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One Parent May Not Have All the Answers

November 06, 1994

Re "Does a Kid Need a Dad?" (Oct. 26): I'm really sick to death of these stories about yuppie women who want it all.

Yes, a child does need a father, desperately needs him and to deny a child a father is the worst thing these women could do. Women who choose to rob their baby of half its identity are selfish and have no idea of the life of questions and anguish they are condemning their children to.

Sounds harsh?

It's directed at myself.

Twenty years ago I had a baby girl. I was unmarried; the father wanted no part of a baby. No problem. I had enough love for both of us. (How many times have you heard that one?)

All was well until the day my precious daughter started asking me questions about her dad. Questions I couldn't answer.

Believe me, the teen years are traumatic enough without having to deal with this. Every time she looked at me, she only saw half of who she was.

Tell these women that their children will ask them what their dad was like. Do I have his eyes? Is he left-handed? Do I have his sense of humor? These little questions will become gigantic gaping holes in their identities.

The only slack I cut for myself is that I was a stupid 20-year-old, not a self-indulgent 40-year-old.

Someday these women will be facing a tearful, tortured young person demanding to know why half of who they are is missing and why this was done to them.

What will they say?

Gee, I did the best I could.

It seemed like a good idea at the time.

I was lonely.

Save it. It won't be enough.




It is conceivable only in a society that has lost its moorings that we can ask if fathers are really necessary. This absurd question can be quickly resolved by simply asking children without if they would like a father.

It is time we got beyond the anger between women and men that is behind this ludicrous issue of the necessity of fathers. We should stop taking children hostage in the war between the sexes.




I was a wanted and loved child, especially by my father.

He started a stamp collection for me several months before my birth, read me stories, carried me around on his shoulders, helped me with my homework, took me with him on his Saturday morning errands. My father was a gifted parent.

He died two months before I turned 8 years old. His death was the defining moment of my life.

The loss of his loving, masculine presence and energy in our home was followed by a cascade of subtler, sequential losses throughout the various stages of development when my father's continued involvement in my life would have provided experience, resources, connections, support and protection. He was, as well, my principal teacher of good character, judgment, ethics, morals, attitudes, values and behavior.

I wrote my master's thesis on how the loss of a father in girlhood affects identity as adult women. Sadly, both my literature review and conversations with other fatherless women have revealed that father loss is the single, most devastating event in the lives of fatherless daughters.


Pacific Palisades

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