Father Absenteeism

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Tia Gibson
English 1010
May 2, 2011
Father Absenteeism in the Lives of African Americans
The absence of a father in an African-American family is very common today. Father absenteeism dates back to early 1900s. Researchers Mandara, Murray and Joyner points out “single mothers have headed a significant percentage of African American families since the 1960s…” (qtd. in Tucker and Mitchell-Kernan 209). According to a 2003 survey, researchers declare that 69 % of black students live without their father compared to other ethnic groups (DeBell 427). There are a few reasons a child is raised in a single mother household. Most times couples who have conceived children do not remain in a relationship. Married couples may have gotten divorced before the child becomes school age. Sometimes the biological father has died before the child is able to develop a relationship. Many will agree that a child will benefit more when there are both parents in the home to raise the child. Economic and emotional issues will arise in the latter life of a child, and the effects may negatively impact their relationships and their stability. The absenteeism of a father in the household of African-American families affects the mother’s ability to support, the child’s behavior and the child choosing a significant other in the future.

A mother’s stability of support is compromised when the father is absent from the home. A family with only one income can be financially burdensome when taking care of children. The financial burden will also depend on which side of the income bracket a single mother is categorized and how many children she is responsible for taking care of. It is nearly impossible to take care of more than one child if a single mother’s income is in a low-income bracket. Also, having a father in the household with a second income to provide financially can make a big difference in the lives of the parents and the children. Mothers sometimes obtain jobs making minimum wage just to take care of a child. Many single mothers may be unemployed due to different reasons not allowing her to care for the child(ren) substantially. Some mothers may not have an academic background that would allow them to obtain jobs in an income bracket any more than minimum wage, or may not have a high school diploma at all. Some mothers have pursued higher education but unable to finish because she cannot afford to pay for school. Others are lucky to find an entry-level job that will allow them to advance and succeed exceptionally. Sometimes the absent father is unable to provide for his child(ren) because of the same reasons as a mother. The absent father may not feel worthy of being in the same home with a child if he feels he cannot contribute to the household. Some single mothers will temporarily rely on unemployment benefits that will soon end and still will be without a job. These events will lead mothers to turn to government assistance that financially will not be sufficient to care for her children. Although, government assistance provides financial help, it is almost always not enough for a single mother to care for her children and make a better life for her family. The father of a child is accountable for his responsibilities, but majority of the time he do not even offer to pay child support to provide for the children. According to the National Survey of Families and Households, earlier research has proved that some nonresident fathers can afford to pay child support but choose not to as well as the many absent fathers that are “poor and lack the ability to pay child support (Sorensen 785),” leaving a single mother to be supported by government assistance. Do the absent fathers think about how the children feel about him not being in the home? He should because it has an effect on the child emotionally and will reflect in his or her behavior.

African-American children suffer from the absenteeism of a father and it shows in their behavior....
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