Absent Parent Effects on a Child

Written by: Ankita Kathad – MA (Psychology)

Last updated date : October 24, 2022

Parents play a very important role in children’s lives. They are the first providers. They are also the first communicators with the child. However, what happens when parents’ are not there? They can be absent for a lot of reasons. They can be away if they are dead. In some cases, a parent can be absent due to work commitments. Sometimes, parents have to leave their children due to lack of finances. Absence of a parents, can have tremendous effects of a child. Therefore, in this article, we aim to explore absent parent effects of a child. Further we understand the psychological effects of not having a father.

We will first understand the role parents play in a child’s life. Further we try to analyze the psychological effects of an absent father in a child’s life. Additionally, we will try to list down the ways in which we can reduce this impact. The focus of this article will be centered around absence of a father and the psychological impact of it.

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Chapter 1:

Role of Parents in a Child’s Life

The role of parents in a child’s life can vary depending on the culture and other socio-economic contexts. However there are a few basic roles that most of the parents play in their child’s life.

Provide love, security and warmth

Parents are, in most cases, the first point of contact for a child. They are the persons, a child has social communication with. A child seeks protection from the parents when in trouble. When they feel lost, they search for their mothers and fathers.

Act as Models for Appropriate Behaviors

Parents provide a guidance for their children to act in behaviors that do not cause harm toothers. They show them the difference between right and the wrong. Additionally, they guide their children whenever they falter or have made a mistake.

Further, let us discuss the role of a father in a child’s life to understand how their absences affects a child psychologically.

Like mothers, fathers play a crucial role in a child’s emotional growth. Children look to their fathers to establish and uphold the norms. Additionally, they look to their fathers to give them an emotional and physical sense of security.

The way a parent raises his child will affect the qualities the child values in others. The child basis his interactions with others based on his bond with the father. The patterns a parent establishes in his interactions with his children will determine how they interact with others.

Here is how interaction with the father influences a sons’ or a daughters’ life.


Chapter 2:

Psychological Impact on Boys

Boys take after their fathers’ personalities. From a very young age, boys will look to their fathers for approval. Humans learn to function  by modelling the conduct of others around us as they grow up. If a father is kind and respectful toward others, the young son will develop in a similar manner. Boys look to other male role models when their father isn’t around to set the “rules” on how to act and thrive in the outside world.


Chapter 3:

Psychological Impact on Girls

Fathers provide stability and emotional support for young girls. A father demonstrates to his daughter what a good man-woman relationship looks like. If a father is kind and kind, his daughter will seek out men who share those traits when she is old enough to start dating.


Chapter 4:

Absent parent effects on a child

Parents can be away for many reasons. When both parents are working. When one or both parents are no longer alive. There can be other reasons for parents to be absent. Let us discuss the emotional and psychological effects of absent parent on a child.

Impact on Supply of Basic Needs

If the child is very young, their basic needs will be impacted if the parents are absent. For instance, the child may have no access to food. Many working parents struggle to provide their children with meals three times. This is not because they do not have the money. It is possible that they do not have the time to provide them with food. Additionally, if the working parent is absent, the child may struggle financially. This means that they may not have enough money to finance their education. Therefore the biggest psychological effects of not having a father or parent is lack of bare minimum.

Lack of Guidance

Absent parent can make children feel lost. There are exceptions, of course when the child has support and guidance from other family members. However, often the most evident psychological effect of an absent father on a child is that they find their support system missing.

Children desire to please their fathers, and a supportive father encourages personal development. According to studies, dads’ affection and support have a significant impact on their children’s cognitive and social development. Additionally, it fosters a sense of general wellbeing and self-assurance.

Lack of Discipline

An important role that a father plays in his child’s life is by instilling manners and discipline. This helps a lot in character building. Discipline helps a child to do well at school, professional and in personal life. Absent parent effects on a child includes lack of discipline. The child may display acting out behaviors. They may become impulsive. A father teaches a child appropriate behaviors such as no violence, no hitting or no use of foul language. Without a father, the child may become unruly.

Low Self-Esteem

A father plays an important role in encouraging children. They motivate their children when they are young. They teach them to take risks and face failures. This helps a child’s self-esteem to grow. They learn that it is okay to make mistake. Psychological effect of an absent father on a child includes low self-esteem and lack of confidence.


A father is someone who you can count on. Fathers provide you with a shoulder to cry on. Moreover, fathers have your back when things go south. They are teach you important and valuable lessons in life. Therefore the most hurtful psychological impact of an absent father on a child could be feelings of loneliness. Absent parent effects on a child includes feeling lost and sad. It can feel like a hole in the heart for some people. This is because parents understand us the most.


Chapter 5:

Positive Absent Parent Effects on a Child

Well, in some cases, there can be a few positive absent parent effects on a child. Not to be insensitive but sometimes, dire circumstances make children resilient and tough. Here are some positive effects of absent parent on a child.

Teaches independence

Sometimes, adversity is the best teacher. Psychologically, absent father make teach a child to be independent. They may learn to do things on their own. This is because they cannot always wait around for their parent to come to the rescue. Additionally, some children even learn to look after themselves. Although this may not be a desirable consequence, however, in many cases it teaches children to be self-reliant, responsible and brave.


If a child has been facing abuse at the hands of a parent, absent parent effects on a child can be desirable. That is to say that the child can finally be free from the abuse. They can escape the humiliation and torture. In other cases, if the parent has been manipulative or emotionally harsh, their absence can make the child relieved and help them to grow better in a non-toxic environment.


Chapter 6:


The father figure has a big impact on how their child or children’s mental and physical health are. Even though children need both parents, dads are frequently seen as the ones who can have the greatest impact on a child’s development. Absent parent effects a child in a variety of ways. They can face emotional and physical issues. This can impact their mental, physical and emotional development. If absence of a parent has affected you or any child you know, help is available. As discussed, absent parent affects a child’s self-esteem and confidence. Additionally, the grief of an absent parent can lead to anxiety. If any such issue is bothering you or anyone you know, check out courses at Epsychonline. Courses named Low self-esteem, Chronic pain or social anxiety can be greatly helpful. There are many article addressing the issues of a single parent child. Do check them out.

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69 sections

6-Weeks Self-Paced

  • Educational Content
  • Quizzes
  • Self-reflection material
  • Suggestions & feedback
  • Worksheet, tips & tools to use

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25% discount