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WHEN DADDY IS NOWHERE

WHEN DADDY IS NOWHERE

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WHEN DADDY IS NOWHERE

Topic |  
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psyche-thumbby Kit Nemenzo Balane

I almost forgot to write about this. If not for a reader who asked me what happens to children who have absentee fathers, I would not have written this for today. She said it is significant especially for families whose fathers are OFWs or seafarers.

Silently I was thankful that many are following this column. On the other hand, I also feel a bit guilty that I did not keep my promise, to include in my previous article the effects of father absence on child development outcomes.

Indeed, this is a significant social issue. As a whole, a comprehensive review of literature by Allen and Dally (2007) on absentee fathers indicates a pattern of negative outcomes in many different aspects of development.

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Research shows that children, who live without their fathers, are, on average, more likely to have problems in school performance. For example, they are more likely to have lower scores on achievement tests, lower scores on intellectual ability and intelligence tests,  and have lower grades. Specifically, they are also found to have trouble solving complex mathematical and puzzle tasks.

They are also more likely to experience behavior problems at school such as having difficulty paying attention, disobedience, being expelled, suspended, or have poor school attendance.  They are more likely to drop out of highschool, less likely to graduate and enroll in college, and more likely to be out of school and work in their mid 20’s.

Boys who live without their fathers consistently score lower on a variety of moral indexes such as measures of internal moral judgement, guilt following transgressions, acceptance of blame, moral values and rule conformity.

Girls who live without their fathers are more likely to cheat, lie, and not feel sorry after misbehaving. Both boys and girls are less likely to be able to delay gratification, have poor impulse control over anger and sexual gratification, and have a weaker sense of right and wrong.

Children in father absent homes are more likely to have problems in emotional and psychosocial adjustment.  Boys, on average, are more likely to be more unhappy, sad, depressed, dependent, and hyperactive. Girls, on average, are more likely to become overly dependent and have internalizing problems such as anxiety and depression.

Children who live without their fathers are more likely to engage in criminal behavior, or commit a school crime such as possessing, using, or distributing alcohol or drugs, possessing a weapon, or assaulting a teacher, administrator, or another student.

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When these children become adolescents, they are more likely to engage in greater and earlier sexual activity and are more likely to become pregnant as a teenager.

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The literature clearly shows how important father’s presence is. Whether we like it or not, father’s absence leave a void in the family that tips the balance towards the development of maladaptive behaviors in children.

So, dear fathers, let us truly be one. Our sons and daughters fulfilment and success in life depends much on whether we are present or not. After all, what can be more to life than seeing our children grow up to be satisfied and responsible adults?  Email me at kitbalane@boholchild.com.

Source: Allen, S. & Dally, K. (2007). The Effects of Father Involvement: A Summary of the Research Evidence. Center for Family, Work, and Well-being: University of Guelph. Retrieved from www.fira.ca

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