Without the role of a strong, loving and supportive father figure in the house it can break a family and cause significant damage to the child mentally and cause a lap in many areas of their life. There are very instances where families flourish and do just fine without a present and attentive father figure in the home but more most families this is sadly not true.
Growing up without a parent (father) can negatively affect a child’s ability to feel happiness in their lives and lead to life long mental health issues. (Romero) Countless children perceive them selfs as less than others who have active and attentive fathers in their home life. This sadly can lead to major suicidal ideations and depression.
Many psychological studies show that children growing up without fathers in their homes and lives are more likely to become aggressive, impulsive and quick to anger. (Meyers) With these feelings of loss and abandonment can also turn into hatred of others who have the life they do not have.
This absence of fathers leads kids to blame themselves when their dad leaves the home and becomes less involved in their lives. When children aren’t given an explanation about why dad left, they make up a scenario and jump to the conclusion that it’s their fault. With these prenotions, children often come to resent parental figures due to their feelings of abandonment. These feelings of resentment and anger can quickly turn to problems with law enforcement and the criminal system. (Brown)
These problems that come with the feeling of loss can turn into a child/young adult turning to forms of substance abuse to cope. (Brown) The feeling of abandonment can lower their self-esteem and cause them to put themselves or be put into situations that lessen their self worth and can even threaten their life.
Stated in the U.S. Census Bureau (2011), “children from absent-father homes are four times more likely to be living in poverty.”(Brown) With the connection to substance abuse and poverty, many children that are a product of divorce or abandonment are at higher risk to have a low success level in their personal life and professional life. If they fall down the path of substance abuse they lose the possibility of financial and emotional success. (Brown)
With this relation to a child’s feeling of self-worth, it can be connected to Biff in Death of a Salesman. Willy saw Biff as the perfect son, Biff was a talented football player that was guaranteed to go professional. When Biff eventually discovered his father’s affair he loses all motivation to succeed and it turns his life downhill.
Willy tries to communicate his dreams that he has for his children but because of his adultery and continued downfall, his sons lose hope in him. Willy wants his children to accomplish his dream to become life-able people. But as it’s seen in Biff, that feeling of failure is all that he carries as his identity.
Willy’s lack of a relationship with his own father prevented him from knowing how to be a loving father. Because of this he isn’t able to teach his sons value or morals but criticized them when they aren’t successful. Because of the lack of a strong father and son relationship tension is created between Willy and Biff because of Biff’s lack of “professionalism” in the business world. Willy puts his hope into Biff and tries to dictate his career towards his idea of success (a prominent businessman).