Duffsmom, I agree with you that if the father is mentally unstable and capable of hurting the child, he should not be allowed access, for sure.
I think that abuse of the mother should come into this aswell. I do not think that any child should be subjected to watching his/her father abusing his/her mother, whether it be physical or emotional.
CJ Andrews, you are so right in saying that if the father is supportive and encouraging of course he should have access.
I definitely agree that the key is for him to have a close friend or relative as a role model, and for him to have regular contact with that person.
Yes, Iburmaster, the effects of emotional abuse are devastating. They also teach us how not to behave,and make us aware of our own thoughts and look at ways of changing them so that we may become strong, positive people.