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“Families need fathers.” Discuss.

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Introduction

28.02.02 "Families need fathers." Discuss. The debate, "Families need fathers" is one in which there are many issues that need to be considered when looking at the question. Family poverty, domestic violence, the effect on children and family stereotypes by society all need to be considered in the debate. Recent surveys have shown that fathers also need families and therefore making the matter more complicated. Fathers still remain important in our society because family poverty is still largely prevented by the existence of a male, full time worker's wage in a household. Due to the patriarchal nature of our society, women find it difficult to obtain appropriate work to fit in with custody of children. In a Social Trends survey the rise in mothers working part time form 49 percent in 1973 to 64 percent in 1994. This often means working in low paid, part time jobs with little chance that mothers' earnings alone will be able to cover the cost of subsistence for themselves, never mind there children. Those who do work full time do not necessarily escape from economic dependence, choosing to work and pay for childcare may well prove uneconomic for large numbers of the working class. There is very little publicly provided care which fits the needs of working mothers: most pre school care is part time and infused with the ideology of education, rather then care and education. ...read more.

Middle

Rowthorn and Ormerod state that "on every measure of achievement and emotional condition, children living with their married parents usually do better then other children" although it is often hard to distinguish between the effects of marriage and divorce and other factors such as poverty and racism. Nevertheless, divorce often means poor exam results, damaged health and stress and four times the risk of needing psychiatric help as a child. Dr Richards took 17,000 children from the National Child Development Survey and monitored their lives at intervals until they were 35. He discovered that children, whose parents had divorced before they were 16, were on average less emotionally stable, left home earlier, and divorced or separated more frequently. However, this study was concerned with children of the middle class in 1958, and from then till now, social attitudes have changed as divorce is much more acceptable then it was in the fifties and therefore children are less affected by it, but most studies show the more involved the father; the better developed the child intellectually and socially. This view that children are affected by the absence of a father in the family is one to be contested. The latest research for the Joseph Rowntree Foundation shows that the absence of one or other parent figure from a household is not the aspect of separation which most effects the child's development. ...read more.

Conclusion

Perhaps more worryingly 83 percent of violent men were fathers to one or more children in the study, and it was found that girls above all were more vulnerable to sexual abuse from step fathers then any other family member. However, rates of domestic violence and conflict are much higher for cohabitees and lone parents and it is argued that lack of male role models weakens family discipline but perhaps if a father is going to abuse the mother and child then they are better off without fathers. Although all research is concentrated on the fact that families need fathers it is often overlooked that fathers need families too. Of the number of lone parents in Britain 90 percent are women and this has doubled in the last twenty years leaving men without families and commitment, in fact the most common way for young men aged 24-36 to live is on their own. Marriage and children provide men a focus for work effort and commitment and without it they feel isolated, which some sociologists believe that this leads to an increase in crime, suicide mentality and other social problems. The statement, "fathers need families" is neither true nor false, and it does not apply to everyone and every situation. However, generally families do need fathers, if not forever then for the moment as family poverty, concern for child welfare and the values and norms attached in this society do not really allow otherwise for children and loan mothers to function on their own. ...read more.

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