There have been plenty of conversations, blogs, and talk show hosts discussing the epidemic of the missing father in black households. Though I definitely agree that boys need their fathers, we seem to be forgetting that the girls need their daddies too!
Raised in a two-parent household, I didn’t understand, until I was much older, the importance of having my father in my life. All I know, or cared to remember at the time, was that he was the strictest man on the planet. I understand now, because I’m a parent, but at the time I didn’t understand that he was under tremendous pressure to raise four girls and keep the high-hormone boys off of us. He was doing his job by protecting his family and providing. Not to say that he was perfect, I don’t believe any one is on this earth, but he did what he was probably raised to do and was necessary as a parent.
Of course, his job wasn’t easy, because as I said, he had four girls to raise and we felt like caged animals with our parents’ strict rules. So you know what caged animals do? Yep, we tried our best to devise creative ways to exit the “prison” called home. We had no idea that what our parents were doing was for our benefit. All we knew was that all our friends were outside, when the street lights had come on, and we were stuck in the house watching them from our porch-screen window.
When I got married and had children of my own, I never contemplated being a single parent. I was raised in and all I saw was two-parent households in my neighborhood. I thought when you got married it was forever. I didn’t know or understand at such a young age that life happens! You go into the marriage with good intentions, hoping and praying that you’ll get along with your new partner and all will be well. But the reality is, sometimes we don’t make the right decisions or that you or your spouse has grown in a different direction and you aren’t compatible any longer; or they are abusive and you shouldn’t stay any longer. This is why I say to women all the time, it’s nice to work on your marriage, but I believe sometimes staying can be just as destructive to your children as leaving is; you have to determine which is worst.
I didn’t understand that, at first, until I started seeing the effect it had on my own children. Divorce is rough on children, but sometimes it’s necessary. As much as we want it to work, if he’s being abusive, you don’t want your children to end up being abused or being the abuser. But being divorced doesn’t mean the father can’t still be an active participant in their child or children’s lives.
Being an active father makes all the difference in a girl’s life. You will teach her, without even knowing that you are, what type of man she should or shouldn’t consider being her partner. Most girls usually want someone like their father, but if they don’t know him, they usually end up picking the wrong man, and sometimes they pick the wrong man over and over and over.
So when you are having conversations with your friends, family or associates regarding the absentee father in a boy’s life, make sure you include conversation that will address the girls as well.
Lorie Hardy is the author of “There Are No Good Men Because There Are No Good Women”. She has a passion to empower women and children in all aspects of life. She is a weekly guest on the “Straight Talk” Internet show. She is a writer and director. Visit Lorie at www.facebook.com/empowerment4life, www.empowerment4life.com, or on twitter @empowermnt4life