Keywords: Father, upbringing, biological father, absent father, protector, role model, attachment.
The Father in Child Upbringing. Who is a father? The roles of the father and the effects in a child’s life? What are the negative consequences of an emotionally absent father?
The roles of the father and the mother is quite important in the upbringing of the child. Research has documented the paramount importance of mothers, but the role of the father is also quite important.
But unfortunately, the society has ascribed the breadwinner role to the father and caregiver role to the mother. So mothers spend more time getting involved with the child, than the father. Thus the need for this topic, the father in child upbringing.
Who is a father?
A child’s father is the male gender parent. A father figure may not always be the child’s biological father. So, there are different types of fathers, but only a few will be written about here.
A biological father.
This is the male genetic contributor to the making of the child. This means that it is his sperm that was used for the creation of the child.
He is the biological father of a child, but who cannot take care of the child. Most often, the child is taken away from him.
An adoptive father.
This is a man who became a father to the child via legal adoption.
A foster father.
He is neither a biological father nor an adoptive father. The foster father provides temporary care for the child.
This is a man who is either married or not to the mother of the child. And he decides to take responsibilities for the child.
A step father.
He is a man who is married to a woman who has a child from her previous relationship. But he doesn’t have a legal parenting responsibility towards the child, unless he seeks for it.
This is a male who takes up responsibilities of caring for a child or a younger person to him. In this process, there exists a parental bonding between the two people.
An absent father.
He is a father who does not spend or will not spend time with his child. This is a willful act and he can be in the family or outside the family.
A legal father.
This is the husband to the child’s mother. He is also the man who adopts the child, or the man to whom the court declares as the child’s father.
The roles of the father and the effects in a child’s life?
Being a father is not a joke. Any man can be a father, but not every man can parent in the right sense of the word. Being a father is not just about the financial involvement, it is more than that. It requires being present, being emotionally involved and supporting the child socially.
Even though the mother figure in the family is very important, the contribution from the father figure is necessary. Research has proved that a child raised by loving parents, grow to become emotionally intelligent, confident, social, happy and successful.
A father should start getting involved with the child while the baby is still in the womb. This is done by the father increasing his love and affection towards his pregnant wife. If the pregnant wife is happy, it translates to the baby in the womb developing positively. And this positivity includes the baby’s developing brain.
Then when the child is born and through the bonding and attachment processes, the father should be actively involved. The new born can attach to both parents at the same time, if the father makes himself available.
The father as a protector:
A child should have a father who is present and involved in his or her life, physically, emotionally, spiritually, etc. When this happens the child will grow up seeing the father as a protector and a sure security.
So the child moves out into the world confidentially and ready to explore unknown grounds. The child grows up having resilience to stress, fear and frustration and can confidentially handle pressure, including peer pressure.
Instilling proper behavior:
It is the duty of the father to teach the child proper behaviours. This can be done through his parenting and disciplinary styles as well as playful moments. By instilling proper behaviours, the child will grow up imbibing good family and society values and conducts. These children are less likely to have impulse control problems.
The father as a role model:
Every good father should be a role model to his child. Children watch parents very closely and imitate their behaviours. They learn more from what the parents do than what they say.
With this, the son will imitate the father and the daughter will look for the father’s characteristics in love relationships.
In a home where there is peace and there is mutual love between husband and wife, the children learn. If the father is violent, the children will learn also and take it to their respective families. When a father provides for his family financially, the son learns his future role. Besides, financial provision for the family will help in the physical brain health of the children.
Children with supportive fathers, have good self-esteem and are confident with themselves and better able to resist peer pressure.
The role of the father in child’s education :
When fathers involve themselves in their children’s academic, the children do well in school. Studies have found that when fathers directly involve themselves with their children’s schooling, it translates to positive effects. Such children will end up doing well in mathematics, reading and the eagerness to learning. But the total absence of a father figure in a child’s life may translate to poor academic achievements.
A father’s positive involvement in his child, also increases the child’s emotional intelligence and problem solving skills. This is more probable if the father was involved in the child from birth to the age of 1 year.
Fathers are the ones that usually train the child in learning skills such also. These skills include riding a bicycle, playing ball, swimming and repair thing around the house. So these children look forward to earning the fathers’ praise. And while at this, they learn the art of hard work.
The father’s positive involvement with his child also enable’s the child to be more curious and explorative. Research documents that children with positive fatherly involvement are less likely to drop out of school or indulge in crime.
Father as a friend:
In as much as the role of the father entails instilling discipline, there should be boundaries. And the father should also be a friend to his child. When children have fathers whom they can easily confide in, they are less likely to stray or form bad habits. They are also less likely to go into depression.
Fathers are good in playing with children, including rough plays. This helps to attach the children to their fathers.
What are the negative consequences of an emotionally absent father?
An emotionally absent father is one that is physically present in the family, but emotionally uninvolved with the child. Such a father does not engage the child’s physical live and he is not concerned about the child’s emotional life. He is also not concerned about the child’s academic life. They deny their children affection, praise, etc. This means that the father is not involved in child upbringing.
Such fathers prefer material things, other people and even their jobs, over their own children. These fathers lack emotional maturity.
The some negative consequences on the child with an absent father:
Low self esteem –
Children from such a home will end up having low self-esteem which can predispose them self destructive behaviours. These self-destructive behaviours include, substance abuse, deliberate self-harm, eating disorders, etc.
Mental health issues:
The children with such fathers are at risk of suffering from mental illnesses such as depression, anxiety, etc. They can also have anger and rage issues. This is because these children feel abandoned by their emotionally distant fathers.
The traumatic effects that comes from an emotionally absent father, can become generational. The child learns and behaves the same way towards his children in adulthood. Such a child will also have relationship problems in adulthood.
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