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Absentee Parents

Like all kids I came from a mother and a father. Like most kids I was raised without a father. This was something that for the bulk of my childhood, caused me to have a lot of complexes and issues. I had my mother in my life for parts of my childhood but was raised by my grandparents. I never understood why my father wasn’t in my life and I never got a good answer. Honestly, I was 31 when I wrote this. Now I am 36. Once I turned 25 years old, I no longer gave a damn about that or anything/anyone associated with the man, whom I refer to as my mother’s sperm donor LOL! I needed closure, I received it, and moved on. I wish him no ill will and find no reason to be in each other’s lives.

When I was a child, I was jealous of my cousins, friends, or anyone who had their father in their lives. Especially if I saw how much of a bonded relationship they had. My jealous feeling was never malicious and wasn’t something I consistently felt, because of my grandfather. My grandfather and one of my uncles (my grandparent’s 3rd son) stepped in and in a big way to provide me with the sense of fatherhood. My grandfather took me fishing, took me to work with him, spoiled me (LOL), supported me in everything I did, and always encouraged me. My uncle was awesome. He has 5 kids but always treated me like I was one of his, as did his wife (my aunt). He too always supported me and taught me quite a few things. I’ve always been extremely close to his children, especially his oldest.

My relationship with my grandfather and uncle wasn’t perfect, but nothing in life is. I’ve always loved and appreciated these individuals for the significance that they had in my childhood. However, there was still a void there. I remember the episode of Fresh Prince of Bel-Air when Will Smith’s father popped up into his life. He strung Will along and fed him dreams. Then the ending of the episode when the father pretty much broke Will’s heart? That whole scene with Will pouring his heart out to his uncle was an amazing and emotional moment that I’ve always been emotionally attached to. Even to this day strikes a chord with me.

My mom’s sperm donor has 4 kids, as far as I know…hell it could be more LOL, but I was the ONLY one that he did nothing for….as far as we know. I was the only one whose life he was not in and I never understood it. BUT GOD! I look back over my life and feel blessed. One man wasn’t in my life, but God replaced him with amazing father figures, and had he been in my life I do not believe I would have turned out as great as I did.

I do not think absentee parents understand what effects, emotionally and mentally, that their lack of presence has on their children. Most of the times it is never a good reason. Many times, these parents choose many factors to cause them to not be in their kids’ lives such as: addictions, money, spitefulness, lack of maturity, lack of persistence, and more. What really makes me angry are those fathers who thing they are doing a good job or are a great dad just because they pay child support once a month. First, we as kids do not give a damn about child support, we want bonding and quality time. Second, let’s be real…if most of these fathers or mothers weren’t mandated to pay child support…how many of them actually would?????

Now it is not always the father that is absentee. There are many situations where the mother is the absentee parent. My understanding of a mother not being in her child’s life and worse than that of a father not being there. Mothers who abandon their children tend to be judged far more harshly by society, and by their children, than fathers who do the same though not because of outcome. According to various studies, including a 1994 report in the Journal of Family Issues, children raised in single-father homes as a whole fare as well as those in single-mother homes. From an emotional standpoint, there are no studies to show that children of absentee mothers are angrier than those of absentee fathers. But anecdotally, this seems to be the case. If this is true, it has to do with the fact that although stereotypical gender roles for women have changed, with more men staying home to raise the kids as mom brings home the bacon and father cooks it, societal expectations for mothers remain rooted firmly in the traditional.

Case in point: Although the number of stay-at-home fathers about 154,000 according to the 2010 census is on the rise, women still carry out more of the domestic work, according to a report by Pew Research Center. American culture, meanwhile, is still conditioned through the media and pop culture to believe that many women's greatest desire is to have a baby. When mothers abandon their children, it's seen as unnatural.

The child who has been abandoned by their mother develops low self-esteem. His thinking is: My mom doesn’t love me. She left me, so this means I’m not lovable. The child experiences confusion and asks questions about why their mother left them. They feel guilt, believing that they did something bad that it made their mother leave them behind. In her article, "Daughters of Unloving Mothers -- 7 Common Wounds," for "Psychology Today," author Peg Streep suggests that a woman whose mother withholds love may suffer from low self-esteem, trust and boundary issues, and may have difficulty forming healthy adult relationships.

More than 20 million children live in a home without the physical presence of a father. Millions more have dads who are physically present, but emotionally absent. If it were classified as a disease, fatherlessness would be an epidemic worthy of attention as a national emergency. According to the U.S. Census Bureau:

· An estimated 24.7 million children (33%) live absent their biological father.

· Of students in grades 1 through 12, 39 percent (17.7 million) live in homes absent their biological fathers.

· 57.6% of black children, 31.2% of Hispanic children, and 20.7% of white children are living absent their biological fathers.

· According to 72.2 % of the U.S. population, fatherlessness is the most significant family or social problem facing America.

Children who live with one parent are four times more likely to live in poverty than children in two-parent homes, according to a March 2011 survey performed by the U.S. Census Bureau. Since moms are typically the parents who take on the primary role of caregiving and housework, it is not unusual for daughters to take on this role in the single-father household, which often causes them to grow up too quickly. This leaves less time for them to focus on schoolwork and fun, friends and socializing, and it sometimes leads to resentment and stress. Whether it is Mom or Dad who is absent from the home, children without one or both of their parents at home with them suffer. Some feel the effects tremendously and others less so, but many children suffer in life due to the absence of a parent.

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