Six Characteristics of Absent Fathers

Have you ever been called an absent father? Here, you can discover the kind of behavior that characterizes this kind of person so, if necessary, you can take action before it's too late.
Six Characteristics of Absent Fathers

Written by Thady Carabaño

Last update: 15 December, 2022

Absent fathers are those who are unable to connect emotionally with their children. There are many reasons for this. However, determining them can be rather complex from a psychological point of view.

In fact, fathers might provide the necessary food and clothes, pay for education and medical bills, and provide a safe home for their children yet have no real connection with them.

Characteristics of absent fathers

An absent father is defined as one who can’t or doesn’t want to be involved with their child. This absence leaves deep wounds and an emotional vacuum in the child that can affect them for the rest of their life.

These kinds of fathers are usually classified into several types that we’ll list below. If you recognize yourself in any of them, make sure you seek the relevant help. Then, you’ll be able to restore the bond with your child before the consequences become irreversible.

1. Imposing your judgment

This type of father is usually physically present. However, their emotional disconnection is expressed through the imposition of their will and point of view on their child. In fact, they don’t take their feelings into account at all.

Family doesn’t interest these kinds of fathers, and they don’t know or value what their child thinks, although they may not recognize this fact. They also dish out punishments that are disproportionate to the child’s age.

2. They’re apathetic

Although they’re good economic providers, these fathers aren’t involved with their child’s interests or character. They don’t get involved with rules or setting boundaries. Furthermore, they don’t have the right disposition to share their lives with a child.

They’re unable to offer either a compliment or a reprimand at the right time. As a rule, they leave the full responsibility of the education of the children to the mother. They’re also uncommunicative, and their responsibilities are limited to providing for their family.

You might also like to read: Toxic Families and Their Characteristics

3. Emotional immaturity

These are the kinds of fathers who refuse to grow up and want to be eternal teenagers. They see a child as a burden that limits their lifestyle. They also don’t have the maturity to make decisions and specify the boundaries that children need.

These kinds of fathers can’t be positive role models for their children. After all, their priorities are the satisfaction of their own needs, and, when it doesn’t happen, they become angry.

4. They don’t have time

These are the fathers who, for work reasons, aren’t at home. However, they don’t necessarily want to be absent fathers and may well come from homes with positive and loving fathers.

They might delegate their fatherly duties to others because they have to meet demanding work schedules to provide financially for their families.

Unfortunately, although technology offers options to share greater closeness and interest in the growth of children, it isn’t sufficient. Children need to share time with their fathers.

The love expressed on social media or apps like WhatsApp isn’t enough. Fathers need to also have a physical presence and give hugs and words of encouragement to their children.

5. They’re irresponsible

These fathers aren’t involved in the emotional or economic support of their children. Even though the mother presses for them to assume a greater role in their children’s lives, she fails.

As a rule, they’re fathers who dispute their paternity or disappear after a separation or divorce.

That said, behind an absent father, usually lies a childhood where they themselves were abandoned due to separation or divorce. Nevertheless, that doesn’t justify their behavior.

6. There’s an overbearing or vengeful mother

Mothers who complain that their partners are absent fathers should always be asked if they actually allow them to be present in their children’s lives. Indeed, behind some absent parents, there are controlling mothers.

In fact, as well as mothers who take on all the responsibilities of parenting and education, there are also those who deny fathers any possibility of being present in their children’s lives.

The breakup of a couple leads some women to attack the father of their children. It’s a kind of revenge they don’t always carry out intentionally but this doesn’t make it any less negative for the children.

Although the father wants to be present and get involved in some way with his children, his ex-partner won’t allow it.

The consequences of having an absent father

Having an absent father has serious consequences for a child. Firstly, it can cause them problems relating to others and connecting with their own emotions.

It can also provoke in them the incapacity to respect adults or authority figures. Furthermore, it almost always leads to an enormous lack of self-esteem.

Responsible, loving, and positive parenting isn’t only essential for children to grow up healthy, self-confident, and with good self-esteem. It also gives fathers the opportunity to heal their own wounds if they grew up with absent parents themselves.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Dávila León, O. (1999). Políticas sociales, jóvenes y Estado: o el síndrome del padre ausente. Última década, (11).
  • Jaramillo Medina, Y. (2015). Efectos de la ausencia de la figura paterna en el desarrollo relacional de los niños santarrosanos entre 7 y 10 años (Doctoral dissertation, Psicologia).
  • Obregón-Velasco, Nydia, & Rivera-Heredia, María Elena. (2015). Impacto de la migración del padre en los jóvenes: cuando la migración se convierte en abandono. CienciaUAT10(1), 56-67. Recuperado en 05 de febrero de 2019, de
  • Zuluaga, D. M. M., Hincapié, N. C., & Carmona, N. D. M. (2016). Enfrentando la ausencia de los padres: recursos psicosociales y construcción de bienestar. Revista Colombiana de Ciencias Sociales7(1), 181-200.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.