In the past, the presence of the fatherand the mother in a family was the crucial factor determining itssuccess. However, today, things have changed and the family structureof modern times does not quite resemble the one which was popularduring the previous century.
Today, more and more people end theirmarriages with divorces, living and raising their childrenseparately, out of the wedlock. Relationships between men and womenhave changed into less serious and definite ones, not lasting forlong periods of time.
However, we are left to wonder if sucha lifestyle has influenced the lives of children or not. Surely, thefather factor is crucial in the life of every child, regardless ofmany who beg to differ. The absence of the father leaves a hole inthe personality of the child, often leading to problems later on.
Obligations of a Father
Basically, a man becomes a father oncehis first child is born. When this happens, the man turns into afather and the process cannot be reversed or annulled. Surely, theman may have other children later and his responsibilities may changeduring the course of his fatherhood. Regardless, the status of thefather prevails in his life.
One thing is for sure, the absence ofthe father figure in a family can lead to numerous emotional andbehavioral problems, affecting both the child and the mother.Nowadays, about 24 million children live in households without afather figure.
Moreover, statistically, once thefather is missing from a family, it is five times more likely tobecome poor. In fact, 38.4% of all children who live only with theirmothers are poor, according to a research from 2002. Also, a childwhose father does not live with him/her is 54% more likely to be poorthan a child who has both the father and the mother living under thesame roof.
Additionally, unmarried mothers have1.8% greater chances of losing their babies than married women. Related to this, unmarried women have smaller chances of obtainingprenatal care and greater chances of giving birth to a low-weightbaby, when compared to married mothers.
Interestingly enough, many fathers whoattended breastfeeding classes motivated their female partners tostart breastfeeding their children. On the other hand, 23% ofunmarried mothers smoked during their pregnancy.
The list of hardships related to livingwithout a father does not end here. Namely, children living only withtheir mothers are more likely to get incarcerated during their livesthan those growing up in families with both parents. According to aresearch carried out by the Department of Justice in 2002, 39% of alljail inmates grew up in mother-only households.
Single mothers are more prone toaddictions, depression, anxiety and frustrations, mainly caused bythe financial pressures related to parenting and providing everything for theirchildren on their own. A study encompassing 2,921 women discoveredthat single mothers have 50% greater chances of suffering fromdepression than married mothers. Also, children toddlers who grow upin single-parent families are more likely to fall, get burnt orsuffer from some other kinds of accidents.
All in all, families with both parentsare more likely to function better than single-parent families. Apartfrom distributing parental roles equally and organizing their privatelife better, married couples can cooperate and rely on each other,using their emotional, social and personal bond for dealing withcountless problems which may appear. In such a family, children arebound to have a better life than those who are missing a parent forvarious reasons.
Yet, we should not neglect the factthat there are always exceptions; some single-parent families manageto overcome their difficulties and children from such families growup to be successful adults and excellent parents.
Fatherhood for Fathers
Ideally, fathers are supposed to takecare of the childbearing roles, activities and duties, along with allother requirements of this state of affairs. Note that a father canbe both the person who is biologically and non-biologically relatedto the child. Thus, the father figure is defined by both the man in arelationship with the mother and the mother herself. Yet, we mostcommonly understand and perceive fatherhood through a maleperspective.
Thus, the meaning of fatherhood isgreatly based on the attitude and on the standpoint. Namely, somemale individuals may believe that they are providing their childrenwith all the material, social, emotional and interpersonal supportnecessary while, in this eyes of the public, this is not quite so.The criteria is different and there are some global roles offatherhood which are most commonly taken into consideration whenfather figures are described and defined.
To sum up, the father figure issomething relative, but at the same time socially defined. Having achild does not make you a father in all the functions of this notion.Rather, there is a whole plethora of social, emotional, interpersonaland legal requirements you have to fulfill in order to become anideal male member of your family.