Whether it’s Mom or Dad who is absent from the home, children without one or both of their parents at home with them suffer. Some feel the effects tremendously and others less so, but many children suffer in life due to the absence of a parent. In a perfect world, all children would life in happy homes with two loving, doting parents who are comfortable both financially and emotionally. However, reality is much different than fantasy, which means not all children have the same home life and opportunities as others.
Behavioral Effects of Absent Parents
According to Edward Kruk, Ph.D. and associate professor of social work at the University of British Columbia, children with absent fathers are more likely to develop behavioral problems. These problems are often a shield that kids use to protect their deep issues of abandonment, fear and unhappiness. For example, a child living in a fatherless home is more likely to develop a careless attitude with a cocky swagger and mean persona to hide the fact that he really wants his father in his life.
Poverty and Absent Parents
Children who live with one parent are four times more likely to live in poverty than children in two-parent homes, according to a March 2011 survey performed by the U.S. Census Bureau. This information is more accurate when considering one parent homes that consist of a mother and her children, rather than a father and his children. This is largely due to the fact that in many cases, the father is the breadwinner and supporter of the family, although this is not indicative of all single-mother or single-father households. According to this survey, two-parent families account for only 12 percent of the poverty-stricken population, while single-mother families account for 44 percent of the poverty-stricken population.
Effects of Growing Up Too Fast
According to an article written by Geoffrey L. Greif, an assistant professor at the School of Social Work and Community Planning at the University of Maryland, many girls who grow up in a single-father home grow up too quickly. Since moms are typically the parents who take on the primary role of caregiving and housework, it is not unusual for daughters to take on this role in the single-father household, which often causes them to grow up too quickly. This leaves less time for them to focus on school work and fun, friends and socializing, and it sometimes leads to resentment and stress.
One of the biggest effects an absent parent -- particularly an absent father -- has on children is abuse. According to Edward Kruk, Ph.D., children living with their single mother are far more likely to suffer abuse of some sort, be it emotional, physical or even sexual abuse. This type of abuse could come at the hands of single mothers, their boyfriends or current husbands, caregivers or other family members. It could be said that single mothers often have to work harder and longer hours than mothers of children living with two parents, and this leaves their children more exposed to abuse at the hands of others. However, there are dozens of reasons why children with only one parent are more likely to suffer abuse.