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The fact that a child needs two parents is not new for the society or for the psychologists. However, there still happen the situations that leave children in a single-parent family. In the majority of cases, the father is the parent, who does not participate in the child’s upbringing. However, he may even not realize the level of harm this may cause to a child. The current paper will analyze the role of each parent in the child’s upbringing in order to define the consequences of one of the parents’ absence and the ability of the second one to compensate such gap in any possible way.
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The current paper will focus on the case study of the Smiths. The family is a common example of the short-term relationship that led to pregnancy. The woman gave birth to boy. Later, after two years another child came into this world. However, two children have not become a strong power to keep the father in the family. Another woman, as well as family violence, led to divorce. As a result of the constant lack of money and arguments with wife, the parents of two boys got divorced when they were 1 and 6 years old. For ten years, the father did not try to communicate with children. Two boys lived with their mother. No father in law participated in their upbringing. Their grandfather has died when they were 1 and 6. Hence, only the elder boy could remember him a little. Nevertheless, in fact, the boys could not see any example male behavior. The mother mostly worked till late in order to earn their living. Hence, she has had no time to help children with their studies. She either did not try to engage them into post-school activities. As a result, both boys have problems with studies and behavior. The elder one often skips classes and has even got drunk with friends several times and tried to drive drunk. The youngr one often tries to take after his brother as far as he remains the only example of the masculine behavior. However, people obviously do not accept him due to his age. Hence, the younger boy often feels lonely and set aside. He suffers from the low self-esteem, inferiority, and feeling of being not loved in the family, where none has time for him. He is very reserved and has got no friends at school. His classmates often laugh at him. His elder brother does not have time to defend or communicate with him. As for the father, he decided to try to communicate with his sons after ten years when they were 11 and 16. It is obvious that neither the mother nor children want to accept the father because he has been absent for such a long time. However, the elder son is interested in meeting his father and having a talk. As far as only the elder boy can remember his father a little, he bases his image mostly on the knowledge that the father does not love them because he has been absent for such a long time. Nevertheless, the boy’s desire to meet the father causes another conflict and offence on the mother's side. In response, the elder boy cries and claims that father’s leave was his mother’s fault. The mother rarely told anything good about her ex-husband. However, she also often argues with the elder son and can hardly find the common language with him.
One can see that the family faces a number of challenges. The first one is a lack of communication on all levels. The brothers are distant from one another; the mother has no time for children. Both boys have problems at school. The psychological problems of the younger boy are even more challenging because they mostly hide deep in his mind. Lack of regular control of the mother has led to a number of problems of an elder boy. At the same time, many of his actions can be predetermiined both by the lack of the strict father’s control or his problematic adolescent age.
Such challenges are quite typical for the single-parent families. Loss of the father after the divorce is a common problem among children. The absence of one of the parents may often lead to the psychological and behavioral problems of children. In fact, it is what one can observe from the above-mentioned example. The educational progress of both children is quite low as in the majority of the single-parent families (De Lange et al., 2014). The reason for that is often the lack of time for the proper control, especially with two children. Moreover, the problems with school attending are also common in such types of families (De Lange et al., 2014). De Lange (2011) also reports that the absence of the father can lead to less gender identity and lower self-esteem as one may observe on the example of the younger boy. High emotionality of the elder boy can also be a result of the upbringing with no father, which may lead to more feminine reactions in some cases (De Lange, 2011). It is clear that a female cannot show the proper example of male behavior to her sons. This is why it is necessary to search for some other ways to teach boys a definite model of behavior common for men.
Nevertheless, this family also has strengths. The mother has two children, who can help her and each other. The age of the two boys is already sufficient to talk to them about future. As for the difference in age of the boys, it is necessary to make the elder boy become a good example for his younger brother. These three people are the closest relatives, and they have to realize that they are the only people, who should really care about each other. In case of the extended families, it happens that the relatives are far from each other.
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