“Kids have a hole in their soul in the shape of their dad. And if a father is unwilling or unable to fill that hole, it can leave a wound that is not easily healed.”
The Lord watches over the strangers;
he upholds the orphan and the widow,
but the way of the wicked he brings to ruin.
Psalm 146:9 NRSV
Fatherlessness affect sons and daughters differently simply because the role of the father is different in gearing up men and women. Despite the image that men should be emotionally strong, fatherlessness can also impact the emotional and mental health of sons. The economic struggles that go with single-parenthood can lead to detrimental experiences to a child’s well-being. Children who grew up in single-parent households were two to three times more likely to experience emotional problems, such as depression. Boys are not exempted.
A father is an important source of love for the child. Particularly for sons, the father’s love build in the child maturity and heightens his self-esteem. Sons seek a specific form of admiration from that a son seeks from his father when the child displays strength and competence, which is instrumental in boosting his self-esteem. Unfortunately, without the father’s admiration, the child satisfy his need for validation different ways — most of the time destructive. The absence of the father can cause a lack of self-esteem for the child, affecting his emotional development. The absence of the father is a significant barrier to males’ healthy self-esteem development.
Unfortunately, without the father’s admiration, the child satisfy his need for validation different ways — most of the time destructive.
The emotional impact of the father’s absence is usually experiences in a subtle manner. The effect is often more evident for the traditional nuclear father, who are trained to simply provide and protect their families, but are often emotionally unavailable to their children. It seems as if they only see their duty to end in providing economic and physical needs, while leaving the nurturing role to the mother. For the man to nurture as. A nurturing man can be viewed by other men as “unmanly.” Instead of knowingly emasculating himself, the father would suppress his emotions. As a result, children may not have seen a side of masculinity that is capable of love and tenderness, and so the emotional disconnection and distress from the fathers continue.
The boys’ fixation on their fathers during their developmental stage occurs between 14-18 months during which boys enter a process of androgenization. Androgenization takes places to rid boys of the primary femininity that they acquire as fetuses before their gender is even determined. Gender identity may be altered when a male parent is present for the boy during this stage of development. Any child’s first relationship is with his father. Thus, his first identification is usually with a woman. In order for a boy to develop masculine characteristics, it is necessary for the identification with the mother to transfer to the identification with the father. Sometimes, aggression starts to develop during this stage but begins to stabilize when he sees that he is the same as his father.
If the father is physically or emotionally absent, boys cannot cognitively rationalize his absence, which causes aggression to increase.
If the father is physically or emotionally absent, boys cannot cognitively rationalize his absence, which causes aggression to increase. Education theorist Jean Piaget theorized that the child can develop a fear that caused his father’s absence and begin to direct this aggression towards the self. These irrational, aggressive impulses manifest as monsters or other fearful objects during the regressive and progressive sway of sleep, resulting in night terrors. Since the father is the parent whom the child identifies during this stage, the male parent must effectively interrupt the child’s nightmares and aggressive impulses by spending more time with the child. The theory of father hunger can be understood in this way:
A boy needs his father for the formation of the sense of self, the completion of separation-individuation, the consolidation of core gender identity, and the beginning modulation of libidinal and especially aggressive drives. I call the affective state which exists when these needs are not being met father hunger.
The theory of father hunger was based on a collection of clinical data from 12 boys between the ages of 18 months to 28 months. Researchers did note there is difficulty determining if the night terrors come from the fathers’ absences per se, or the distress of the mothers due to the absence of a partner. Nevertheless, the theory was grounded on the fact that the father’s absence contributed to the experience of the child.
Sons who do not witness a loving interaction between a mother and a father are likely to have a distorted view of how women should be treated.
The father’s absence can significantly contribute to his son’s inability to establish a masculine identity, and stunt his transition into adulthood. The father serve as an example for the sons about how to become men, and suggests that this is something that no mother, however well-meaning, can do alone. The father models how men relate to women. Sons who do not witness a loving interaction between a mother and a father are likely to have a distorted view of how women should be treated.
Fathers are integral in preparing the sons for manhood. They are able to achieve this support by negotiating the child’s connection with mothers, as they develop their masculinity. The need for male identification is reflected in many cultures, such as tribal societies wherein the boys earn a rite of passage into manhood. These practices are intended to signify the boy’s official separation from his mother, and to celebrate his transition into manhood.
Abusive and violent husbands and fathers came about as a consequence of having emotionally or physically absent fathers.
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