Relationship trouble with fathers-commonly referred to as ‘daddy issues,’- can have severe effects on the development of a child. Read on to know more.

It’s often assumed that kids are close to their parents and vice-versa. Because when it comes to parenthood, you wouldn’t want to have it any other way, right? How great would the world be, if kids and parents shared a stable, loving equation! The truth, however, is bitter. Many children feel distant from their parents, especially fathers, due to various reasons. mentions a 2007 UNICEF report which stated that children in the USA, UK and Canada rank low on emotional and social well-being. This is due to a troubled relationship with their fathers, commonly referred to as ‘daddy issues.’

Types of damaging fathers 

A child may suffer from daddy issues, depending on the circumstances and the kind of behaviour a father is projecting. Here are the types of damaging fathers that can affect a child’s development:

  • The absent dad- who walks out on his family
  • The divorced dad- who forgets his children after separating from his wife
  • The addicted dad- who is aloof from his family due to alcohol/ drug addiction
  • The distant dad- who is emotionally unavailable
  • The critical dad- who is critical of everything and hard to please
  • The unfaithful dad- who is unfaithful to his wife, and in turn, his family
  • The narcissistic dad- who only focus on himself and gets what he wants, at the cost of hurting his family

Why are fathers so important and necessary in a child’s life?

Before we look at how a father’s absence affects a child’s development, it’s important to understand how their presence contributes to the same.

1. Self-confidence and esteem 

While growing up, children need constant validation. It is essential to let them know that they are doing okay. Though mothers can assure them of the same, a report in thriveglobal points out, that this coming from fathers holds more value for children. This is because they serve as role models for their children. Those who aren’t validated during their growing up years, end up valuing others over themselves.

2. Marriage and relationship 

Famous Australian Neurologist Freud claimed that the equation that a woman shares with her father, directly co-relates with her finding a life-partner. He proposed that women tend to look for partners that replicate their fathers. And those who suffer from daddy issues tend to get involved in destructive relationships. mentions that such women tend to be jealous and insecure, stick with partners that are wrong for them and are in constant need for validation.

3. Masculinity 

Boys grasp the concept of masculinity from their fathers. Hence, a great example must be set for them to be inspired. If boys grow up around abusive fathers, there’s a high chance they might replicate the same behaviour in the future. A report by New York Times mentions that one-third of children, who are abused in childhood, are likely to turn abusive themselves.

How daddy issues can affect your child’s development

There are enough studies and reports to highlight that a father’s absence contributes to the social and emotional instability of a child.

1. Self-doubt and loathing: Some children facing daddy issues such as being abandoned by their fathers, experience self-loathing. They have low self-esteem and confidence.

2. Behavioural problems: Some children struggle with adjusting socially. Many of them develop an intimidating persona to hide their inner trauma.

3. Poor performance at school: Daddy issues can severely impact a child’s performance at school. They are more likely to drop out and less likely to land good jobs.

4. Increase in delinquency:  Children who have grown up without a strong father-figure, are likely to commit more crimes.

5. Substance abuse: Kids with daddy issues can become addicted to alcohol, drugs etc.

6. Promiscuity: Some kids engage in sexually risky behaviour such as not using protection, having sex with multiple partners etc.

7: Physical ailments: Children with daddy issues are likely to grow up with physical ailments such as chronic pain, asthma, headaches etc.

8. Mental illnesses: Kids can experience anxiety, depression, suicidal thoughts etc.

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