Although still highly debated, it is said that the presence of parents, and their involvement in their child’s life nurtures their child into developing essential life skills – guiding and teaching their child about how the world works. According to Brazelton & Cramer, “day-to-day interactions between infants and young children and their parents help drive their emotional, physical, and intelligent development.”
Conceptually similar to operant conditioning, often referenced in biology, parents are the ones that children spend the most of their childhood with, so the way parents behave and react is highly influential to children’s behavior – from positive to negative, or nonexistent reactions. It is likely that children will adapt according to their parent’s behavior.
Also from biology, it can be said that children are wired from their infant period to depend on their parents for their survival, so there is an innate instinct in children to get on the good side of their parents. This means that the parent to child relationship is important on a scientifical scale, as well as a psychological one. This further means that the lack of one parent or another can be detrimental.
It can be said that the consequences of fatherlessness or motherlessness, (or both) include emotional and behavioral consequences. Much research has been conducted that show that the absence of a parent would take physical manifestation and Dr. Gabriella Gobbi of McGill University in Canada has found just that. Her research showed a physical alteration of the brain with the absence of a father in the prefrontal cortex. Her research also showed that fatherless children were more likely to experience anger issues, more aggression, and were more perceptible to drugs.
Despite all of this research, it is known that not every child in this world is lucky enough to have both parents during their infanthood and childhood, so instead of just looking at the facts, it is more important to consider these statistics when making major life decisions. Parents are the greatest influence in a child’s life and no matter the parent, it’s important to consider the consequences of not having one or both parents.