Absent fathers are increasingly becoming popular in America day by day and it’s almost becoming some kind of culture. The absence of a father affects the children so much in terms of their self-esteem and also when they are courting in their adult stage. These effects sometimes are so severe that they can even destroy the way the child perceives the importance of a man in the family. This essay discusses the impact of the father’s absence on the abandoned children and how the children struggle with the issues of self-esteem and intimacy and proposes a way on how to treat these single parent children.
Children development issues
Many children abandoned by their fathers undergo difficulties in their development. These difficulties mostly affect the child in terms of the way he/she views herself/himself with the rest of her friends. Lack of lasting emotional attachments because they do not recognize their feeling well and also, they will not be able to express their feelings well to their fellow partners. This mostly affects the male child where the child is forced to turn their attention away and ask himself so many questions on the ways of resolving this mystery of absent fathers. The reasons for their father’s disappearance will be the most important because it will dictate how the child is going to react to it. (Bradshaw, Casol, Christine, and Julie 1999).
Economic providers of the families
In the middle of the 19th century, most fathers increasingly went out of their homes due to economical reasons. Most men spent very little time with their children because they were viewed as the main economic providers to the family. (Griswold, 1993). Their role significantly deteriorated from being the parents of their family to primarily being the economic providers. Their roles as concerns to family issues shifted from being active parents to predominantly being always absent. (Pleck, 1987). The fathers then lost their roles to parent their children and on the other hand, the children lost the opportunity of being parented by their fathers. The ideology of gender inequality in many parts of the world has resulted in this problem of mother parenting. This is so because fathers are viewed as the economic providers of the families as opposed to women.
The absence of fathers in families can occur in a variety of ways. Some might be physically and others emotional. Most of the reasons why fathers sometimes are absent in their families are due to the impact of society on the affected families. (Mott, 1999) cited that some of the reasons that force men out of their families are majorly historical and economic. The economic conditions might force fathers to move out of their homes for a very long time. Some even travel very far from their families. This results in the separation of families from their fathers. The increase of divorce cases and also the prevalence of single parenting, have also contributed to the increase in absent fathers. This is so because most fathers do not want to involve themselves with the children after divorce. The department of commerce (1994) in the US reported that there was an increase in mother-headed families from 4.3 million in 1960 to 12 million in 1983. The number of children who were living without their fathers increased by 18.8% (Blanken horn, 1995). Other fathers just leave the family without entirely explaining the reasons for their departure. The fathers of this kind maintain secrecy and do not stay in contact with their children. Therefore, the children feel that their fathers are absent. The mother is therefore forced to explain to the children the mystery of the absent father. Some fathers are absent due to their lack of communication or contact with their families. The lack of communication might send a bad image to the children and might instill the same behavior in them. (Balcom,1998).
Fathers can abandon their children due to various reasons. These reasons might be due to death, divorce, working very far, military operation, chronic or mental illness. Depending on the cause of his absence, society defines some as respectful and honorable and others as disgraceful. The combination of any one of these occurrences is going to affect the effect of the children depending on its cause.
Father’s absence can influence the ability of children to develop and to associate themselves with the rest of the children. Male children are mostly affected in terms of forming a lasting relationship with their fellow partners. Men who were brought up mainly by their mothers usually experience difficulties in starting an intimate relationship and sustaining it. This is because they lack a role model who can direct them on dealing with issues concerning relationships.
Abandoned children usually have a strong and intense feeling due to the absence of their father. This feeling involves emotional reaction because they do not know the whereabouts of their father. These emotions will make the children feel that there is no importance of a father in their lives. Until an answer is given to the children, the absence of their father will be an issue that will always be disturbing them. Another form of emotional effect is that children will always create a fantasy about the image of how their father might look like. these fantasies might be based on the small information they have heard concerning their absent fathers.
The abandoned children can feel that their worth is not important. This sense of worthiness might disturb them throughout their lives. This is because the notion that they were abandoned by their father disturbs them. The reason why the father left causes the children to question their value in that relationship. The children might acquire the feeling of instability in their view of relationship which might negatively influence their future relationship.
Children who are victims of abandonment experiences the feeling of stigmatization and shame in society. This might prohibit children from communicating clearly or when socializing with the rest of society. This might lead children from these families to feel that they are inferior as compared to the rest. Stigmatization may occur when the abandoned children fail to clearly state the whereabouts of their father. This affects them mostly when they are socializing with their friends.
Children who were abandoned by their fathers especially the male face future relationship difficulties when dealing with issues related to their children and their partners. These children will solve issues and behave following the way they were brought up without a father. For example, a man brought up in this kind of family might forego his responsibilities in a relationship when he is most needed. Issues like pregnancy, engagement, wedding, and childbirth are critical and require 100% commitment of a man. Men brought up by their mothers are likely to abandon such because they have no experience on how to solve such.
An adult male who was abandoned by their fathers faces a hurdle when starting their premarital relationship. The development of the relationship might be faced with lots of challenges due to a lack of problem-solving skills. Also, the children who were brought up from absent father families will never give freedom to their children. This is because they don’t want their children to mature in a lonely environment, as they were themselves.
A way has to be developed on the treatment of these issues to avoid the mystery and the stigma faced by abandoned children. Two ways are possible; the first is by re-uniting willing fathers with their children and the second is treating children whose fathers will never come back.
Treatment of those fathers who are willing to come back mainly involves taking both the man and the wife for therapy where they might get help on the possible ways of reuniting. The abandoned child should be helped by guiding him to overcome the grieve of his/her lost father.
The consequences of the Absence of fathers in a relationship reveal themselves when the children brought up from this relationship form, they’re on families. The children usually face difficulties in the family upkeep and when solving critical issues.
Balcom, Dennis A. “Absent Fathers: Effect on Abandoned sons”. The Journal of men’s studies. Vol. 6. 1998.
Bradshaw, Jonathan, Casol Stimson, Christine Skinner, and Julie Williams. Absent Fathers. London: Routledge, 1999.