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Old 08-23-2014, 05:16 AM   #1
ning Female
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Default lack of father figure?

I have 2 boys 12yo n 8yo. I often felt that i did not provide adequate parental support as they lack a father to look up to. Maybe i read too many articles on the consequences of having no prominent male figure in a boy's growing up years.
My boys do have contact with adult males like teachers, sports coach. But no one is a "permanent fixture". I find it hard to find a committed man to coach my sons as well. I dont believe in just getting them a new dad to fill the gap.
How do u cope when u hv male kids n parenting alone as a single mum?
Same for single dads parenting girls alone.
Plse share your thots thanks.
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Old 08-23-2014, 08:28 PM   #2
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Default Re: lack of father figure?

ning,

while I am not a expert in these issues, I can share my experience, strength and hope. I have 7 children, 5 boys, 2 girls. Dad dropped out about 5 years ago. Ages, 13,15,17,18,20,23,26. I have found as families understand I am a single mom, many families step up to fill in both the mom and dad. My kids are very close to a few families each. Yet, I have to say I have lived in my area 20 years which helps with people knowing you and your situation. I feel there is hope for anyone who wishes to grow yet, I wish you good luck.
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Old 08-24-2014, 12:21 PM   #3
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Default Re: lack of father figure?

Hello, I think this is one of those things you can't change. It might change on it's own, but you can't force it.
I do think that worrying and researching excessively are counter productive, and frankly, if you want to find negative stories about just about anything you can. Society LOVES to debate anything anyone dares to say loudly enough.

To my experience, it is not so bad to have a one parent family, regardless of the gender of the child/ren. For one thing, they will not (certainly not here in the states) be the only kids they know walking that same path, but they will also see others who have what they are "missing".

Sometimes they will learn what many of us have - that no parent at all is better than an abusive one.....
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Old 08-24-2014, 01:08 PM   #4
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Default Re: lack of father figure?

As a single dad with all boys I have similar concerns about my boys and positive role models for females. As time has marched on I have found that I don't have to be a mom or a dad, but rather, a good parent. I try to be as good a role model for the boys as possible. I fall short many times....but I always try to do my best. What they seem to be absorbing is that they have a loving parent who is always there for them.....can help them in many different ways. I wouldn't worry too much about traditional roles, just be the best you can be.
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Old 10-04-2014, 04:25 PM   #5
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Default Re: lack of father figure?

I truly agree with Muskiedad. I try to be the best I can. I also try to make sure I do "male" things as well, for me it's part of being a good role model and it's also totally necessary - 1. to fixt things around the house, to do some woodwork etc, to play ball with them etc. and 2. to try and be more assertive (male characteristic) than would otherwise be comfortable for me. And it's working - I mean, I'm having rough times sometimes, but so far my boys are doing really really well, even others say so. They do have uncles that live around providing some role-"modeling" but.... they don't take them regularly or anything like that, and thus they ... well they're not a substitute for anything. THey have their own children, so if anything, my boys are likely to envy their cousins who have fathers.
Yet I also deeply identify with ning's concern, and I can only tell you from my own experience (I have a similar situation to you, boys 8.5 and 10.5, I've been alone with them since birth of young one due to abuse), that I started two years ago - and despite the fact I really can't afford much - to give them 2-3 weekly hours with a high-school guy as a "babysitter". At first it was a girl who filled that role - I needed at least one brief afternoon off to breathe a bit and do some work. Only one afternoon for 2-3 hours at the most. So they were used to this and I got it for not that much money. Then 2 years ago when our regular became too busy with her exams, I decided the next one will be male and chose one whom the kids loved because he used to also "babisit" a friend of theirs who does have a father at home - so it wasn't like "just becaue they are different". And he had experience as a scouts guide too and was a senstive guy yet male, with much experience working with kids. And it wasn't like they could mistake him for a father substitute (I'm like you - I don't believe in remarrying just to provide instant relief.... it wouldn't work anyway I'm sure...) because he was grade 10 then - too young for that...

This year we said good bye to him because he finished school and went on to national service, but my boys have a great relationship with him after 2 good healthy years.

Personally I recommend this approach. Another helpful thing was enrolling my eldest to a tennis class (I got help from my mum to pay for it but it wasn't very much) with a local high-school guy who is very good at it and whom I also found a great role model for them as a person. This had a great influence on my eldest without turning into a dad substitute.... as well as gave him something I couldtn't, in terms of a sporty challenge that helped him develop confidence in himself.

I now put my younger one in this guy's new group as well, even though I'm scared how I'll afford it. But I felt it was utterly necessary, as he needs the same thing - as well as the physical challenge - that I with my aches and pains this year can't very well give him. I do play frisby with him a lot, but I can't jump because of pains in my foot since a year.

But this is the approach I'd recommend. Finding the way to provide a closer relationship with a guy you trust and like, who is younger than 18, thus not posing any threat nor raising any false hopes you'd marry him some day....

And yes, I do cry at night sometimes, because of what I can't give them. But I also notice that many children have far less attention and parental presence and care than my boys - even with two at home!!! I do lots with them, I'm fully present in most of what they do, I think about them always, they have a steady home - not rich to be sure, but warm and cosy. I work from home so I don't raise them "by remote control" even at the price of sleeping too little....

It's all I can do. And hope for the best. So far I must say that it's paying back as I get very positive feedback from teachers, friends and people in my community.

I hope it goes on that way... But certainly, it's a challenge - dealing with boys' energies all the time as a single mother. I'm often challenged to my utmost just handling those energies when they feel like letting them out... finding appropriate channels. Regretting I can't just lift them and carry them as I could when they were smaller - they actually crave that!!! and I can't and miserable over that. It would have helped if I could - let them feel some physical strength again, I know they need it (I mean playfully, of course. )
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