“Costless” Fatherhood And CFSWs’ Children

Child sexual abuse

‘Fatherhood’ is a status attained by having a child and it is irrevocable. The term, fatherhood in contemporary research is used interchangeably with the kins fathering- childbearing roles, activities, duties and responsibilities that fathers are expected to perform and fulfill regardless of whether they carry out by biological or non-biological fathers. Therefore, fatherhood is primarily nothing but responsibility and obligation, and, on the other hand, there are men who emphasize the role of children as a source of meaning, happiness and stability, The traditional mode of fatherhood determines a dominating role in the lives of children, assuring a broad range of responsibilities defining and supervising the children’s development. A father’s moral role persists through childhood into adult life. His influence is pervasive and usually exceeds the mother’s responsibilities over the child. In industrial society, the parental control over children begins to erode because men’s economic roles push them outside home and into the market place. Hence women extend their sphere of domestic influence. It reshapes the nature of parenthood and parent-child relations. The exclusive economic responsibilities of fathers curtail their day-to-day contact with their children. It is the changing factor of traditional fatherhood. Consequently, it weakens their tie to the emotional bonds that forms between generations in a family. The fathers are in loose psychological attachment. This father is considered as non-custodial father.

However, father is an important predictor of marital and relationship dissolution as well as child rearing. Gradually there is change in the fatherhood is viewed and practised because of mothers’ involvement in paid work outside household and more pressure on fathers to share more of the child care. So, there is a new notion of ‘modern fatherhood’ which is ‘consistent with an extreme strain of male individualism that reacts to family responsibility as a quiet form of tyranny’. Fatherhood as social capital benefits children’s cognitive and social development through quality relationship between the father and children. Children learn family norms and values from their father and the social network of the children develops through connections with individuals and organizations in their community (i.e. children’s friends, parents of their children’s friends, schools, sports team, etc.) Thus, close relationship and attachment between the father and children as care provide helps to share information about children, supervise and guide children, internalize a coherent set of social norms.

‘Prostitutes are socials isolated and their life is stigmatized. They have no relative, no society and no friend in this universe. In the brothel, the male-female relationship is not a marital, but both of them live together as husband-wife. Sometimes, they quarrel with each other. There are mothers who control the family, but the fathers are not identifiable’

In commercial female sex workers’ community, it corresponds that marriage and childbearing are obviously either in non-marital cohabitation or outside of a union altogether. The roles of men and women are determined in relation to each other, but it is not in relation to their children. Typically, this type of family pattern signals a weaker commitment of women to men and of men to women; a weaker commitment by the partners of their relationship; and very possibly a weaker commitment to their children. It is evident that men generally reject either conventional roles or obligations of a family. We observe that there is a trend in alteration of a partner by Clients of Female Sex Workers (CFSW). Financial and social support provided by father figure is absent or insignificant to their children or it at low level or nothing.

Sometimes, it had been observed that fathers did not completely relinquish their authority. On the contrary some fathers were involved in day-to- day child’s care. But majority of the fathers denied their responsibility of fathering. Conformity of biological fatherhood was insignificant so that men did not want to contribute to support of their children. Even they did not acknowledge the existence of children. The style of fatherhood was  a more distant and detached. It was restricted largely to the role of father as the “good providers”, at least during childhood. But the changes in the family and the decline of good provider’s role come about when social structural changes converge with ideological shifts in gender roles. It states that these changes are in effect- sociologically “over determined”, meaning that changes in the family and in the meaning of fatherhood. Anyway, involved fathers have internalized the “full participation” paradigm. The interpretation is that the opportunity cost of fatherhood is a social pressure for men in CFSWs’ community. So, the fatherhood in CFSWs’ community is “costless”.

 Harasankar Adhikari is a Social Worker


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