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Benefits and Drawbacks of Biparental Care

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Childcare
Wordcount: 2076 words Published: 8th Feb 2020

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In his book, “Why is Sex Fun” the author, Jared Diamond has stipulated that parents play a major role in as far as bringing and taking care of the child (Diamond, 1997, p. 15). There are numerous benefits that are associated with biparental care. According to Klug and Bonsall (2014), this responsibility enhances offspring survival especially during the stage where the parents and offspring are associated, quality of life, and improves offspring reproductive success during adulthood. In case of a divorce, the man has the role of providing for his children, failure to which the mother has the right to sue the father for child support, especially if the genetic test proves that he is the biological father to that kid or kids. There are child maintenance laws that most nations, both the developed and the developing ones have implemented in order to ensure that the child/children do not suffer when couples divorce. Apparently, it is unwise for the author to compare human beings with animals. Precisely, the writer has stated that male animals can be skeptical to the child maintenance roles that human beings observe, citing that male ones rarely care about the offspring. Human beings have critical thinking skills which are absent in animals, and human life is more valuable compared to that of a pet, and this means that preserving the life of an innocent life is by far more important compared to one`s selfish character. Unlike animals, it is challenging for a mother to take care of a child without being assisted by the man in terms of provision of food, shelter, clothing, and security, and this is the significance of biparental care.

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In addition, though biparental care should remain even if both parents have to part ways. According to Diamond (1997), the self-interest of the father and the mother may not coincide, especially due to the fact that both are products of natural selection, which can be a struggle between mates and even between parents and their offspring (p. 17). Precisely, the behavior that is in a man`s genetic make-up may not be the same interests of his female co-parent and those of the latter may not be the same for the former. This cruel fact is one of the fundamental causes of human misery, especially due to the fact that it can result in separation and even divorce among married couples. Apparently, there is a need for couples to take time to learn and understand the interests and behaviors of each other before proceeding to settle down together. Courtship helps couples to learn the behaviors, likes and dislikes, values and attitudes of each other in a deeper manner and evaluate themselves on whether the values, attitudes, interests, and behaviors of the other do match with themselves. By so doing, a partner can manage to established and decide whether or not to settle down with his or her partner, as opposed to settling down first and then start learning the characters of the other (Glenn, 2011, p. 3-6).

However, there is a need for married couples to understand that though the conflict of interest may arise between them, the same should not happen when it comes to biparental care. This is due to the fact that a child tends to have limited chances of surviving if he or she is deserted by either or both parents. Even if such a child may be fortunate enough to survive, he or she will be missing a number of important aspects of life, including parental love, father’s or mother’s care. Diamond (1997) states that if one parent may abandon the obligation of providing care to the child and proceeds to search for a new sex partner, he or she will have advanced his or her genetic interests at the expense of the abandoned partner and child/children (p. 20).

Moreover, when a conflict of interest happens to arise between parents, the choice of who between the two should back down and take the role of caring of the child/children tends to arise, and numerous aspects are considered by each of the parents. Precisely, there are three major factors that influence the choice of a parent to be a caretaker of the child/children, which includes parental investment, foreclosed opportunities of the available alternatives, and the confidence in the maternity or paternity of the child (Diamond, 1997, p. 20-23). Parental investment entails the amount of time, energy and resources that each of the sexes has invested towards the child. In humans, women tend to have a larger investment compared to their male counterparts. The mother provides the egg, which is almost one million times the mass of the sperm that fertilizes it, shelters the unborn child in her womb, provides minerals such as calcium and iron, sacrifices the time of pregnancy, bears the pain of child labor, as well as breastfeeding the child until he or she is capable of eating without her help. Due to this huge investment, most mothers assume the role of a caretaker in case of divorce or separation with their husbands. The choices of most mothers to back down and choose to be a caretaker of their children is similar to that of an entrepreneur. Precisely, most entrepreneurs rarely give up in their businesses even in critical economic situations due to the high levels of financial, energy, time, resources and human capital investments that they have channeled towards from the start (Hall, Daneke, & Lenox, 2010, p. 439-448).

In addition, the choice of mothers to be caretakers of their children is also influenced by foreclosed opportunities. Precisely, after conception, the mother cannot manage to carry another pregnancy until she delivers the first one, and this leaves her with no option but to take care of the unborn child. However, during the gestation period of the mother, the man can manage to impregnate numerous women, and this means that he cannot easily make a choice of being a caretaker (Miller, Hofstetter, Krohmer, & Zhang, 2011). This situation can be explained in terms of the consumers` willingness to buy a product in a market that is dominated by the availability of close alternatives. In such a market, the consumers tend to be reluctant to buy or commit themselves to a single seller (firm) since he or she can manage to get the same product from another seller. Despite this, most women in contemporary society are embracing measures of enhancing their alternatives, even if some are unethical. For example, some women are contemplating abortion if they happen to realize that their male partners are not committed to the marriage, selling away the newly born child to barren couples, taking the child to a children home, as well as throwing away the child (Chibber, Biggs, Roberts, & Foster, 2014, p. 131-138). However, most of these alternatives punish the child more than anyone else and considering that the latter is innocent, it is better for such mothers to sacrifice their happiness and interests for the sake of the child.

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Consecutively, the male can prefer to remain committed to providing for the mother and the child if he is confident of the paternity of the latter. However, in most societies, there are numerous measures that have been embraced and implemented in order to reduce the predominant pattern of men deserting their marital partner due to lack of confidence about the paternity of the child. For example, most societies prevent deep association of a married women with men other than her husband, the presence of traditional adultery laws, high bride prices for brides who are proven to be virgins at the time of marriage, virtual imprisonment of women (chaperoning), clitoridectomy (a form of female circumcision) to reduce her desire of initiating sex, and infibulation (making the woman`s labia majora almost shut in order to make sexual intercourse impossible especially when the husband is going away for a long time) (Diamond, 1997, p. 37-38). However, though some of these measures are necessary for preventing extramarital affairs among married women, the majority of them have are outdated, and are perceived as a violation of human rights. Consecutively, since female circumcision is being conducted within the society by individuals who are not enlightened enough to maintain patient safety, this practice is largely being condemned since it increases the risk of transmitting deadly diseases such as HIV and AIDS (World Health Organization, 2016). Precisely, most individuals who perform female genital mutilation are uneducated, and rarely understands and embrace the aspect of sterilizing the gadgets that they use to carry out the act.

However, though the majority of married men have been committed to providing basic needs to their wives and children, some are propagating unethical behaviors which are not only contributing to marital conflicts in other families. For example, it is unfortunate that some men are acting like European bird species called Pied Flycatcher. These birds tend to be generally monogamous but majority try to polygamous. Instead of being faithful to their partners and children, these birds secretly lure and impregnate the partners of other males, leaving them to care for the born offspring without knowing that they are not the biological fathers (Mixed Reproductive Strategy) (Diamond, 1997, p. 30-31). In the contemporary society, unfaithfulness is one of the major aspects that are not only contributing to marital conflicts but also divorce and separation among married partners (Scott, Rhoades, Stanley, Allen, & Markman, 2013, p. 131). In some situations, the conflicts tend to be intense to such an extent that it results in injuries and even deaths of individuals. For example, when the man happens to know that his wife is having extra-marital affairs with another married man, he may respond by killing his cheating wife, the married man, and even himself due to frustrations. In addition, infidelity is also contributing to the transmission of numerous sexually transmitted diseases including HIV and AIDS, syphilis, gonorrhea among others. Currently, HIV and AIDS has no cure, and it remains one of the major disease burdens in the world in terms of the high number of individuals who are succumbing to its severity as well as the high number of children who are left being orphans (Gardner, McLees, Steiner, Del Rio, & Burman, 2011,  p. 793-800). Infidelity between couples is a major hindrance when it comes to the provision of biparental care. In case either or both parents happen to die due to the aforementioned sexually transmitted diseases, the children will lack biparental care.


  • Diamond, J. (1997). Why is Sex Fun? The Evolution of human sexuality (Chapter Two). Basic Books Publishers, U.S.A.
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  • Glenn N., (2011). Courtship and Marital Choice: Why They Are Important and What We Need to Learn About Them. Retrieved from, http://americanvalues.org/catalog/pdfs/wp-70.pdf
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  • Klug H., and Bonsall M., (2014). What are the benefits of parental care? The importance of parental effects on developmental rate. Ecol Evol. 2014 Jun; 4(12): 2330–2351. Published online 2014 May 12. doi:  [10.1002/ece3.1083]
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  • Scott, S. B., Rhoades, G. K., Stanley, S. M., Allen, E. S., & Markman, H. J. (2013). Reasons for divorce and recollections of premarital intervention: Implications for improving relationship education. Couple and Family Psychology: Research and Practice, 2(2), 131.


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