The Absent Father
Why doesn’t daddy love me? I spent many years hearing that painful question from my two daughters. Sadly, I had no answer. In cases where Dad has died, another male can step in and take that father figure place. Unfortunately, we see more and more cases of men simply abandoning their responsibilities, leaving willfully, while the single mom is left to pick up the pieces.
Often times, when a father is absent, there is no structure. There is pain, despair and higher risk of drug or alcohol problems for children. There are different consequences for boys than girls but both suffer equally when Dad abandons the children.
· Consequences for daughters:
o Low self esteem.
o Disrespect towards moms.
o Poor school performance
As a daughter who grew up without a father, I always wondered: What’s wrong with me? I suffered emotionally and had difficulty making friends. “Researchers agree the females who lack father figures are more prone to experience diminished cognitive development and poor school performance “. (Grimm-Wassil, 1994, p. 149).
· Consequences for sons:
o Look for “manhood” in gangs.
o Who will teach the son how to become a man?
o Risk of “Like father, like son” – the son may grow up to abandon his own children as well.
It is very clear how the sons without dads usually behave. We see it on the streets and sadly, in the prison population. “Because of the clear importance of peer relationships in the lives of adolescents, it would seem appropriate to give serious consideration to the impact of father absence on male adolescents…” Hughes and Noppe (1991)
· Can’t get a job
· I’m a minority – they discriminate against me.
· “She” just wants money … it doesn’t go towards my child.
· I can’t get along with her.
The blame game is nothing more than that – a game. If you are a father, don’t play games or lay blame, take responsibility for your actions. The actions of the mother are not your responsibility.
Agents of Change
“Whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you are right” – Henry Ford
We can solve this problem when we passionately commit ourselves to affecting change. When “society” decides that children deserve better, we become agents of change. Some parents may feel that they have their own children to worry about. They may feel it is not their responsibility. Let me remind you, these fatherless children represent our future world.
There are a few men of great integrity and success that grew up without fathers. In fact, the President of the United States [ Barack Obama ] grew up without a father. The famous neurosurgeon Ben Carson grew up in poverty and without a father too. Both men defeated the odds and went to become very successful. Sadly, these two stories are the exception, not the rule.
Hilary Clinton once said, “It takes a village” … I emphatically agree! You might read that statement and this entire article and ask yourself, “Why should I help?” Well, put yourself in the position of that young child. Whether you grew up with a father or not, you remember. Whether it was good, bad or somewhere in between, you know how it felt as a child. Is it your responsibility to make a difference? Maybe it is or maybe it isn’t … but what is stopping you from stepping up?
Yes, it will be challenging getting involved. Perhaps you are reading this and you are that absent father. Do you want your son or daughter on the streets, in gangs, performing poor in school or at worst, ending up in rehab? If you are like most of us, you want your children and all children of the world to have a better life than you and our forefathers. So, get up and kick doubt or fear in the face. Our innocent children, worldwide, deserve it!