Most pregnancy and fertility-related information is for women, which is no surprise. Though men are certainly interested in their baby’s health and development, women are more concerned with the details of their pregnancy, considering they are on the front lines for the entire thing. However, men are sometimes forced to be just as, if not even more, interested than their female partners after the baby is born. Sometimes, there are circumstances that force the father into the role of primary or sole caregiver. If you are a father in such a position, you probably have countless questions about your child’s development. One important question you might have is about whether or not your child’s mother’s absence will have a negative affect on his or her development. Unfortunately, it might.

I recently wrote a post about children born with fathers who are absent through their childhood. These children usually turn out fine as their dedicated mothers are sometimes less stressed and always just as concerned. Children raised without mothers tend to show more emotional problems. Later in life, they have trouble making normal relationships, and they struggle with abandonment and security issues. While the absence of a father usually affects a child’s later relationship with the male figures in their life, studies show that the absence of a mother has a more profound affect on an adult’s relationship with everyone.

Assuming your wife or partner’s absence is out of your control, there are a few things you can try to do to minimize the negative effects of her absence. Try letting your child form a strong bond with his or her grandmother. Chances are, a grandmother would be happy to step into the maternal role if asked. Also, building a strong family bond with every family member is a good idea for making a child without a mothers’ upbringing as normal as possible.

Even if you’re reading this as a pregnant woman with no intentions of leaving the family, consider discussing these options with your partner should anything happen to you. If your partner is prepared to raise your child normally on his own, less time will be wasted as he figures it out. Often, the time a single father takes to figure it out is the time when a child feels very alone and sad. With a little hard work, a single dad can raise a happy and healthy child.

Source: Robert A Hinde et al: Relations Between Mother-Child Interaction and Behavior in Preschool. British Journal of Developmental Psychology Volume 1 Issue 3 pp. 231-257 September 2011