The Harmful Effects of Absent Fathers or Father Figures
Let me start by saying that I am NOT saying let's encourage deadbeat dads to have relationships with children we know they do not want. This post is about dads who once played a substantial role in your child's life and now is next to nonexistent. Except for when it "counts" like birthdays and holidays.
Many single moms struggle with whether or not to keep trying to get absent fathers to play a more active role in their children's lives. For most, it's a no-brainer. Why would I want someone in my kids' life who doesn't want to be there? And for others, they know that their child would benefit from having both parents in their life.
Love it or hate it, children have a right to have a relationship with their fathers. I mean, why wouldn't we want them to. Statistics show that too many children suffer from psychological effects of growing up fatherless. Children require love and support from both parents, and unfortunately, that's not always the case.
Due to some unforeseen circumstances, many single moms become solo moms. Moms with no kind of co-parenting or hand-off schedule. We go from sharing all the responsibilities to wondering how in the hell does someone just disappear when it matters most. Then reappear for all the easy shit.
Even though we recognize that children do have the right to see their dad, if there is a legitimate safety concern, or he's not that stable, I wouldn't encourage a relationship. Children need stability and they need to be able to rely on their fathers.
At the same time, fatherless children are more susceptible to depression, perform poorly in school, have low self-esteem, prone to aggression, may commit suicide or incarceration. Statistics reveal that girls are more inclined to abuse drugs, while boys become more aggressive. This is data that suggest these single moms are living in poor neighborhoods and no access to healthcare to treat her children mental illness.
Just ask yourself, if this is what's best for my child in the long run? You know that a fathers role is crucial in the upbringing of a child. Especially because of how men and women parent differently. Eliminating the father all together does give children a disadvantage. Some mothers choose to simplify their words, while fathers use no filters.
Children will need to understand both styles as they enter the adult world. Furthermore, fathers help children prepare for the brutality of the real world, while mothers strive to shield them from it. This will also be necessary when entering into adulthood.
Be that as it may, in a situation where it's not possible for the bio dad to be present for these lessons, remember community. It takes a village to raise a child. Do you have mentors, coaches, brothers, cousins or uncles that would make the perfect stand-in positive role model for your child?
These men can help guide your child and give him a new outlook on the world that can neutralize the risks of growing up in a single-parent home. Young boys who have a father figure in their lives are less likely to act out. While our girls tend to be more confident.
All things considered, despite the psychological disadvantages and statistics, you ultimately have some control over your child's fate. You have the capability to make sure your child is well-balanced physically, emotionally and mentally healthy. And grows up in a safe and stable environment.
We as mothers have to work overtime developing and nurturing characteristics in our children. They will need help, not just from you, but your community. Help in pointing them in the direction of their goals and some common sense tips for when the road gets tough.
Our children watch us closely and absorb our "lessons" without words. We have the power to show them how to be affirmative, hard-working and empowered individuals.