Tag Archive | abandonment

Deep Hurt In The Mind of a Child

I came across a video the other day of a young girl who wrote a song for her father.  Heartbreaking to watch, she spells out the myriad of ways her father has hurt her through his absenteeism.   It’s a heartbreaking reminder that we as a community have so much work to do in order to bridge the gap between our children and their indifferent and absent parents (father and mother).

It’s a painful subject to speak about because I once had to answer my then 15-year-old son who asked me “Why don’t my father want me?”  I was driving at the time he asked me that question and I gripped the wheel in anger and pain.  I explained to him that “I don’t believe that he doesn’t want you.  We had you at a young age and he lacked the maturity and knowledge to be the type of father you need.  I’m sorry that he’s hurt you by not being here for you.”  My son sat quietly, wiped his eyes, and absorbed what I said.  He stated that he understood what I said but he also vowed to never bring a child into the world that he was not financially or emotionally able to take care of.

I wanted to cry because no child should ever have to carry that question in their hearts.  They shouldn’t have to stand in the window crying on Saturday morning for hours because dad promised to pick him up and is once again a no show.  Coming from a two-parent home, I had a hard time dealing with this situation as my son grew up not knowing his father.  He grew up remembering the lies and broken promises. Since the age of 13 he has called him “the sperm donor”.  What a cringing testimony for a child to have regarding a parent!

There’s a study that states Black fathers surprisingly spend more time with their children than originally believed.  In fact, this study states this is the case more than White fathers.  That might be the case but try telling that to the child featured in this video, or mine for that matter.

The ax swings both ways.  There are mothers out there –whom because they can’t let go of the failed relationship—are determined to keep the father away from the child.  They speak negatively about the father to their children and poison their minds against him.  Sure it hurts him greatly but it hurts the child more.  Their anger is so great that it literally blinds them to reason and common sense.

My anger toward my son’s father knew no bounds.  Weeks after the birth of my child he told me “I know you’re going to turn him against me.”  I looked in his eyes and told him “I’ll tell you what… I will never speak negatively about you to him—ever.   Because I want to make sure that if he ever ends up disliking you, it’ll be because of you.”  I am proud to say that I kept that promise.  Even as I drove down the I90 Expressway gripping that steering wheel, wanting to go into a foul-mouthed tirade, I kept my promise.  I had to because my son’s well-being was always more important than my anger.  That’s what moms do—they suck it up and protect their children.

Mother, your child is not a weapon.  You cannot sling them in the face of his/her father to inflict pain.  Look in the mirror and ask yourself why is it so important for you to hurt this man to the detriment of your own flesh and blood?  If he’s not paying child support, take him to court.  In the meantime, put him on the back burner and love on your child.  Don’t bad mouth him.  Half of that man’s DNA is in your kid too. Let it go. We can do better because we have to.

Father, if the mother of your child is keeping you away, you must fight.  We live in a technological age.  If you have time to spend on social media, you therefore have time to research the laws in your state regarding custody and visitation.  You can find lawyers who won’t charge much, will probably do it pro bono, or, you can learn how to be your own Pro Se advocator.  Your child must know that you are trying to be in their lives.  Short of being six feet under, there are no excuses for not being there—none.  They have to know that when they are with you, you are not spending time with your friends or your new lady.  You have to be present.  Your child is hurting and misses you.  Your child is tortured with pain and rejection.  Don’t believe me?  Listen to this little girl because I guarantee you, that’s what is going on in the mind of your child.

Please share this (and anyone else’s similar) story because we’ve got to tell indifferent parents that it’s time to stop being selfish.

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Modern Day Orphans

There’s an unfortunate segment of parenting which creates what I call orphans.  The definition of orphan:  a child who has lost either parents through death, or, less commonly, one parent.  For the sake of this article, I speak of orphans created because both parents are alive and ABSCENT from their children’s lives on a daily basis. When I say “absent parenting” it means either the parent (mother and/or father) are either with the child on a daily basis but is not providing guidance and structure, or the child is living with relatives and neither parent is physically present on a daily basis to provide guidance and structure.

I personally know of at least 2 separate instances of this strange phenomenon in which both parents are not physically with their children.  In both cases the fathers are already not involved on a daily basis with the children because they have relationships and families; the mothers have left their children in the care of relatives and are living in another location—or out of state for weeks and months at a time.  Sometimes the siblings are living in separate homes as they wait for a parent to come back for them.  This is extremely detrimental to our communities.

A child needs attention, nurturing, and guidance every day from at least one consistent parent.  When both parents are gone through choices of their own, the child is left with painful unanswered questions.  One of which is “why doesn’t mom/dad want me?”   Now, some will say that the parents are away so they can find jobs and send for their children and that would be a reasonable response.  The problem with that is often even when one or both parents are physically present they fall into the other category of being ‘at home’ with the child but still not providing much needed guidance and structure.  Either way, it’s a lose-lose situation for the child.

They don’t provide the child with consistent rules: be home by 4, homework before play, chores, or bed time.  Children aren’t being taught values such as honesty, hard work, and respect. The result is a hurt, angry, and broken child who eventually becomes rebellious to the point of self-destruction which will eventually spill into the community.

Our children are the most precious commodity we can ever produce.  They don’t come with instructions, but with the wealth of information available at our fingertips today on the internet, parents today can do better.  Here are some common sense tips:

  • Don’t be selfish. Your life is no longer your—it’s the child’s.
  • Teach them their colors and ABC’s while they are still in diapers. They will be better prepared for school.
  • Hang up the party shoes. If you had a child in your teens (like I did), it’s a real bummer but again- it’s not about you  It took me a whole year to learn that one and unfortunately, there’re adults who still haven’t.
  • Give them guidance. Teach them respect.  Nail that and the rest will come easier
  • Give them structure. Bed time—as in a time they need to be in bed (with stories), curfews, and discipline (not abuse!!)
  • If you are the NON-custodial parent and distance is a problem, SPEAK TO YOUR CHILD DAILY. Even if it’s to say “good morning” and “good night, I love you”. Stay connected.
  • Don’t abandon them! They need to see and be with you EVERY DAY.  Don’t fool yourself into thinking that your extremely bright and gifted child is “mature” and “knows better”.  He/she needs you.

You may not realize it but when you leave your children for days and weeks at a time, you are neglecting their growth and development.  You’ve orphaned them. And that is truly selfish.