Absent Fathers Essay

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The role of the father, a male figure in a child’s life is a very crucial role that has been diminishing over the years. An absent father can be defined in two ways; the father is physically not present, or the father is physically present, but emotionally present. To an adolescent, a father is an idolized figure, someone they look up to (Feud, 1921), thus when such a figure is an absent one, it can and will negatively affect a child’s development. Many of the problems we face in society today, such as crime and delinquency, poor academic achievement, divorce, drug use, early pregnancy and sexual activity can be attributed to fathers being absent during adolescent development (Popenoe, 1996; Whitehead, 1993). The percentage of adolescents growing up fatherless has risen from 17% to 36% in just three decades between 1960 and 1990 (Popenoe, 1996). Dr. Popenoe estimates this number will increase to approximately 50% by the turn of the century (Popenoe, 1996). The US Census Bureau reported out of population of 24 million children, 1 out 3 live in a home without a father (US Census Bureau, 2009).
The role of a father is more than just another parent at home (Popenoe, 1996). Having a father, the male biological parent in a child’s life is important because it brings a different type of parenting that cannot be replicated by anyone else (Stanton, 2010). Fathers who are present and active in a child’s life provide great benefits to a developing child (Popenoe, 1996). Having a father brings a different kind of love. The love of the father is more expectant and instrumental, different from the love of a mother (Stanton, as cited in Pruett, 1987).
The effect of an absent father can be quite devastating to the developing adolescent. In a longitudinal study on the impact of divorced children who did not share a close relationship with their fathers conducted by Judith Wallerstein, results showed the effect of losing a parent during the period of adolescence to be severe, as...

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