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Listening To Fathers Essay

4514 words - 19 pages


Use this table of contents for the model Literature Review to find the section(s) you want to look at.


2.1 Fathers – And a Secure Base

2.2 Fatherhood - The Changing Role

2.3 Feminist Theory – Gendered Roles

2.4 Fatherhood and its Complexities …

2.5 Fathers in other cultures

2.6 Working-Class Fathers …

2.7 Fathers and the Family Friendly Workplace

2.8 Research Question

Chapter Two

Literature review

The literature relevant to research into fatherhood is diverse and describes some dynamically interactive elements ...view middle of the document...

Writers on attachment theory emphasise the importance to a child of forming secure attachments to care givers. The security provided by such attachments will improve the opportunity for that child to be confident, outgoing and secure, and to form secure attachments when adult (Bowlby 1969; Garbarino 1999).
Move 2. Primary attachment can be to both parents (room for the father also)

It has been commonly believed that the mother of an infant is automatically considered to be the principal attachment figure. Bowlby argues that this is not necessarily the case. He points out that while it is,

… usual for a child’s natural mother to be his principal attachment figure … it is evident that whom a child selects as his principal attachment figure and to how many other figures he becomes attached, turn, in large part, on who cares for him and on the composition of the household in which he is living (1969:305).

Furthermore Bowlby challenges an exclusively biologically determined conceptualisation of the attachment figure and focuses on the quality of the attachment provided. He notes that,

Some mothers who were available all day were not responsive to or sociable with their infants, whereas some fathers who were not frequently available interacted strongly with them. In such families (Schaeffer and Emerson found) a child tended to become more intensely attached to father than to mother (Bowlby 1969:315).

The significance of the primary attachment figure is further developed by Biller (1993:11) who noted that infants who are well fathered ‘show approximately equal attachment to both parents’, and these children are more socially adaptable and cognitively advanced.

Bowlby reports on research that includes the impact on children of different combinations of secure/insecure attachment to either one, or both parents and concludes that;

Children with a secure relationship to both parents were most confident and most competent; children who had a secure relationship to neither were least so; and those with a secure relationship to one parent but not the other came in between (Bowlby 1997:10).

Move 3: The impact of father-child bonding on the father – establishing a link to child security/development
Garbarino (1999:52) emphasizes the significance of the father. He states that ‘attachment is one of the crucial building blocks in the process of emotional development’ and that when these bonds are not secured children have trouble learning the basics of ‘empathy, sympathy and caring’. Furthermore children who grow up without a father ‘are at risk for low school achievement, low involvement in the labour force, early childbearing, and delinquency’ (Cabrera & Peters 2000:298) and are twice as likely to be incarcerated (Cabrera and Peters 2000, Garbarino 1999, Popenoe 1996).

Studies on father child bonding indicate that fathers who have opportunities and the will to form strong...

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