Bezrukova O. N., Samoylova V. A. Father absence in young Russian families raising children with disabilities, p. 96-112

The article analyzes the specifics of father absence in young mothers’ perception whose families raise children with disabilities. The absent person is a father missing in the life of a child de facto, i. e. physically and psychologically (a father who does not live in the family, does not care for and does not communicate with the child, is unknown to the mother and the child) and de jure, i.e. legally and on formal grounds (a father who does not establish paternity links, does not pay alimony, does not raise children after a divorce / breakup of partnership). The group of absent fathers with disabled children splits into “runaway” and “disengaged” ones. The background of alienation on the part of fathers from
childcare in case of disabled children is the unwillingness to take care, the lack of a sense of paternal duty, lack of responsibility and rejection of obligations. The paternal identity of these fathers has not developed, with some of them behaving negative or being infantile. It is typical for them to lack responsibility, resilience, and skills for solving life issues independently. The key individual characteristics of absent fathers are personal immaturity, egocentrism, infantilism, and emotional callousness. The fathers’ attitudes limit their participation and concern
for the child’s issues. It reflects in the practices of avoidance, escape, ignoring, and rejection. The nature of gender attitudes of absent fathers is traditional. At the same time, the authors noted the reluctance to fulfill the traditional roles of the breadwinner, wage earner, and protector. They are likely to express “impoverished” paternity, an objective attitude towards the child. The authors concluded that in their marital relations the absent fathers transfer their own experience of problematic upbringing from the parental family. The article shows that young fathers and families with disabled children require professional support that should focus on changing attitudes towards the child, the father’s role, the development of paternal identity, strengthening parental motivation of fathers, and activating parental potential.

Acknowledgements: this work was supported by the Russian Science Foundation under grant № 23-18-00770 “The potential of involved fatherhood in young Russian families: formation mechanisms, implementation practices, and factors of promotion”,
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