data on Fatherless Homes:

It cannot be said that Fathers are not necessary in light of the following facts which states that children in Fatherless homes are:

Three times more likely to fail in school

Five times more likely to be poor

Two to three (2-3) times more likely to experience emotional or behavioral problems requiring psychiatric treatment.

Three times more likely to commit suicide.

72% of adolescent murderers grew up without fathers

Two times more likely that a young male will engage in criminal activity.

IV. Economic Status:

In 2002 three out of five children live with their married, biological or adoptive parents and 8% live with married stepparents. Nearly one in five live with a single mother and 6% live with cohabiting couples. One in twenty-five lives with neither parents and the remaining 3% live in single-father or other complex households. Between the years 1997-2002 there is a significant decrease in the children who live in single-mother households with increases noted in living with cohabiting parents. Children living in single-mother households fell by 2.4 percentage points from 21.5 to 19.2 while those who lived with their cohabiting biological/adoptive parents were seen to rise by 0.9% from 2.0 to 2.9%.

Poverty rates are significantly lower for children living in homes with both parents and the parents are married. In 2002 15.1% of all children were poor and the poverty rate for children in married parent homes is only 7.9%. The poverty rate for children living with cohabiting parents is 26.2% and the poverty rate for children in single mother families is 37.6% of families.

V. Societal Factors - Preconceived Notions of Teachers and the differential treatment of the child from the home with no father present.

In the study entitled "Involving Non-Resident Fathers in Children's Learning" Donna e. Shalala et al., U.S. department of Health and Human Services, September 2000 found that there is a growing acknowledgement nation wide of the importance of the father being actively involved in a child's learning. Since more than half of children in the U.S. live in a fatherless home at least at some point, discovering new ways to "engage fathers as active participants in their children's lives both financially and emotionally" is crucial.

By age 18, it is estimated that more than half of the children in the United States will spend part of their childhood in a single-parent home (Cherlin, 1992), usually away from their father (Nord, Brimhall, & West, 1997). For a variety of reasons, contact with the non-custodial father may lessen over time or become non-existent (Furstenberg et al.; Furstenberg & Nord; Seltzer & Bianchi as cited in Nord & Zill, 1996b, p, a-10), leaving children without one of their most important resources for future success their fathers. Studies have been conducted in relation to the father's parenting style and the resulting social competence in children. Fathers with authoritarian styles of parents have children that display more external behavior. (Hart, DeWolf, Wozniak, and Burts, 1992)

Other studies have shown that parents play a vital role in the facilitation of peer contacts during the early years of childhood. (Hart, Olsen, Robinson, and Mandleco, 1997) With no significant difference across race, ethnicity or social class fathers engage in play with their children more total time than do mothers. (Hossain et al. 1994) the fact that fathers engage in more physical rough and tumble play suggest that conversational factors in the parent/child communication have documented differences in communications of fathers and mothers with their children. Fathers engage the children in conversation through play whereby the children are able to talk about their problems and give their opinion on issues. (Park 1996) the play the Father engages the child is plays a vital role in facilitation the school environment of the child. Studies show that Father's have significant effect on children' intellectual development. (Yarrow et al., 1984)

According to one study: "Nearly 17 million American children go to bed every night in fatherless homes. These children - nearly 24% of all U.S. children are at higher risk of growing up poor or becoming unwed parents, gang, members, school drop-outs or victims of suicide just because their fathers are not in their lives." During the years between 1997 and 2002 an improvement was seen in the well-being of children in several aspects. Poverty rates fell by 4.8% and children living with single mothers realized a 10.8% drop in the poverty percentages.

Children living with single mothers in the lower-income bracket experience poverty at the rate of 69.2% which is a good deal higher than the rate for lower-income children he poverty rate for lower-income children in all other divisions. The share of lower-income children in poverty dropped 19.1 percentage points between 1997 and 2002. Specifically, those lower-income children living with cohabiting parents saw significant declines. The decline in the poverty rate was greatest among those children living in single-mother households. Further stated in the report is as follows:

Food insecurity rates are also much higher for children in the bottom income quartile than for all children (57.1 vs. 29.3%).

Unlike the case for poverty rates, when we look at lower-income children, we find that there is little difference in food security between children living with single-mothers… [END OF PREVIEW]

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