Edward Kruk is a professor of Social Work at the University of British Columbia, with a focus on child and family issues. He is also an author of several books, one being “Equal Parent Presumption: Social Justice in the Legal Determination of Parenting After Divorce.” Today he answers a few questions about the absence of fathers and its affect on developing children.
In your Psychology Today article “Father Absence, Father Deficit, and Father Hunger,” what does this title refer to?
“The absence of fathers from the lives of many children, and forced removal of fathers from children’s lives, and the effects of father absence on children.”
In your opinion, how does the absence of a father affect developing children?
“It causes physical and mental health problems, and exposes many children to situations of child abuse.”
Does this father absence affect adults too?
“Yes, the most depressed adults are parents who are separated from their children, and there is a ‘suicide epidemic’ among fathers who have been removed from their children’s lives by family courts, in the absence of violence or abuse concerns.”
Would you say that children of same sex parents are affected by a similar absence?
“The children in these families are additionally affected, in that they are often separated from one of their biological parents (genetic orphans) AND from one of their primary caregivers. They are affected by the absence of two key people in their lives.”
How are fathers (or mothers) alienated from their children?
“Mainly by a harmful legal system that removes a parent from the life of a child, and an abusive parent who instills both hate towards the other parent and self-hate in the child.”
Why do you think it is important for a child to have a relationship with both parents?
“For their physical, psychological/emotional, social and spiritual well-being, and for their optimal development in each of these areas.”
Why do children act out when there is a parental separation?
“Sometimes they want to keep their family together, but often it’s a reaction to being exposed to parental conflict and/or being threatened with the loss of a parent.”
What can generations to come do to prevent the negative consequences of parental alienation?
“They can share the care of their children, before or after divorce. Our laws also need to change to recognize parental alienation as a form of child abuse, and protect these children from this form of abuse.”
For more information about parental alienation, visit the Parental Alienation Awareness Organization.
To read more from Edward Kruk, click here.