The Effects on Children of Absent Fathers and Divorced Fathers
The family image has had a tremendous change from the way it was in the past and the way it is today. There are several sources that talk about the different situations within the relationships of the mother and father and the effects that the relationships have on their children. In Children of Gay Fathers, authors Robert Barret, and Bryan Robinson talk about the effects on children’s behavior whenever there is a homosexual man parenting while raising his children or child. They also talk about how hard it is for homosexual men to come out with their child or children and the reaction of others surrounding their children. The Ballad of a Single Mother Lynn Olcott tells her story about the struggle as a single mother without the father of her children in the picture (446). In Absent Fathers: Why Don’t We Ever Talk About the Unmarried Men? written by Rebecca Blank, she talks about the unmarried fathers and why they are absent and the impacts that they have on their children or households. The main issue that these authors argue about is the father figures in children’s lives can affect the children in a positive or negative way depending on what is going on.
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The one thing that all the essays share in common is the financial difficulty that happens when the two parents split up, the mother or father. In Absent Fathers: Why Don’t We Ever Talk About the Unmarried Men?, Blank talks about the financial trouble that single women go through either because the father is: in jail, abandoned the mother, or the mother has gotten a divorce and child support is not being giving to support the children. Blank states that when fathers leave that there is a financial burden put on the mother to take care of her children (440). “The rise in single parenting has not simply led to an increase in the number of children who physically live with and are primarily raised by their mothers. It has also meant massive financial desertion of these children by their fathers. This is a major reason as to why the women who raise children on their own are so likely to be poor.” said Blank (442). Blanks states that many women with low skill working opportunities statistically have children with men that are in the same situation as them and therefore both parents cannot provide for the child like they should financially (443). Similarly, Olcott talks about the financial problems she went through without a father for her children present in her story, “The Ballad of a Single Mother”. Olcott also mentions how when she was working that money was also an issue and how she was being underpaid like other mothers that were single and had to care for their children by themselves with no financial support (446). She had to work a lot in order to take care of her child so she had very little time to take care of her child most of the days. She even picked up another bill which was a daycare bill in order to make sure her child was kept in order to work the full time job to provide for her child.
Olcott and Blank have stated that there will be a problem in the near future with the absent fathers and single parenting and they don’t see it being figured out. Olcott wishes that she could spend more time with her children and have less financial problems and she says that she does not believe that her daughters or their daughters will not be able to stay home and nurture their own children without having a child as well. Olcott believes that there isn’t going to be a day where single mothers could just easily give up their jobs to take care of their kids like in the past (447). Blank thinks that it may be impossible to tell men to get a job to support their families in today’s society. “Though their behavior may not be excusable, ordering them to get a job and/or pay more in child support may not be as easily accomplished as in years past” says Blank (444).
There are several differences in these essays as well. Blanks talks about the lack of information single mothers fail to report about the fathers. Most women know who the fathers are but just fail to acknowledge who they are when the baby is born on the birth certificate. She asserts that the actions of absent fathers are inexcusable (Blank 444). In contrast Olcott spoke of her financial hardships not out of self-pity or sorrow, but as if she is proud to have overcome the struggles of not having the support of her children’s father (447).The parents of children who have divorced or never been married can have a negative impact with the parents and children. In Children of Gay Fathers, Barret believes that when parents go through divorces and the father’s sexuality changes that the child might become stressed because of knowing their father’s sexuality. He also says that the people that surround the child, friends, might distant themselves from the child or act different around the child because of the friends finding out that the father is gay may also put stress on the child causing them to distant themselves away from the father. Barret also states that divorce itself puts stress on children (410). In Absent Fathers: Why Don’t We Ever Talk About the Unmarried Men? Blank agrees that the absence of a father in the household puts stress on the single mother and child, and many times the child has no relationship with their father. “For every single mother there is a father who is not living with his children” says Blank (440). In The Ballad of a Single Mother Olcott tells about the trials and tribulations that her and her children had to go through without their father being in their lives. She also admitted that she had missed out on some events in her children’s life because she worked full time. While working a full time job she was not able to share in these special times with her children, damaging their emotional relationships. One of her stories is about her son giving up soccer because her funds began to get tight and she couldn’t afford for her son to continue to play soccer. She continues to tell how a group of men who managed the league helping him to continue playing in the league by paying the fees. She kind of relates these men to being that father figure that her son never had and shows that if the father was present that she wouldn’t have to worry about an issue like this one.
The way American families are today is totally different from within the past. It seems that having an absent father is the new norm. In many families, you see many single mothers raise their children on their own and struggle to make ends meet most of the time. Most of the time women have to have government assistance in order to provide for their children. There are several sources that talk about the different situations within the relationships of the mother and father and the effects that the relationships have on their children. In the three essays I chose, the authors share a common ground. They really speak on the positive and negative effects that absent fathers can have on not only the child but also the family as a whole. The mother struggles and the child stresses because of divorce or because of the sexuality of the father and fear of what society might think about the child and parent. Some people say that a father being absent is inexcusable and feel sorry for the women to have to go through what they do or did and you have some women who are actually glad that they went through the struggle and overcame it at the same time like Lynn Olcott mentions in her story about being a single mother. You also have some authors that agree with each other saying that they don’t think that single parenting women will be able to give up their jobs all the way and nurture a child at the same time without struggling to do so. What are your thoughts on single mothers and absent fathers or single fathers parenting?
Barret, Robert, and Bryan E. Robinson. “Children of Gay Fathers.” Writing in the Disciplines: A Reader and Rhetoric for Academic Writers. 7th ed. Eds. Mary Lynch Kennedy and William J. Kennedy. Upper Saddle River: Pearson, 2012. 409-414. Print.
Blank, Rebecca M. “Absent Fathers:Why Don’t We Ever Talk About the Unmarried Men?” Writing in the Disciplines: A Reader and Rhetoric for Academic Writers. 7th ed. Eds. Mary Lynch Kennedy and William J. Kennedy. Upper Saddle River: Pearson, 2012. 439-444. Print.
Olcott, Lynn. “The Ballad of a Single Mother.” Writing in the Disciplines: A Reader and Rhetoric for Academic Writers. 7th ed. Eds. Mary Lynch Kennedy and William J. Kennedy. Upper Saddle River: Pearson, 2012. 446-447. Print.
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