Growing up without men

Filed under: Just For Dads, Divorce & Custody, Development/Milestones: Babies, Sex

Some people can't get out of bed without knowing that a cup of coffee is close by. I cannot get out of bed until I hear the reassuring sound of Andy Barrie, host of my local public radio show, CBC's Metro Morning.

This week on Metro Morning, they have been discussing an epidemic that breaks my heart into tiny shards. In the last 40 years, the amount of children growing up without fathers has doubled to approximately 35% in the United States. The consequences of not having a male role model are far-reaching. Girls may seek the male affection they lacked by being promiscuous. Boys might seek out other father figures in gangs.

No one has felt the effects of this more than the black community. According to the series, it is estimated that two out of three Jamaican-Canadians are being raised fatherless. There have been some amazing guests discussing this particular community and thanks to the magic of the internet you can catch them all here. I was particularly struck by Tuesday's guest, Professor David Popenoe from Rutgers University, who talked about the importance of marriage as an attempt to tie the father to the mother-child bond. I for one had never thought of it that way.

I'm not sure I agree with everything I've been hearing. I've known a lot of people who've grown up with single mothers who turned out to be fantastic and productive members of society. I think that personality, attitude and the right support have a lot to do with how each person's story turns out. But I also think there is merit to a lot of what they are talking about, and I commend the CBC on tackling such a hot button topic and dealing with it so fairly.

At the end of the day, the children are the most important thing. We need to collectively come up with ways to keep kids from falling through the cracks. Any ideas?

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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.