Free Essay. Literature Review on Fatherhood

Published: 2023-03-07
Free Essay. Literature Review on Fatherhood
Type of paper:  Literature review
Categories:  Parenting Relationship Childhood Literature review
Pages: 7
Wordcount: 1785 words
15 min read

According to Linn, Fako, and Wilson (2015), fathers play a vital role in the growth and development of their children from childhood to adulthood. A father serves as the male parent of a child who collaborates, in most cases, with the mother to ensure that children get proper care to reach their goals in life. Fathers may have a social, legal, parental, and emotional relationship with their children besides their paternal bonds. This relationship is crucial because it spells out the rights and obligations of fathers and their children (Oechsle, Muller, & Hess, 2012). This research seeks to provide a comprehensive literature review on the issue of fatherhood. The study explores the historical origin of fatherhood by focusing on the relationship between fathers and their children alongside defining and evaluating the implications of being a father. The research will also examine the significance of father figures in the household and how divorce can affect the mental health of children. Lastly, the study will provide a detailed explanation of the child custody process and determine its impact on the family as a whole.

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History of Fatherhood

The historical origin of fatherhood dates back to nearly two to three centuries ago (Linn et al., 2015). During the seventeenth century, for instance, people considered fathers as the most influential members of the family. Many Western countries, including France, England, and the United States, shared this concept of fatherhood. Fathers obtained their authority and power from the ownership and control of the property owned by their families, such as animals, children, land, and wives (Samuel, 2014). Society also charged men with the role of catering for the spiritual and moral growth of children. As a result, fathers had the right to discipline their children. This relationship between fathers and children was morally instructive, distant, and condescending as society believed that showing children a lot of affection would culminate in parental indulgence (Oechsle et al., 2012), which, in turn, ruined the character and behavior of children.

According to Bosoni and Mazzucchelli (2019), the patriarchal approach of fathering continued in the United States and Europe up to the mid-eighteenth century, when a new notion of parenting from France and England started influencing most of the United States fathers as well. This new concept restricted fathers from acting as patriarchal figures but enhanced their roles as moral educators in the family. The nature of families and their lives continued to record remarkable transformations in the nineteenth century due to urbanization and the industrial revolution. These two concepts pushed men to leave their homes to go to work in factories as women remained in charge of children at their respective homes (Samuel, 2014). Modern fatherhood began when women became the most stable members of their families by taking over the parental roles performed by fathers, such as acting as moral teachers and disciplining children.

On the other hand, some of middle-class fathers remained critical in the growth and development of their children despite the expanded significance of mothers and the outward decline of patriarchy (Linn et al., 2015). Men embraced the new roles of providing for their families, reinforcing their social status as the leaders of their households, and retaining their position as the definitive disciplinarians. The distinction between the place of work and home life continued to destabilize the conventional authority and influence of fathers in their families. This destabilization was as a result of urbanization and industrialization. The lack of an authoritative paternal role in contemporary families played a crucial role in helping some men physically and psychologically withdraw from their families (Oechsle et al., 2012). However, some men continued to struggle with the challenges of urbanization and the industrial revolution by taking leaves and off from their work to come back and enjoy with their families at home.

Contemporary fatherhood lies between two different roles. First, the current society has the father-absence phenomenon versus father involvement (Linn et al., 2015). Secondly, fathers are either providers or nurturers. Androgynous fatherhood is a unique trend of parenting in the modern world that involves not only the masculine but also feminine aspects in the role of fathering. This trend is an outcome of the women's movement and the ensuing reshaping of gender roles in society (Bosoni & Mazzucchelli, 2019). Women's movement helped many fathers to evolve into active participants in daily childcare and show more commitment to nurturing their children. However, the emergence of a blurring distinction between motherhood and fatherhood culminated into the growing need for contemporary society to re-examine the concept of family (Samuel, 2014), womanhood, and manhood and its impact on child upbringing.

How Fatherhood Looks Like and the Meaning of Being a Father

According to Guzzo (2011), contemporary fatherhood appears to be distinct from what society witnessed in the last two centuries. Fatherhood in the twenty-first century begins probably after marriage and proceeds to conception, delivery, and child-rearing. However, in men who do not go through the formal marriage process, fatherhood starts mainly when their spouses become pregnant (Alio, Lewis, Scarborough, Harris, & Fiscella, 2013). Being a father has far-reaching implications in the lives of young men. For instance, responsible young adults must start taking care of their spouses upon marriage. Such adults must provide their spouses with basic needs, such as food, shelter, and clothing while giving them the social, physical, and emotional support required during pregnancy to withstand the associated challenges (Bosoni & Mazzucchelli, 2019). Fathers also help their wives to make vital decisions, such as developing a birth plan or even choosing the best name for their child.

Nonetheless, fathers also encourage their spouses while offering positive affirmations about their changing body image (Guzzo, 2011). Lastly, the father empathizes with the wife while keeping calm as her emotions change frequently. Childbirth marks the second stage of fatherhood. As a result, fathers provide the necessary care required when preparing for delivery and begin offering the essential requirements for their children during infancy (Alio et al., 2013). The younger years, which range from 0 to 10 years, represent the third phase of fatherhood and entails providing proper care for children until they attain puberty. As a result, fathers often offer social, emotional, and physical help to their children while swearing to provide adequate security to protect them from all forms of dangers and enemies (Fazel, 2017). The fourth stage of fatherhood, which occurs during adolescence, is one of the most challenging phases that fathers go through while catering to the needs of their children.

Fathers serve as the disciplinary members of society while providing appropriate lessons to their children on how to grow into responsible adults (Oechsle et al., 2012). Fathers also cater to the educational needs of their children as they pursue their studies and enter tertiary institutions. The last stage of fatherhood occurs past the adolescent stage. Many parents recognize their children as young adults who are now preparing to join the institution of marriage. Hence, fathers usually educate their daughters and sons on how to choose and take care of their spouses (Bosoni & Mazzucchelli, 2019). After marriage, young adults also assume the duties of parenthood, which, in turn, creates a cycle of fatherhood. Therefore, good fatherhood is essential in helping children grow into responsible members of society. However, many fathers in contemporary society face multiple lawsuits in court as a result of child negligence (Fazel, 2017). Some of these fathers cite factors, such as harsh economic times, unemployment, being unprepared for parenting as the fundamental reasons behind their decisions not to execute their duties as fathers.

Importance of a Father in the Household and His Impact on Family

Rush and Seward (2015) acknowledged fathers as significant figures in any household. For instance, fathers, especially those involved in their family issues, serve as role models for every household member. Women married to involved fathers usually look up to them to ensure that they provide the best care and upbringing of their children. Similarly, children and relatives in a household headed by a responsible father emulate his characters to ensure that they grow into responsible members of society. Waldvogel and Ehlert (2016) also found that fathers serve as household leaders when it comes to worshipping and praying. As responsible members of the household, fathers usually teach and lead their children and wives through prayers, which, in turn, help in bringing up a God-fearing family. Fathers, on the other hand, serve as the primary provider of their households. As a result, fathers struggle to ensure that they put food on the table, offer clothing for their wives and children, and provide other essential needs such as education and proper housing (Oechsle et al., 2012). Fathers serve as the source of protection of their households against all vices and enemies.

For instance, fathers usually teach and educate their children on how to avoid social vices such as sexual abuse and child trafficking Theunissen, Velderman, Cloostermans, & Reijneveld, 2017). Another important fact about the significance of fathers in the household is that they serve as playmates of their family members, including wives, children, and relatives. As a playmate, fathers usually teach their household members on the significance of participating in different games and doing physical exercises daily. Also, fathers generally serve as companions and demonstrate love for their wives as well as children by providing all the necessary support for them to succeed in their daily undertakings ranging from schooling to working (Linn et al., 2015). Therefore, responsible and involved fathers have a positive impact on the upbringing of their families. Serving as role models, teachers, trainers, and playmates for households depict fathers as social beings with a great concern for the prosperity of their families. However, irresponsible parents affect the family adversely. Such parents not only contribute to disunity in the family but also the value of being irresponsible among family members, especially children (Roberts et al., 2014). Thus, there is a need for empowering children to grow into highly responsible fathers to help in bringing up well-endowed families that can withstand the challenges experienced in contemporary society.

An Overview of the Relationship between Fathers and their Children

Anderson (2014) emphasized the importance of building a good and mutual relationship between fathers and their children. This relationship can be either positive or negative and plays a significant role in determining the type of people that children become in the future. A positive relationship helps to build highly responsible and involved parents, whereas an antagonistic relationship could breed bad habits among children, including building hatred against fathers (Bosoni & Mazzucchelli, 2019). Fathers are vital pillars in the development of the emotional well-being of their children. Children view their fathers as critical role models that can lay down essential rules, which, when followed, help them to achieve their goals in life. A child also depends on the father for security as a critical pillar for building physical and emotional wellness.

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