Teenage Pregnancy and Fathers

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FATHER ABSENCE AND ITS EFFECTS ON DAUGHTERS

Lisa Mancini Professor Briggs WRT 465 11 May 2010

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Table of Contents I. II. III. IV. V. VI. Abstract Introduction Definition of Father Absence Divorce and Father Absence Other Explanations of Father Absence Effects of Father Absence on Daughters a. Teenage Pregnancy b. Promiscuity c. Emotional Effects d. Poverty e. Education VII. VIII. IX. X. Pains of Father Absence Definition of a Positive Father Figure Appendices Bibliography

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Abstract As the divorce rate in the United States climbs to nearly 50 percent, fathers seem to be disappearing from their daughters‟ lives. Research shows that girls and young women who have an unstable father figure are more liable to unplanned pregnancy, low-self esteem, high school and college drop-out, poverty, divorce and sexually promiscuous behavior. This thesis examines the research linking father absence to daughter problems.

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“I still didn't understand what was going on. I didn't know why he hadn't hugged me yet, why he didn't act the way all my other friends' fathers treated them. He was so cold to me. It took 2 nurses to hold me down so they could take the blood from my arm. I was crying hysterically. I was only 9 years old. I didn't know what a blood test for paternity was. I didn't even know this man who so coldly told the nurses to hurry up; he had other things to do. But I know, I'll never forget that moment. Never. When the results came back stating that I was most definitely his daughter, I never saw or heard from him again. Go figure. I'm 21 years old now, and I've yet to meet my father.”

(syri 1).

INTRODUCTION With nearly half of all marriages ending in divorce, the phenomenon of a father absence in his daughter‟s life appears to have risen. The ripples of divorce seem to hit the children the hardest, especially the daughters. Girls and young women who have an unstable father figure seem prove to unplanned pregnancy, low-self esteem, dropping out of high school and college. As adults, they are more likely to experience poverty and divorce, and are more likely to engage in promiscuity.

DEFINITION OF FATHER ABSENCE Many sources agree on what constitutes father absence. The website dictionaryfordads.com has an article entitled, “Absent Fathers.” It explains that “absent fathers usually do not reside with their children or are away for long

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periods of time. This includes fathers who are divorced, separated, incarcerated, in the military, travel regularly for business and are absent in the home more than they are present” (Absent Fathers 1). One article titled, “Father‟s Absence Increases Daughter‟s Risk of Teen Pregnancy” says that, “the researchers [Bruce J. Ellis et al.] defined absence of the biological or adoptive birth father at or before the child reached age 5 as early onset of father absence, while late onset of father absence was defined as occurring when the child was between 6 and 13” (“Father‟s Absence”). The “Absent Fathers” article also states that divorce is the most common reason why fathers are absent in America.

DIVORCE AND FATHER ABSENCE As it is commonly known, divorce separates the children from the parents, mostly from the father. Currently, the divorce rate in the U.S. is 49 percent, according to “Fact Sheet on Father Absence” which was posted on the website, titled, “Reconciled Fathers Ministry” (Ministry 2). This means that most children live with their mother and see their father significantly less. Traveling back and forth between the mother and father‟s house can be stressful on the child, as one anonymous woman, known as the anonymous dk-simoneau reports on the forum titled “divorce360.com.” Reared by divorced parents and now divorced herself, she says, “I was still going over to my Dad's as required. But I was miserable. I was miserable because I didn't want to be there. I wanted to be

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with my friends or in my room,...
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