The Package Deal

The traditional view about fatherhood is that it is a component of a “package deal” where the relationship between the father and the mother determines the father’s relationship with the child (Tach, Mincy, & Edin, 2010). Evidence suggests that, over the past two decades, about 80 percent of non-marital births were to couples who in the past had other romantic relationships. In the end, the relationship between fathers and mothers tend to dissolve especially after the first year of the birth of their baby.

The men who attempt to father outside the context of a marriage have difficulty in getting involved with their children. This gets worse if the fathers have familial responsibilities that compete with creating a relationship with the child. Thus, it is a fact that the relationship will decline after the father’s breakup with the mother. Various authors indicate that reasons as to why the child contact relationship declines relates to the fact that fathers may get involved with other partners (Tach, Mincy, & Edin, 2010).  These transitions into new relations create barriers to (Rosenberg & Wilcox, 2006) fathers’ involvement.

Other studies have indicated on the impact of the mother and father relationships and how it influences the development and the outcome of the child. Rosenberg & Wilcox (2006) notes that if a father maintains a close relationship with the mother, then it is likely that the father gets involved in the welfare of the children. This means that involvement emanates from the relationship that exists between the parents. The work of Cherlin (2004) provided a review on the transitions in marriage and how they have affected the relationship between children and their fathers. For instance, the changes in the marriage institution like in terms unions of cohabitation, and the same sex marriages that have emerged. In addition, as fathers attempt to have relationships outside the framework of marriage, in terms of romantic relationships with new partners, and co-residential union, they have difficulty in interacting with their children (Tach, Mincy, & Edin, 2010).

In addition, normative barriers also explain why this contact with the child declines. This emanates from the normative expectations about family behavior that guide and at the same time constrain father’s behavior (Cherlin, 2004). These expectations also call upon the mother to remain co-operative in order to ensure that the contact of the child and the father occurs. It is vital to note that this “package deal” remains intact because of the societal normative. For instance, when the mother and the father enter into new “family like relationships” (Tach, Mincy, & Edin, 2010), they feel obligated under the pressures of enacting the existing cultural norm. This is in terms of maintaining the societal expectations and norms by making sure that there is no interference with the prior partners and children from the past relationships. Evidence suggests that this is even more in couples with children outside their marriage. Mothers also cut the contacts with the old partners in favor on the new ones who assume the father’s role (Tach, Mincy, & Edin, 2010).

One of the other factors that indicate the relationship with mothers determines father’s involvement with the child is divorce. Various studies indicate that once divorce happens, and as soon as the parents of the child remarry the father’s involvement in terms of support payments reduce. This is a clear indication of the breaking marital bond that could enhance father involvement.

In conclusion, it is evident that the involvement of the father in the welfare of the child highly depends on the relationship with the mother. It is vital to remember that the factors that keep the mother-father relationship will determine the father’s involvement. Divorce, marriage transitions in terms of remarriage and new romantic relationships, constitute some principal factors that have an impact on the relationship between these two parents. Thus, as the father and the mother move into new relationships, this contact with the children stops.

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