Father with child
is defined as a male
of any type of offspring. The adjective
"paternal" refers to father, parallel to
"maternal" for mother
The Father-child relationship is the defining factor of the
fatherhood role. The majority of Fathers are naturally protective
and supportive responsible parents who are able to engender a
number of significant benefits for themselves, their communities,
and most importantly, their children. Involved fathers offer
developmentally specific provisions to their sons and daughters
throughout the life cycle and are impacted themselves by their
doing so. Active father figures have a key role to play in reducing
behavior problems in boys and psychological problems in young
women. 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. An increased amount of father-child involvement has also
proven to increase a child's social stability, educational
achievement, and even their potential to have a solid marriage as
an adult. The children are also more curious about the world around
them and develop greater problem solving skills. Children who were
raised without fathers perceive themselves to be less cognitively
and physically competent than their peers from father-present
families. Mothers raising children without fathers reported more
severe disputes with their child. Sons raised without fathers
showed more feminine but no less masculine characteristics of
gender role behavior.
According to the anthropologist Maurice
, the parental role assumed by human males is a
critical difference between human society and that of humans'
closest biological relatives - chimpanzees
who appear to be unaware of their "father" connection.
Father with baby child.
The father is often seen as an authority
figure. According to Deleuze
, the father
authority exercises repression over sexual desire. A common
observation among scholars is that the authority of the father and
of the [political] leader are closely intertwined, that there is a
identification between domestic
authority and national political leadership. In this sense, links
have been shown between the concepts of "patriarchal
", "cult of personality
". The fundamental common grounds
between domestic and national authority, are the mechanisms of
naming (exercise the authority in someone's name) and identification
. In a patriarchal society,
authority typically uses such rhetoric of fatherhood and family to
implement their rule and advocate its legitimacy.
In the Roman
and aristocratic patriarchal
family, "the husband and the father
had a measure of political authority and served as intermediary
between the household and the polity
authority have been synonymous. In the 19th century Europe, the
idea was common, among both traditionalist and revolutionaries,
that the authority of the domestic father should "be made
omnipotent in the family so that it becomes less necessary in the
state". In the second part of that century, there was an extension
of the authority of the husband over his wife and the authority of
the father over his children, including "increased demands for
of children to the
father". Europe saw the rise of "new ideological hegemony
of the nuclear
form and a legal codification of patriarchy", which was
contemporary with the solid spread of the "nation-state model as
political norm of order".
Determination of parenthood
Since Roman times
fatherhood has been
determined with this famous sentence: Mater semper certa; pater
est quem nuptiae demonstrant
("The [identity of the] mother is
always certain; the father is whom the marriage vows indicate").
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
, human fathers may be
categorised according to their biological, social or legal relationship
with the child.
Historically, the biological relationship paternity
has been determinative of fatherhood.
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
The most familiar English terms for father
. Other colloquial expressions include my old
Father with 2 children
- 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 or cannot take care of one.
- 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
- Teenage father/youthful father - associated
with teenage 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
- Stepfather - wife has child from previous
- Father-in-law - the father of one's
- Adoptive father - a father who has adopted a child
- Foster father - child is raised by a man who
is not the biological or adoptive father usually as part of a
- 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)
- Mother's partner - assumption that current
partner fills father role
- Mother'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
- 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
- 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 1 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
For some animals, it is the fathers who take care of the young.
- Darwin frog (Rhinoderma darwini) fathers carry eggs in
the vocal pouch.
- The female seahorse
(hippocampus) deposits eggs into the pouch on the male's
abdomen. The male releases sperm into the pouch, fertilizing the
eggs. The embryos develop within the male's pouch, nourished by
their individual yolk sacs.
- Male Emperor Penguins alone
incubate their egg; females do no
incubation. Rather than building a nest, each
male protects his egg by balancing it on the tops of his feet,
enclosed in a special brood pouch.
- Wolf fathers help feed, protect, and play
with their pups. In some cases, several generations of wolves live
in the pack, giving pups the care of grandparents, aunts/uncles,
and siblings, in addition to parents.
- Dolphin fathers help in the care of the
- A number of bird species have active,
caring fathers who assist the mothers.
Many species , though, display little or no paternal role in caring
for offspring. The male leaves the female soon after mating and
long before any offspring are born. It is the females who must do
all the work of caring for the young.
- A male bear leaves the female shortly after
mating and will kill and sometimes eat any bear cub he comes
across, even if the cub is his. Bear mothers spend much of their
cubs' early life protecting them from males. (Many artistic works,
such as advertisements and cartoons, depict kindly "papa bears" when this is
the opposite of reality.)
- Domesticated dog fathers show little
interest in their offspring, and unlike wolves, are not monogamous
with their mates and are thus likely to leave them after
- Male lions will tolerate cubs, but only
allow them to eat meat from dead prey after they have had their
fill. Some are quite cruel towards their young and may hurt or kill
them with little provocation. A male who kills another male to take
control of his pride will also usually kill any cubs belonging to
that competing male. However, it is also the males who are
responsible for guarding the pride while the females hunt.
Finally, in some species neither the father nor the mother provides
Father can also refer metaphorically to a person who is considered
the founder of a body of knowledge or of an institution. In such
context the meaning of "father" is similar to that of "founder".
See List of
persons considered father or mother of a field
- Early Childhood Longitudinal Study 2006. "Measuring Father
Involvement in Young Children's Lives." National Center for
Education Statistics. Fathers of the United States children
born in 2001.
- Minnesota Fathers & Families Network. "Do We Count all the
Fathers in Minnesota?" (Saint Paul, MN: Author, 2007). 51.
- Minnesota Fathers & Families Network. "Fathers to the
Forefront: A five-year plan to strengthen Minnesota families."
(Saint Paul, MN: Author. 2007).
- Diamond, M. J. "My Father Before Me: How Fathers and Sons
Influence Each Other Throughout The Life Cycle." NY: Norton,
- Children Who Have An Active Father Figure Have
Fewer Psychological And Behavioral Problems
- Pruett, K. "Fatherneed: Why father care is as essential as
mother care for your child," New York: Free Press, 2000.
- "The Effects of Father Involvement: A Summary of the Research
Evidence," Father Involvement Initiative Ontario Network, Fall 2002
- Anderson Moore, K. "Family Structure and Child Well-being"
Washington, DC: Child Trends, 2003.
- United States. National Center for Fathering, Kansas City, MO.
Partnership for Family Involvement in Education. A Call to Commitment: Fathers' Involvement in Children's
Learning. June, 2000
- Children raised in fatherless families from infancy:
family relationships and the socioemotional development of children
of lesbian and single heterosexual mothers.
- Children raised in fatherless families from
infancy: a follow-up of children of lesbian and single heterosexual
mothers at early adolescence
- Maurice Godelier, Métamorphoses de la
- 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
- Foucault's response to Freud: sado-masochism and
the aestheticization of power
- Eva L. Corredor (Dis)embodiments of the Father in Maghrebian
Fiction. The French Review, Vol. 66, No. 2 (Dec., 1992),
- Paul Rosefeldt; Peter Lang, 1996. The Absent Father in
Modern Drama [CHAPTER 3 - QUESTIONING THE FATHER'S AUTHORITY
- Deleuze, Gilles.
Coldness and Cruelty. Masochism. Trans. Jean McNeil. New
York: Zone, 1989. pp. 63-68. 
- Borneman, John (2004) Death Of The Father: An Anthropology
Of The End In Political Authority ISBN 1571811117  pp.1-2, 11-12, 75-75
- AnthroSource | PoLAR: Political and Legal
Anthropology Review - 29(1):151 - Citation
- David Foster Taming the Father: John Locke's Critique of
Patriarchal Fatherhood. The Review of Politics, Vol. 56,
No. 4 (Autumn, 1994), pp. 641-670
- Alexis de Tocqueville 1830
- WHITE, NICHOLAS review of Questioning the Father: From Darwin to Zola, Ibsen,
Strindberg, and Hardy Journal of European Studies, December,
- Jules Simon
- Michelle Perrot 1990 A History of Private Life
- Minnesota Fathers & Families Network. "Do We Count Fathers
in Minnesota?" (Saint Paul, MN: Author, 2007). 14.
- S Kraemer (1991) The Origins of Fatherhood: An Ancient Family
Process. Family Process 30 (4), 377–392.
- M J Diamond (2007) My Father Before Me; How Fathers and Sons
Influence Each Other Throughout Their Lives. New York: WW