The Role of a Father in Family Relations

Published: 2021-09-13 18:05:09
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More children are growing up in single-parent home than two-parent homes with most single-parent homes being headed by the mother. It has become a new normal observing the mother supporting her children financially, emotionally, spiritually, and physically. Reasons why a father may not be active in the life of their children are: (1) the couple did not get married, (2) the father passed away, (3) divorce or separation, or the father choose not to be in the life of his children. This is a result in the children being fatherless and nonexistent in their life. When a father makes the decision to actively choose to be in the life of their child, a sense of protection, security, and stability becomes a solid foundation for the child. Men who are not able to provide for their children tend to be of low-income/poverty socioeconomic status.
With culture, society, and traditions constantly changing the role of a father and what fatherhood has evolved into more than being the breadwinner. According to Contreas, Greil, McQuillian, Shreffler, and Tichenor, a father who has made a commitment to their children’s health, security, and success will affect the kind of person the children will grow into (2011). The idea of fatherhood and its involvement has become destitute by most men and certainly active parenting plays no factor to their conceptualized manhood (Ransaw, 2014).In attempts to fulfilling the role as the main provider in the household, fathers have endeavored challenges in breaking the barrier between the roles of paternal involvement and economically sustaining a family (Ransaw, 2014). Fathers are encouraged to be responsible and involved through The Responsible Fatherhood and Healthy Families Act. In the household, a father help alleviates the financial responsibility and influences the child to explore beyond their surroundings is encouraged (DelPriore, Hill, & Proffitt-Leyva, 2016), and also provides authoritarian parenting skills (Mullis, 2011). Relationships between African American men and their children have little social science literature reflecting their dynamic however, in the few literary examples, African American fathers have been portrayed as hyper-masculine, uninvolved, and financially irresponsible (Ransaw, 2014). Being a husband is prioritized over being a father for many middle-class African American men and unconventional perceptions of fatherhood may have been overlooked in prior research regarding African American fatherhood (Ransaw, 2014).Negative stereotypes, inaccurately portrayed in the media, regarding Black males and Black fathers depict them as inadequate as parents, involved with criminal activity, and as contributors of the detriment through poor parenting. Mullis (2011) found that the values of respecting authority figures, kindness, consideration, and an even-temper were emphasized by African American fathers. As indicated in the aforementioned, the roles of being the provider, delegator, child socializer, and nurturer are shared between African American fathers and their wives. Childrearing is constituted by the African American father and his spouse, keeping in mind the influences of their extended family members. peers, occupation, and religion. Necessary resources that promote the involvement of African American fathers are monetary and environmental, whether environment be public and/or private
Father-child relationship
The social advantage is apparent amongst children and their engaged fathers. Fewer behavioral problems were displayed during early school years. The relationship between father and child is one of the most uniquely influential bond in a child’s life; this relationship not only serves as a template for a child’s development, but it also serves as the foundation of a child’s values and wellbeing (East, Jackson, & O’Brien, 2006). More than half of African American children are being raised by the single-mother (Bustamante, Irby, Henrikson, & Wilson, 2016; Cartwright & Henrikson, 2012; Hamer, 1997; Wineburgh, 2000) leaving the house weighted on their shoulders; the absences of a father does not go unfelt.
Castillo, Welch, and Sarver (2013) state that a lack of education and stable work history make fathers less employable and therefore more likely to be unemployed. More absentee African American fathers have been produced by high criminal accusation, conviction, and imprisonment rates that are sevenfold when in comparison to White males between the ages of 20 and 39, and significantly higher when in comparison to other ethnicities. This and other socioeconomic conditions indicate that African American men are more susceptible to temporary unemployment. Employmented acts as a barrier to involved parenting because it interferes with the amount of time a father has to spend with his children such as: work schedules, job requires them to be away from home a long period of time and hard physical labor (Castillo, Welch, & Sarver, 2013). Low income fathers view the ability to support their children financially as a defining feature of being a father and will sometimes abandon a parenting role entirely if they cannot provide financially, therefore, the paternal bond with child between father and children usually does not grow stronger over time. (Castillo, Welch, & Sarver, 2013; Nielsen, 2006)
Philosophers have coined a term “father hungry” to explain the desire and passion within children that goes unfulfilled (Wineburgh, 2000; Sieber, 2008). Satisfactions and explored fantasies involving the relationship of a father are due from paternal absence. The child often unconsciously enacts his/her psychic experience with the father substitute, perhaps behaving in provocative and angry ways and thus unknowingly ensuring that the new man responds in a way not dissimilar to the father (Wineburgh, 2000). Several factors are crucial to an understanding of the effects of father absences on children: developmental stage of the child at the time of the loss; reason for the father’s absence; state of the child’s relationship of the father prior to the loss; mother’s relation to the loss; and the environment provided for the child after the loss. The effect of the missing father takes a toll on children’s conduct. Cartwright and Henrikson (2012) and Wineburgh (2000) agree most individuals who are “criminals, murderers, rapist, teenage pregnancy, and academic decline stem from fatherless homes” (p. 30 & 256).
Mackey and Coney (2000) results found that in more boys than girls, who do not socialize with their father is relatively more likely to exhibit violent behavior because he has low self-inhibition and his consciences is less potent. Instead, Porter and King (2014) reports father who have been incarcerated and delinquency is due to a child’s exposure to paternal criminality, rather than paternal incarceration. On a positive note, an elimination of secrets, the quality of the child’s relationship with the remaining parent, and coping capacities were factor of crucial success of the child (Wineburgh, 2000). Fatherless children suffer from low self-esteem compared to children who grew up in a two-parent household, and will engage in sexual activity at earlier ages. Wineburgh (2000) that there is a significant connection between low self-esteem and depression in child who experiences disappointment with the father’s infrequent or erratic visiting. In terms of self-identity, boys, in particular, ask themselves “Who am I?” in search of their identity. Without the paternal guidance or involvement, most African American single-mothers take on dual role: father and mother.
Bustamante, Henriksen, Irby, and Wilson (2016) found participants spoke about their desire to assist their mother financially and expressed their appreciation for their mother’s hard work and efforts to raise them during their younger years. In addition, mothers also help them engage with the community and created opportunities for them to become involved in activities such as after-school programs, sports and summer enrichment programs. Specifically in boys, Langa (2010) research reflutes by finding that participant’s mother “played a significant role in helping them to acquire a positive sense of self, fill the void of the absent father in their adolescents, and encourage healthy versions of masculinity which attributed their positive characters. Children need to develop feelings of autonomy, connectedness, and acceptance and that parental practices or social experiences which interfere with the child’s ability to achieve these can lead to unhealthy belief systems (Harris, Jones, & Leung, 2006).
Father-daughter relationship
When parents divorce or when they are unhappily married, the father-daughter relationship is more easily damaged than the father-son relationship, because mothers and daughter confide more in each other therefore turning against their father (Nielsen, 2006). Fathers generally have as much or more impact than mothers on many aspects of their daughter’s lives. The father has the greater impact on the daughters’ ability to trust, enjoy, and relate well to the males in her life, and daughters are usually more self-confident, more self-reliant, and more successful in school and in their careers than poorly fathered daughters (Nielsen, 2006). During adolescence the mother-daughter relationship is especially complex and emotionally charged. For females, healthy adolescent development is defined by deepening emotional ties to the family (Bountress, Cooke, Fals-Stewart, French, Kelly, Schroeder, and Steer, 2008). Young women whose parents meet criteria for alcohol misuse reported more negative affect with their relationship with their fathers. In addition, women who met CAST criteria for ACOA reported their fathers as less supportive (Bountress, et al., 2008).
Specifically, the absence of a biologically related father has been shown to accelerate reproductive development (Deardorff, Ekwaru, Ellis, Greenspan, Hiatt, Kushi, Landaverde, and Mirabedi 2011). Researcher extended “this theory” to familial conditions and sexual maturation. These researchers posited that, during human evolutionary history, when girls encountered familial conditions that were unfavorable for survival (insecure and unsupportive family relationships), it was adaptive to become reproductively mature earlier (Deardorff, et al., 2011). Father absence predicts earlier maturation. Girls in father-absence home are about as twice as likely to experience menarche before 12 years of age (Deardorff, et al., 2011). Ecological stress causes low-quality parental care, which predicts a father reproductive strategy in offspring (Deardorff, et al., 2011). A related prospective study examining family adversity, but no father absence, found associations with body mass index (BMI) and pubertal timing (Deardorff, et al., 2011).
A possible mechanism is that father absence signals other stressors in the home that influence BMI and subsequently affect puberty. Given that fathers absence is not considered modifiable, the study of BMI may yield one potential intervention target (Deardorff, et al., 2011). Father absence was highest among African Americans and lowest among non-Hispanic whites. Of the 96 African American girls, father’s absence was reported by 42 (44%) compared with 11 (6%) of 187 white girls (Deardorff, et al., 2011). The average rate of pubic hair onset among African Americans was about 27 in 100 girls per year, compared with about eight in 100 per year for non-African Americans (Deardorff, et al., 2011).Father Absence predicted earlier onset of breast development in higher-income families but not lower-income families (Deardorff, et al., 2011). Father absence in higher-income, but not lower-income families resulted in girls exhibiting earlier pubertal onset than those from father-present homes (Deardorff, et al., 2011). Girls from higher-income families were at greater risk for earlier maturation. Father absence only in higher-income group was predictive of early breast development (Deardorff, et al., 2011).
Father absence predicted earlier pubic hair onset for only African American girls belonging to higher-income families; these girls are at greater risk for early menarche compared with their lower income counterparts (Deardorff, et al., 2011). Pubarche would presumably be accelerated in response to cortisol release (a measure of stress response) given the development biology of pubic hair maturation, which is advanced by sex hormones from the adrenal gland often in conjunction with cortisol. Differential exposure to stressors experienced by African American girls growing up in higher-income families (Deardorff, et al., 2011). Father-daughter relationship plays a significant role in eating disorder development and maintenance (Harris, Jones, & Leung, 2006). Bulimic women tend to report a rejecting, withdrawn or passive father (Harris, Jones, & Leung, 2006). Both clinical and non-clinical bulimic women have been found to describe their relationship with their father as characterized by insufficient care and high overprotection, and fathers have been described as showing less affection and more control towards their bulimic daughter than towards their siblings (Harris, Jones, & Leung, 2006).
The investigation of such maladaptive beliefs in eating disorders have shown that underlying maladaptive core beliefs are associated both with eating disorders symptomatology and act as mediators in the link between parental relationships and eating psychopathology (Harris, Jones, & Leung, 2006). Dysfunctional family interactions represent a risk factor in eating disorder aetiology (Harris, Jones, & Leung, 2006). Paternal rejection was significant associated with drive for thinness and body dissatisfaction, bulimia, and parental protection was associated with drive for thinness (Harris, Jones, & Leung, 2006).Vulnerability to harm beliefs were found to mediate the relationship between paternal protection and drive for thinness beliefs (Harris, Jones, & Leung, 2006). These results are compatible with a model whereby perceptions of one’s father as rejecting and overprotective, lead to higher levels of specific dysfunctional beliefs and these underlying beliefs have significant influence on the development of eating disorder symptomatology (Harris, Jones, & Leung, 2006).
Fears of abandonment, feelings of being fundamentally, flawed or inferior and beliefs of vulnerability to harm have been found to be important in eating disorders. Abandonment fears have been linked to binge eating (Harris, Jones, & Leung, 2006). High levels of abandonment core beliefs distinguished women with bulimia nervosa from women with binge eating disorder and eating-disordered women tend to show higher levels of harm avoidance and lower novelty seeking than do normal control women (Harris, Jones, & Leung, 2006). A combination of abandonment and defectiveness/shame beliefs mediated the relationship between paternal rejection and eating symptomatology more significantly than either of he two beliefs taken individually (Harris, Jones, & Leung, 2006).Paternal rejection can lead to the development of a combination of fear that significant others will not be able to continue providing emotional support and to underlying feelings of shame and inferiority (Harris, Jones, & Leung, 2006).

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