Life Without Father When Dads Disappear Term Paper

Pages: 5 (1582 words)  ·  Style: MLA  ·  Bibliography Sources: 3  ·  File: .docx  ·  Topic: Children

Life without Father....When Dads Disappear

The question of the absent father raises a number of controversial and complex sociological as well as psychological questions. There is greater acceptance in modern society of the single-parent family and in some cases women are choosing to bring up their children without a father. Many psychologists see this issue in a negative light, while other commentators see the fatherless family as another evolution in the growth of modern society.

One of the most important issues in this debate is to what extent the absence of the father has a negative aspect on child development and growth. This question leads in turn to the central question of the father's place and role, as well as his responsibility within the family structure. This also brings into play various other issues and variables. One of the most significant is the way that the father is perceived in society and by the family. This is a relative aspect that is often very differently perceived in various culture and societies. It is also a role that is being questioned and which is changing in modern developed countries.

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Another important variable that has to be taken into account in the consideration of this topic is the reason or cause for the father's absence. There is a significant difference in terms of the impact on the family whether the father dies as is absent due to divorce or other reasons. This paper will therefore attempt to explore some of the effects and the repercussion of the fatherless family and the impact of the absence of the father on child development and growth

TOPIC: Term Paper on Life Without Father When Dads Disappear Assignment

There are many differing and often contradictory views about the impact of the absence of the father in a family. One view is that father's absence is one of the central causes of many social ills and problems as well as maladjusted and problematic child development. " as Kimmel (2000) states in summarizing the research on this topic: " Recent works such as David Blankenhorn Fatherless Amenca or David Popenoe Life without Father have credited absent fathers with causing myriad social problems, ranging from juvenile delinquency, crime, and violence to unemployment." (Kimmel 136)

On the other hand there are research studies which claim that there is no definitive correlation between the absence of the father and juvenile deviance and crime. "The National Academy of Sciences reports that the single best predictor of violent crime is not fatherlessness but 'personal and neighborhood income'." (Kimmel 136) the issue is further complicated by other factors that could affect child development, such as poverty. "And, it turns out, fatherlessness also varies with income; the higher the income bracket, the more likely the father is home -- which suggests that the crisis of fatherlessness is actually a crisis of poverty..."(Kimmel 136)

In order to understand the affects of fatherlessess one has to firstly consider the way that a particular society is structured and the role of the father in that society. This refers to the way that the father- figure is perceived and the responsibilities and expectations of that figure by the society and the family. For instance, if there is a greater emphasis on the traditional nuclear family structure, as has been and still is generally the case in most Western developed countries, then the loss or the absence of the father will mean that a vital and supportive element within the structure of the family is missing.

On the other hand if the society is based on a more extended family structure, the absence of the father may not have such a serious impact on the child. This is often the case in cultures with extended families, such as in parts of Africa, where the child has a large support base of uncles and other relatives to draw on.

However, in terms of modern societies the father figure has assumed a center role and his presence is both psychologically and sociologically important. This can be seen in studies such as, the effects absent fathers have on female development and college attendance, by Franklin B. Krohn and Zoe Bogan. This article explores the affect of the father's absence on their daughters' development and focuses on the impact that this has on later development and on college. The study finds that the absence of the father generally has a negative affect on development. Among the many findings in this study is the fact that the absence of the father figure has a negative effect on the ability to establish relationships with other males.

Girls who have little contact with their fathers, especially during adolescence had great difficulties forming lasting relationships with men. Sadly these females either shy away from males altogether or become sexually aggressive. Girls with involved fathers learn how to interact with males by using the father-daughter relationship as a model. They not only have a concerned male to converse with but also a feeling of acceptance, knowing they are loved by at least one male. Females without father figures often become desperate for male attention

Krohn, and Bogan)

There are many other findings that describe the potentially negative effect of the absence on the father and which do not only apply to girls. "Children who lose their fathers early may become more preoccupied with internal organization, family life and other close relationships, rather than with situations at large such as the classroom environment, etc." (Krohn, and Bogan) This may therefore have a negative impact on their social life and academic work. Furthermore there are studies that show that: adolescent girls raised in fatherless households are "...far more likely to engage in promiscuous sexual activity before marriage, to cohabit, to get pregnant out of wedlock and to have an abortion..." (Krohn, and Bogan)

Other studies reiterate these general findings: for example in studies of the African-American community, where there are a number of cases of single mothers and children growing up in fatherless families. "According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 48% of black children lived with a single mother in 2002. The outcome can be debilitating when these children grow into adults who feel hurt and rejected, leaving them with a void to fill." (Hamilton-Wright 90)

In this particular study an alarming finding was that the impact of fatherlessness was found to be " generational." This means that the value and role model of the father figure is lost. "There is an absence of role models of what being a good father is...We don't know how to be a good father; which sometimes leads us down a destructive path." (Hamilton-Wright 90)

Some researchers state that the main reason for the increase in fatherless families is the breakdown of the traditional family structure in modern society. This creates social as well as psychological problems and has been described as America's "most urgent social problem." (Krohn, and Bogan)

In contemporary society there has been a movement towards acceptance single - parent and usually female - run families.

It is true that more children of both sexes are being raised in single-parent homes, and that the "single parent" doing that child raising is more often than not a woman. Whereas just over one in ten (11%) children were being raised by unmarried mothers in 1970, nearly one-fourth (24%) are being raised that way as of 1996.

Kimmel 136)

In one sense this situation is a result of the breakdown of the social norms and the resultant decline in the roles and function of the father. With this breakdown there is, in some cases, no longer any motivation or incentive for men to be fathers in the traditional sense.

There are many reasons that could be put forward as to why the father leaves. These include possible factors such as the increased pressure of work and… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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