In a house whole each parent plays a different yet vital role in a child's life. The father is often seen and the provider and disciplinarian and the mother nurturer. The absence of one of these agents can impact negatively on a child’s development. Therefore the type of family that has proven to be problematic to the social, cognitive and moral development of a child is that of a single parent family. In Jamaican society specifically it is the homes with the absentee fathers that pose the most problem to a child’s development. According to Maureen Samms-Vaughan article (2006) it was stated by Sara McLanahan a Princeton sociologist that children from father-absent homes manifest a number of internalizing and externalizing problem behaviors. These behaviors included sadness and depression, delinquency, aggression, sex role difficulties, early initiation of sexual activity and teen pregnancy, as well as poor social and adaptive functioning and low self-esteem. This is more prominent in low income families where with the absence of the fathers the mothers have to become the bread winner going out to work resulting in the neglect of the child. In reference to Erikson theory of Psychosocial Development, with the mother not around to provide the care and support needed within the first years of a child’s life the child will inevitable fail at each developmental stage This lack of guidance and support can result in the child becoming emotional affected, having low self-esteem, poor performing in school and become antisocial.
These views can be substantiated by the observation done on John* a student of a prominent high school in Portmore living in a single parent home. John* is a fifteen year old ninth grade student who lives with his mother and little brother within the same community. At first glance John looks like a well adjusted student, clean attire and properly groomed ,however closer observation revealed that he has .In Erikson’s view John would have fail the first developmental stage of his life as he lack trust in his teacher and fellow students. He displayed signs of aggression to smaller students but was never violent. In class John was quite disruptive however he tried his best to participate in class. It was evident that he lack the male guidance at home to mold is behavior or to serve as a model. .
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