Women growing up without father are different. Life does play out in a different manner in the absence of paternal protection and support. Fatherless teenagers and young women all over the world suffer from emotional trauma that has a serious bearing on their personal development.
Whether the father is not in the picture owing to death, separation, desertion, addiction, incarceration or any other reason, the daughter undergoes through several layers of pain from a very young age making them vulnerable in later phases of life.
Statistics show that not having a father has a negative impact on every aspect of a child’s life from depression to academic prospects. Fatherless daughter syndrome can manifest in several forms as girls pass through adolescence and become adults. Dysfunctional behavior, chronic depression and forming unhealthy relationships are common among them.
Fatherlessness is the biggest social problem in North America:
According to the National Center of Fathering, over 24 million children do not live with their fathers. Further studies also show that 71% of teenage pregnancies are reported from fatherless families. 92% of fatherless women are most likely to divorce.
Assessing the impact of fatherless daughter syndrome:
A girl without father misses a very important emotional bond of a family. Her family nourishment remains incomplete in spite of the presence of a strong-willed mother donning the cap of the father as and when required.
But a gap remains. One needs to understand that playing the role of a father by a single mother in most cases is not by choice but out of compulsion. The outcomes are not healthy as revealed by the above statistics.
The psychological effects of absent father on a girl often go unnoticed or are not considered seriously. It is assumed that the girl’s mother has compensated the loss and time is the best healer of pain which is not true in many cases.
Few impacts of fatherlessness in a girl’s life as she grows up:
- A constant battle with self-esteem leading to a feeling of unworthiness.
- Low quality of life standard.
- Loss of the sense of security
- Reduced mental and physical well-being
- Increased level of anger
- Facing emotional challenges in intimate relationships
- Premature sexual activity and teenage pregnancy
- Likely to get married in the teenage phase.
The psychological impact:
An analysis of the fatherless daughter syndrome from an online quantitative study on SurveyMonkey.com since 2014 has come up with specific observations. The survey included more than 1200 females between the ages of 15 to 70 from all over the world.
It was found that emotional loss experienced by fatherless women was too tough to handle than their counterparts with fathers. The worst part of it is that the issue got suppressed and was not dealt with adequately during the time of loss.
The psychological effects of absent father on a woman surfaces as she grows as these suppressed emotions tend to burst in the event of any other loss, abandonment or trauma. Her emotional outbursts are unnatural more often than not which may seem to be an over-reaction in other’s perception.
Such outbursts leave her feeling remorse, guilty, isolated and misunderstood. Any life-experience post father loss triggers the unearthed pain that the woman is nurturing deep within since a very young and tender age.
Missing the much needed emotional foundation:
The multi-layered fatherless daughter syndrome stems from the absence of a strong foundation that a father lays for his girl. There are certain things which girls take it for granted from their father which are missed in his absence.
They miss the male affection, unconditional protection in tough times and the presence of a loving and affectionate person in times of accomplishments. Emotional caregivers in the form of a friend, father figure, grandfather, an elder brother, uncle or a very closely related male member of a family, therapist or a coach may alter the life path of a fatherless woman in a great way.
But when this out-of-the-family support system is not available, she may develop a tendency to gravitate towards unhealthy relationships from the need to be loved and accepted.
The rewards and costs:
Though fatherless daughter syndrome brews a constant feeling of insecurity fanning the fear of rejection and abandonment, the study also revealed another important aspect. A fatherless girl can also have some unique coping mechanisms practiced over years for survival.
On being thrust with responsibility at a very young age, a girl without father grows faster than her peers. She acquires special qualities of self-reliance, perseverance and leadership. She is the one to understand the importance of loyalty, compassion and companionship in the path of relationship development.
On the flip side, shouldering too much burden from a very young age may have a serious toll on her mental and physical health. She may be cranky, over-stressed and suffer from periodic depression. This may also leave her vulnerable to chronic ailments over the passage of time.
Why should society care for fatherless daughter syndrome?
A healthy and balanced society cannot be built with broken people. When the world is speaking highly of women empowerment and their equal rights, it is important to address this essential part of life: the trauma and the subsequent psychological issues that surface due to loss of the father.
A considerable population of girls without fatherly care will grow up with lots of emotional issues causing hindrance in normal relationship development whether it is with friends or partners or with society.
Even though single families are growing in numbers, emphasis should be on traumatized girls losing their fathers at a very tender age. They are the worst sufferers as the inability to cope with the sudden loss impedes healthy grooming and thriving.
Fatherless daughter syndrome should be considered as a serious psychological blow calling for special care like any other psychological issues as it directly impacts society. A fatherless daughter developing a dysfunctional disorder is likely to induce the same behavioral pattern in her family and create more broken children and mentally dysfunctional adults. Since what an individual receives in his/her life would likely pass on to the posterity.
We should introspect as a society
The society, by and large, focuses on the consequences rather than analyzing the cause for the dysfunctional behavior of a person. Short-term solutions are provided but that that does not help in preventing the problem.
We wonder at the startling stats of depression, teenage pregnancies, suicide rates, school dropouts, abuse, mental issues, incarceration, crime and other social evils prevailing in fatherless families. But do we delve deep to analyze the cause and uproot it?
The global community, as a whole, should strive to raise awareness on this social problem and create a support system for young fatherless girls to minimize the effects of deprivation on their own selves and society.