Powerful Essays

It is not difficult to figure out that the modern image of a father is evolving and pointing to a more compassionate figure. Before, the fatherly figure was merely boiled down to him being the breadwinner and the mother was considered the sole caretaker of the children's welfare.

However, this is changing as the awareness and the advent of a fuller model of fatherhood is being churned by the changing American society. Despite of this, there is another side of fatherhood that still lags behind: the father after divorce. Indeed, today in America, only 50 % of all the children currently under the age of 18 live with their biological fathers. (Nielsen). Compounding the situation are the increasing numbers of fathers who seem to vanish after divorce. Why is this so, yet there is a growing, more articulate image of fatherhood? Is the father or the mother to blame for this? Hence, we are going to delve deeper into the reasons fathers seem to abandon their children after divorce and where the fault really is.

In most divorce cases today, the mother rather than the father is usually given custody of the children. As such, society has emerged hailing the mother as the better parent of the two, mostly because we have been led to believe so over the years. Unfortunately, the legal system also agrees and as such the “courts [do] not recognize fathers as primary care-takers” (Lund 212). Therefore, “a father who divorces will probably become one of the 90% of men who do not get custody” (qtd. in Lund 212). More so, Seltzer and Brandreth add that in almost all of the cases, “the children are more likely to live with the mothers than their fathers after marital disruption” (166) regardless of the mothers’ financial disposition. H...

... middle of paper ... with dads: The changing roles of fathers.” Escape from poverty:

What makes a difference for children, New York: Cambridge UP, 1995.

Lund, Mary. “The non-custodial father: common challenges in parenting after

divorce.” Reassessing Fatherhood: New observations on fathers and the

modern family. London, UK: Sage P, 1987.

Newman and Granerholz. The Sociology of families

Nielsen, Linda. “Disenfranchising, Demeaning and Demoralizing Dads.”

Journal of Divorce and remarriage. 1999. vol31 pg. 139-177.


*Parental Alienation Syndrome:

Parke, Ross D. Fatherhood.

Cambridge, MA: Harvard UP, 1996.

Seltzer, Judith A. and Brandeth Yvonne. “What Fathers say about involvement

with children after separation.” Fatherhood: Contemporary theory, Research, and Social policy. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage P, 1995.
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