Having a complete parent figure is sure to be the dream and need of all children. But in fact, according to the Religious Life Research and Development Center of the Ministry of Religion, as quoted from Kompas.com, divorce rates in Indonesia over the past five years have continued to increase. Between 2010-2014, out of around 2 million married couples, 15% of them were divorced. Not only divorce, there are many factors that cause a child to grow up without a father.
Raised without father influences brain structure
A study conducted in mice compared the social behavior and anatomy of the brain in mice. This study compared mice that were put together with their parents, and rats that were only raised by their mothers. The mice used were California mice because this type of mouse has similarities with humans in terms of raising their offspring together. Dr. Gabriella Gobbi, from McGill University Canada who carried out the study stated that this is the first time that studies have found that the absence of fathers in child growth can have an impact on the neurobiology side.
Mice raised without fathers experience changes in the prefrontal cortex in the brain, a part that controls social and cognitive behavior. These mice have problems when interacting socially, have aggressive properties that are far more dominant when compared to mice raised with their parents. Research related to behavior change in mice is in line with similar studies conducted in humans.
Problems that occur in children who are raised without a father
Difficult to adjust
Children who are raised without fathers tend to have problems in their behavior and have difficulty adjusting to the environment. Some are reported to have intimidating behavior with others. This is done to hide fear, nervousness, and unhappiness. As quoted by Psychology Today, 85% of teenagers who are in prison because of criminal problems were raised without fathers. When even adults who grow up without a father are more likely to commit a crime. Smoking, drug abuse, and alcohol abuse are also more likely to occur both in adolescence and adults.
Not only related to social behavior, being raised without a father can also affect academic ability. 71% of those who drop out of school at high school turned out to be raised without fathers. Another effect on academics is the difficulty in reading and numeracy lessons as a child and the tendency to be unable to meet academic demands and professional qualifications as adults. Those who were raised only by mothers were also more likely to leave school at the age of 16.
Sexual health problems
The effect of being raised without a father has a greater impact especially on women, those who are raised without fathers tend to have a greater risk of experiencing sexual health problems. These include the possibility of having sex for the first time at the age of 16 years and having a sexually transmitted disease, becoming a parent in adolescence, to become the subject of exploitation by men later on.
Exploitation and abuse
Children who are raised without fathers have a higher risk of suffering physical, emotional, or sexual abuse problems. They have a five times greater risk of experiencing physical violence and emotional violence. A study shows children aged 3-5 years who do not live with their biological parents have the possibility of experiencing sexual violence 40 times greater than those who live with both biological parents.
Physical and mental health problems
The absence of a father in growth and development also affects the physical and mental health of the child. Asthma, headaches, and abdominal pain are types of diseases commonly experienced by children who are raised without a father. Unexplained pain also often occurs, this is associated with psychosomatic disorders in which diseases that arise are related to the mind and physical state. While anxiety, depression, and suicidal tendencies are also more likely to occur in children raised without fathers.
Problem with responsibility
As adults, those who are raised without fathers tend to be unemployed, have low income, even have no place to live or are homeless. 90% of children who run away from home and live on the street or shelter usually do not have a father. Relationships with the opposite sex are also disrupted, tend to be more likely to divorce or have children outside of marriage.
All studies related to the absence of fathers in child development want to emphasize the importance of fathers, especially during the growth of cells and nerves in the brain, because the absence of fathers can lead to disruption in social behavior and can survive into adulthood.
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