Growing Up Without A Father: The Role Of A Father In Primary Socialization

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In order for the human race to persist, it is essential that they reproduce and nurture new individuals. Every institute of the society has its own function and this task is taken over by the institution of ‘family’. The family, either nuclear or joint holds the full responsibility to not only bring a life in this world but also to prepare him for the world beyond his household. The introductory period of a child’s life is considered to be of utmost importance. This majorly includes his interactions with his parents and close relatives. This period determines his overall success in life and is known as the primary socialization.

Primary socialization is considered to be a rite of passage that every child needs to pass through. It forms and shapes an individual’s identity. It familiarizes him with his environment and teaches him the fundamental values he requires in order to live and thrive in the society. It consists of every interaction the child has, every new conversation, and every new act. It is the responsibility of the family to not only meet their child’s financial needs but also to take care of his primary socialization. Since years, the mother has always been seen as the primary caregiver. It had been her job to nurture the child and to teach him the norms and values of the society whereas the father had been considered to be their breadwinner. In some Societies, this still remains the case. Gender roles have been predefined and thus, it becomes the sole responsibility of the mother to attend to a child.

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The father not only starts becoming physically absent from a child’s life but emotionally as well. At the end of the day, food is present on the table due to the tireless efforts of that same father. But does it matter when the father would not be there to share the meal with his child? Is it justifiable if during early childhood, every bite of food that is ingested by the child is fed through the hands of his mother and earned through the sweat of his father? The identities we form are linked to seeing the performance of particular roles of males and females demonstrated by our parents. In such a scenario, the consistent absence of the father creates an illusion of an ATM machine whose sole purpose is to let you withdraw money with no emotions attached to the machine itself. Growing up in such an environment, a boy mimics what he sees and turns out to be the exact same parent for his kids; following the unjustifiable and flawed system of “distant” male chivalry whose sole purpose is to make sure there’s food on the table.

There are households where the father is somewhat involved in the process of socialization but takes up certain gender roles only. For instance, the mother would be seen putting emotional work in the relationship. She would teach the child about emotions and behavior, about what is considered to be wrong and right whereas the father would only be seen playing with a kid for few minutes or hours per day. The father would only be seen demonstrating physical skills. He would mostly teach the children outdoor activities. This can be further divided depending on the gender of the child.

If it is a male then the father would be seen interacting differently. He might teach the child how to drive and during their playtime together, he would indulge in games such as wrestling and playing with cars. If it is a female, the whole interaction would be minimized and only include activities such as teaching how to ride a bicycle or taking her to playgrounds.The research consists of both qualitative and quantitative data. The data was collected through primary and secondary methods. The Secondary data came from the researches carried prior to this one, on a similar topic. They provided a detail historical background and laid the foundation for new fields to emerge. The Primary data was obtained by the help of a questionnaire consisting of 15 questions. The respondents included citizens of Pakistan aged between 15 to 36. This provided the contemporary data needed by the researcher. Questionnaire was used due to the sensitive nature of the topic. Moreover, it ensured that no privacy or confidentiality was breached and eliminated the risk of researcher bias. 

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