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File:My Father.jpg
Father with child

Father with child

A father is defined as a male parent of an offspring.[1] The term "paternal" refers to father, parallel to "maternal" for mother.

According to anthropologist Maurice Godelier, the parental role assumed by human males is a critical difference between human society and that of humans' closest biological relatives - chimpanzees and bonobos - who appear to be unaware of their "father" connection.[2][3]

The father-child relationship is the defining factor of the fatherhood role.[4][5] "Fathers who are able to develop into responsible parents are able to engender a number of significant benefits for themselves, their communities, and most importantly, their children."[6] For example, children who experience significant father involvement tend to exhibit higher scores on assessments of cognitive development, enhanced social skills and fewer behavior problems.[7][8][9]

The father is often seen as an authority figure.[10][11][12][13] According to Deleuze, the father authority exercises repression over sexual desire.[14] Like mothers, human fathers may be categorised according to their biological, social or legal relationship with the child.[15] Historically, the biological relationship paternity has been determinative of fatherhood. However, proof of paternity has been intrinsically problematic and so social rules often determined who would be regarded as a father, e.g. the husband of the mother.

This method of the determination of fatherhood has persisted since Roman times in the famous sentence: Mater semper certa; pater est quem nuptiae demonstrant (Mother is always certain; the father is whom the marriage shows). The historical approach has been destabilised with the recent emergence of accurate scientific testing, particularly DNA testing. As a result, the law on fatherhood is undergoing rapid changes. In the United States, the Uniform Parentage Act essentially defines a father as a man who conceives a child through sexual intercourse.[How to reference and link to summary or text]

The most familiar English terms for father include dad, daddy, papa, pop and pa. Other colloquial expressions include my old man.

Categories

File:Family Reading Hour.jpg
  • Natural/Biological father - the most common category: child product of man and woman
  • Birth father - the biological father of a child who, due to adoption or parental separation, does not raise the child
  • Surprise father - where the men did not know that there was a child until possibly years afterwards
  • Posthumous father - father died before children were born (or even conceived in the case of artificial insemination)
  • Teenage father/youthful father - may be associated with premarital sexual intercourse
  • Non-parental father - unmarried father whose name does not appear on child's birth certificate: does not have legal responsibility but continues to have financial responsibility (UK)
  • Sperm donor father - a genetic connection but man does not have legal or financial responsibility if conducted through licensed clinics

Non-biological (social / legal relationship between father and child)

  • Step-father - wife/partner has child from previous relationship
  • Father-in-law - the father of one's spouse
  • Adoptive father - child is adopted(not of their blood)
  • Foster father - child is raised by a man who is not the biological or adoptive father usually as part of a couple.
  • Cuckolded father - where child is the product of the mother's adulterous relationship
  • Social father - where man takes de facto responsibility for a child (in such a situation the child is known as a "child of the family" in English law)
  • Mothers's partner - assumption that current partner fills father role
  • Mothers's husband - under some jurisdictions (e.g. in Quebec civil law), if the mother is married to another man, the latter will be defined as the father
  • DI Dad - social / legal father of children produced via Donor Insemination where a donor's sperm were used to impregnate the DI Dad's spouse.

Fatherhood defined by contact level with child

  • Weekend/holiday father - where child(ren) only stay(s) with father at weekends, holidays, etc.
  • Absent father - father who cannot or will not spend time with his child(ren)
  • Second father - a non-parent whose contact and support is robust enough that near parental bond occurs (often used for older male siblings who significantly aid in raising a child).
  • Stay at home dad - the male equivalent of a housewife with child
  • Where man in couple originally seeking IVF treatment withdraws consent before fertilisation (UK)
  • Where the apparently male partner in an IVF arrangement turns out to be legally a female (evidenced by birth certificate) at the time of the treatment (UK) (TLR 1st June 2006)
A biological child of a man who, for the special reason above, is not their legal father, has no automatic right to financial support or inheritance. Legal fatherlessness refers to a legal status and not to the issue of whether the father is now dead or alive.


See also

References

  1. WordNet. URL accessed on 2007-12-14.
  2. Maurice Godelier, Métamorphoses de la parenté, 2004
  3. New Left Review - Jack Goody: The Labyrinth of Kinship. URL accessed on 2007-07-24.
  4. Early Childhood Longitudinal Study 2006. "Measuring Father Involvement in Young Children's Lives." National Center for Education Statistics. Fathers of U.S. children born in 2001.
  5. Minnesota Fathers & Families Network. "Do We Count Fathers in Minnesota?" (Saint Paul, MN: Author, 2007). 51.
  6. Minnesota Fathers & Families Network. "Fathers to the Forefront: A five-year plan to strengthen Minnesota families." (Saint Paul, MN: Author. 2007).[1]
  7. Pruett, K. "Fatherneed: Why father care is as essential as mother care for your child," New York: Free Press, 2000.
  8. "The Effects of Father Involvement: A Summary of the Research Evidence," Father Involvement Initiative Ontario Network, Fall 2002 newsletter.
  9. Anderson Moore, K. "Family Structure and Child Well-being" Washington, DC: Child Trends, 2003.
  10. Osaki, Harumi Killing Oneself, Killing the Father: On Deleuze's Suicide in Comparison with Blanchot's Notion of Death Literature and Theology, doi:10.1093/litthe/frm019
  11. [Foucault's response to Freud: sado-masochism and the aestheticization of power http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m2342/is_n3_v29/ai_18096757/pg_4]
  12. Eva L. Corredor (Dis)embodiments of the Father in Maghrebian Fiction. The French Review, Vol. 66, No. 2 (Dec., 1992), pp. 295-304
  13. Paul Rosefeldt; Peter Lang, 1996. The Absent Father in Modern Drama [CHAPTER 3 - QUESTIONING THE FATHER'S AUTHORITY http://www.questia.com/PM.qst?a=o&d=9916349]
  14. Deleuze, Gilles. Coldness and Cruelty. Masochism. Trans. Jean McNeil. New York: Zone, 1989. pp. 63-68. [2]
  15. Minnesota Fathers & Families Network. "Do We Count Fathers in Minnesota?" (Saint Paul, MN: Author, 2007). 14.

Bibliography

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