A Father's Influence by Choice

It is well known that a father's absence has a major impact on many facets of his child's life. A review studied the association between "father absence" and "adolescent well-being and development." Results showed that the reason a father is absent impacts the effects seen later in his child's life.

There are several types of father absence. An absent father could be due to work commitments, family breakdown, parental relationship instability or paternal death. In the study, the detrimental effects and psychological wellbeing in a child's adolescence were predicted by the type of father absence. Father absence due to a father’s death resulted in positive emotions and attachment between the child and deceased father with limited negative effects. A father absence due to work commitments greatly reduced detrimental effects on children’s and adolescents’ well-being, but not entirely. However, father absence due to family breakdown or parental relationship instability showed detrimental effects on children’s and adolescents’ well-being and development. In these cases, children are more likely to develop maladaptive behavior, poor academic achievement, low self-identity and risky behavior, including early sexual relations and drug use in adolescence.

Having an absent father by a father's own choice has negative effects on the psychological well-being of children and adolescents. The relationship between a father and his child is one of the most critical relationships in a child's life, as it shapes and informs many of the relationships and decisions a child makes throughout his or her life.