Single Fathers The Single Fathers versus Single Mothers First Name Last Name College / University you are enrolled at Professor’s Name Subject The Single Fathers versus Single Mothers The plight of single mothers has been all too familiar in the recent years. Social services have been tailored made to cater to their needs. It is with them that our society sympathizes. Then again, we seem to have forgotten that while there is a single mother, there is the single father who suffers just the same. He is that other part of the whole.
He also has his own rights, needs and story that deserves to get noticed and paid attention to. Indeed, he too matters and that is for sure. The number of single fathers in the United States registered to about 2. 5 million by the year 2007. Of the 2. 5 million, 40 % of them are divorced, 4% are widowed and the remaining 16 % are separated. Eight percent of the population rears three or more children below 18 years of age. About 14 % of this population has been not been living in their own homes.
The annual income of 27 % of these families amounts to about $ 50,000 or more (Information Please Database, 2007). This has been a big population boost as way back in 1970, single mothers account to about 90 % of the single family population while single fathers only numbers to 400,000 (Gillenkirk, 2000). The American family is a lot different now. More and more fathers left to rear their children after a break up are starting to out number the single mother population, almost twice as much. More than 2 million, which is about one – fifth of the population of single parents today, are single fathers.
Even though the media’s portrayal of single parents still focuses primarily on single moms, working single fathers now register to about 30 % of the single parents population (Gillenkirk, 2000). For most social workers, particularly the ones involved in the welfare department and civil service find it hard to fit in quality time in their schedules. Most of their time is consumed by long working hours. They could not avail of night shifts to take time off from work. As a result, they seldom spend worthwhile moments with their kids (Jaff, 1983).
In the social work practice, fathers are branded as the “hard to reach clients. ” Most lower – class single fathers are labeled this way. Their working habits or their seeming lack of interest may be to blame. These seem to augment the bad reputation of fathers as unhelpful and impassive and almost always pass the burden of responsibility to their wives. As if to add insult to injury, home visits are scheduled during the daytime and most of them are designed primarily for the mother and children, the father, in most cases is overlooked. Arranging schedules favorable to the father barely happen.
If only social work practices will include single fathers in their client’s list, they are most likely to respond (Jaff, 1983). Stereotyping among fathers themselves still abound the paternal role in the world of social services. In some cases, their roles are dictated by social workers. The lack of efforts to include single fathers in social work practices are taken as a non – involvement. While there is no denying of the incidents wherein fathers are out of reach, it must be noted how ever that most of this cases happen in social work programs primarily catered to single mothers.
Even though equal importance are considered and expected, single fathers are seldom if not never the major clients as far as social work practices are concerned, by default or design (Jaff, 1983). The seeming exclusion of fathers in the social work practice was founded on either conceptual or organizational reasons. The irony is that most children in placement came from families with unhealthy father – child relationships. Sadly, making up for such loss never happens. While the importance of incorporating the father’s role in such programs is slowly gaining recognition, what is ideal does not always exists in reality, though.
Still, there is a decline in terms of partnership and fathers barely get the accommodation they deserve (Jaff, 1983). This kind of development is much awaited by the social work practice in general, particularly the children involved. They know too well that there is a large possibility of ignoring the father as an important client. Countless reasons contribute to this scenario. Nevertheless, fathers are not valued nor are they assisted at the very least in the field of research and social work practice. He is deemed to be the challenging rather than partner in delivering social work practices.
The father’s role is of equal importance with that of the mother. If only outreach programs are incorporated, working hours is not a matter and if only cultures are respected, fathers can turn to social work practices whenever he needs a helping hand (Jaff, 1983). In the world today, the father’s role and problems as a client in the social work practice, commands a second glance. This is especially true now that women’s rights and roles are redefined. The father and the mother are now treated as two separate entities, thanks to the dictates of the modern world.
Moreover, testing family roles is more acceptable today than ever before. Maternal as well as paternal roles are gaining it most deserved attention (Jaff, 1983). The issue of the father’s rights as a partner in social work practices is one thing. It has never been so important to be reminded that efficient child welfare practices must be delivered. Both parents need to be involved as they form part of a whole. After all, the process starts with them. Biological or psychological, a parent’s participation is crucial.
It can make or break the whole child welfare practice no matter how noble the aim can possibly be (Jaff, 1983). A century ago, fathers left home in search for a job to sustain his family. Back then the father is the breadwinner, a place that held a stable footing for a while. Undoubtedly, over the years, men have endured countless struggles to stay true to this assumed role in the family. Nevertheless, at the turn of yet another century, the male of the species being the sole providers remained to be the standard (Shaklee Year).
However, such standard has been challenged by current changes in the family set – up for the past couple of years. An increasing number of married women are beginning to enter the employment scene. This includes mothers of young children. With this thing happening now, are fathers as breadwinners nearing extinction? (Shaklee Year). As mothers begin to enter the work force, the fathers are compelled to pay a price. Husbands of employed mothers appear to suffer mental anxiety and distress more as compared to husbands of stay – at – home moms. There are men who see themselves as a deficient provider.
While women’s liberation has done good things to the female of species, it has abandoned the conventional concepts of machismo and fatherhood. In effect, it posted a challenge to the prototype of a man as a sole provider (Shaklee Year). The role of the father as a breadwinner may soon come to an end. Differing trends could be the reason for its downfall. Separating oneself from a certain role is a good recourse especially when conventional roles are at stake. Since the marrying age of men is getting high, they are most likely to father relatively few children.
Moreover they would most probably file for divorce sooner or later. This trend includes children born out of wedlock, whose fathers’ participation is almost negligible. In addition, children out of wedlock who seldom receive support from them fathers are part of this trend. The amount of quality time shared by fathers and his family has gone down by 43 % from 1960 until 1980. These fathers have separated themselves from family life primarily because of the recent redefinition of the father’s role in the family (Shaklee Year). The reverse of the process may be echoed by the second trend.
This can be characterized by men’s view of their involvement in the family life as a measure of happiness. The average American father would trade job promotion for quality time (Shaklee Year). It took us how many years to be able to weigh against this reaffirmation the role of the male species in the family today to his role back when the days were young. The year was 1800’s when the strong male image came to life. The father’s role in child development and family life is vital as far as the home, being the focus of the work is concerned.
However, when work leaves home, fathers become insignificant in the aspect of child development. As mothers grace the employment scene, the father’s role in the children’s lives are stressed like never before. Initially, fathers may not be comfortable to assume this role since they are not used with this kind of set – up. Though they may not see their fathers like themselves, they can very much resemble the role their great – grandfathers used to play at home (Shaklee Year). Today, a growing number of men are beginning to value a world beyond work and success.
Things then known to be the measures of life’s worth. Now, they know that there is certainly nothing more of value than witnessing the first few gaits of their child, that sweet kiss on the cheek, the seemingly complicated art of tying a shoelace, that clip perfectly placed on her head or his boy’s first attempt to shoot that ball. These are the things can never be replaced by any amount of compensation for a job well done. Though it can never be well articulated in words, that sense of satisfaction can surely get any single father through the pains of his fate.
The times when a father is able to watch a child grow and actually be there for him from the minute he begins to defy gravity until such time when he can very well take care of himself are the very moments when the much needed strength may be drawn from. These are the things that can make loss and custody battles a little bit more bearable than it actually is (Gillenkirk, 2000). The very same things that remind him that after all, everything will be worth every pain endured and tear shed along the way. References Gillenkirk, J. Fathermag. com. (2000, November 4).
A Revolution in American Fathering. Retrieved February 18, 2008, from http://www. fathermag. com/107/fathers/ Information Please Database. (2007). Fathers by the Numbers. Retrieved February 18, 2008, from http://www. infoplease. com/spot/dadcensus1. html. Jaff, E. D. (1983). Fathers and Child Welfare Services: The Forgotten Clients. Laurence Erlbaum Ass, 129 – 37. Shaklee, H. CCC. (Year). Fathers in America: 100 Years of Change. Retrieved February 18, 2008, from http://www. agls. uidaho. edu/ccc/CCC%20Families/Research/fathers. htm