Are you a single mother who worries every night about your children? Do you go to bed each night scared your child will turn into a drug addict and drunk because they have no father to help guide them on a path that will lead to success?
I was raised by my single mother, along with my three siblings and I know she worried a lot about us. But I do remember life before we moved out of my family home and across three provinces from Ontario to Nova Scotia. I remember home life with my dad.
“I hate Mom!” I grumbled to my siblings.
Mom had said she would have our Halloween costumes by lunchtime. I skipped home from school excited to see what she picked for me. I was hoping she would turn me into a beautiful princess. But she wasn’t even back. My excitement had deflated and was replaced with anger.
Then I heard a voice behind me, “That wasn’t very nice to say.”
I spun around, and there was Dad, laying on the couch. I felt so ashamed that my father had heard and seen me speak in a disrespectful manner about my mom.
“If I hear you talk like that again I will be talking to your mother.” He said calmly.
Relief washed over me. I didn’t actually hate my mother, I loved her. I had just been impulsive in my childhood behaviour.
In all my life up until now, I have never heard my father yell. My dad was a good father, and his children loved him dearly.
Experts say a young lady will pick someone similar to her dad to fall in love with and marry. If this is true, a father has a tremendous task ahead of him; to be the man he wants his daughter to marry and also to be the man he wants his son to become.
I was always boggled when I would see a young lady who grew up with an abusive, alcoholic father, marry someone just like him. As humans, we tend to gravitate towards familiarity. Continuing in the life we know best, in some strange way, in our mind it seems most comfortable. Or for some young ladies, there is a sense of, “I don’t deserve better.”
I lived with my father till I was ten, which was long enough to know what I wanted in a husband who was a lot like my father. I married Vance, a six-foot-three-inch teddy bear and we will be married thirty years in June. I love this man very much!
But what if a girl grew up without a dad? How would she decide what a good man is? Many children who are raised without fathers or grandfathers, may not have positive male influences in their lives. They may have also never witnessed a loving married couple interact with each other in a healthy environment.
I was watching a video on Netflix called The Heart Of Man. In this documentary, experts talked about interviewing sexual predators. One of the men they interviewed had shared his tactics for sifting through girls and deciding which ones to target. The man said he would walk up to a girl and tell her she was beautiful. If she said “Thank you,” he would leave her alone. If she hung her head and said, “No I’m not.” he knew he could capture her. Why? Because she needed affirmation. That is how he would lure these girls in. He could lure them in with the very thing their father’s hadn’t given them…praise and affirmation.
Vance has been great at giving our two daughters Charity and Aryanna affirmation. From the time they were little he told then they were smart and pretty. Vance gave the girls lots of hugs and listened to all their stories. But there was an extended period of time where he worked far from home and was only home on weekends. This had a profound effect on our kids. When Vance’s job changed, and he was home every night, I saw a significant shift in our children’s behaviours and their self-esteem. Our kids really started to blossom and have confidence.
As I was writing this blog, I was looking for statics on girls who grew up without their father. Instead, I found a website called National Fatherhood Initiative. This site gave statistics on children in general who are raised without fathers and what they are at risk for.
A child raised without a father is:
4 x greater risk of poverty.
7 x more likely to become pregnant as a teen.
2 x more likely to drop out of high school.
2 x more likely to be obese.
Additional interesting statistics on children raised without their father:
- Father involvement in schools is associated with the higher likelihood of a student getting mostly A’s. This was true for fathers in biological parent families, for stepfathers, and for fathers heading single-parent families. Additionally, students living in father-absent homes are twice as likely to repeat a grade in school.
- A study of 109 juvenile offenders indicated that family structure significantly predicts delinquency. Additionally, adolescent boys with absent fathers are more likely to engage in delinquency than those who are present.
- Even after controlling for community context, there is significantly more drug use among children who do not live with their mother and father. Additionally, individuals from father-absent homes are 279% more likely to carry guns and deal drugs than peers living with their fathers.
You can visit their website to check out the sources that back up these statistics: National Father Initiative.
These statistics are a glaring testimony of the impact fathers have on their children and their futures.
You may be a single mom who has been punishing your ex by keeping him away from his children. In reality, you are actually hurting your child and putting them at greater risk for failure in their teenage and adult years. If your children have a decent father you as their mother can give them a bright future by encouraging them to spend time with their dad.
But if your children have no father in their life, what can you do?
1.Enroll your children in church programs that have male role models, like Awana, youth groups or Sunday School.
2.If you have a local YMCA, your child can participate in sports with men who coach. Having a male coach who organizes the team, gives them affirmation, guidance and advice can go a long way in a child’s life
3. Grandfather’s, Uncles and family friends who are men you trust are the next best thing to having a dad. My grandfather was a huge catalyst in building my self-esteem. My Uncle John was also a major influence in building me up as a young woman. Read about how he greatly influenced me in my post, Beauty and Selfies: Filtering Our Obsession. Click: HERE
4. Summer Bible Camps are an excellent way for your child to see strong male leaders. Most camps run for a week, but some will allow your child to attend for two weeks.
5. Ask your pastor if he could recommend an older gentleman who might be willing to be a surrogate grandpa to your child.
6. PRAY- this is more important than the five pieces of advice above. Prayer can move mountains and transform your child into a confident, successful adult with or without a father.
You may have read the statistics further up and felt discouraged immediately. This does not mean your child will fall into these numbers. One of your greatest weapons against the world that wants to swallow up your child is YOU!
If you are a loving mother, who shows her children they are the sun, moon and stars to her, your love will conquer those numbers and slash them down to near zero. Many single mothers have raised amazing kids. With your love, prayer and a few male role models, your child can become a great influencer and a world-class human being.
You’ve got this, God has your back💗
Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it. – Proverbs 22:6