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Thursday, 4 July 2013

Absence of Positive Male Role Models

"No matter how great a mother is, she cannot replace what a father provides to a child. Irrefutable research shows that mothers typically are nurturing, soft, gentle, comforting, protective and emotional. Fathers tend to be challenging, prodding, loud, playful, encourage risk taking, and physical. Children need a balance of protection and reasonable risk taking. If a positive male role model is not present in the life of a child there is a void in this area. Children who live in this environment are more likely to be involved in criminal activity, premarital sexual activity, do poorer in school and participate in unhealthy activities."

That is what I have said all matter what a fantastic relationship I had with my son while he was growing up, no matter what a great mom I was and how much my son loved and respected me, it just wasn't enough. It was never, ever going to be enough. My son felt that void of an absent father from around the age of five, though he had a father physically present in his home. I saw the signs of sadness setting in because the  as the years went on the emotional and physical absence increased and when they did spend time together the quality of the relationship deteriorated. At the age of 12 my husband and I separated and my son choose not to see his father on visits, while his sisters had no choice, this being because in the UK children have a legal voice at the age of 12 as to whether they want to see their parent or not. So from the age of 12 the emotionally absent father became a physically absent father and my son was now being raised in a house of females with no male role model at all and feeling very much like the lost boy who wanted to be loved by his dad.

As the years progressed after my husband and I were no longer together things slowly began to change. My son thought he should take on the male role, yet he had no idea what it was to be "the man of the house". All his behaviours while assuming that role were ones that would be negative male role model characteristics. In time I do not think that my son felt the relief of not having his emotionally abusive as well as emotionally empty father around any more and the love and understanding for me was also shifting. He started to feel somewhat resentful of me for "allowing" his father to treat him the way he did and he even goes as far as to say "I am to blame because I married him and stayed with him"...therefore it is my fault.

My son was 12, as I mentioned, when his father left. My son started using drugs at the age of 13. There was a void, an emptiness, a sadness my son was trying to fill and drugs became his answer. Drugs have become everything in my son's life and it is sad. He has missed out on a lot because he hides away from society and reality in his room with his drugs.That is why it is so hard to give up his drugs, take away the drugs and he will feel the void, the pain, etc again. Ironically, though the drugs may have masked or numbed what he could not face, he was never a "happy" drug user and he is a very unhappy person despite trying to escape his unhappiness with drugs.

I could not even attempt to describe how wonderful our mother/son relationship was in the early years right through to the start of his teens. This boy loved me so much, we spent time together, I encouraged and praised him. We held hands and played and laughed and talked together. I went to all the school functions and stood in the rain with his little sister and baby sister just so I could cheer him on during his football games. I encouraged and praised his natural curiosity and thirst for knowledge, buying him books and kits and going to museums that would foster his interest at the time. Whether it was dinosaurs, insects, crystals, space, trains, football I was engaging with him in his interest. I encouraged friendships and made our home an open house to his friends. I praised independence and was never clingy or fearful. To remember hurts and brings on a flood of tears because he was my boy, my wonderful, precious, good boy. Yet I need to remember, now more than ever.

In fact, our relationship was so good that it made his father jealous. At first his father would say how lucky our son was to have a mother like me and that he would have loved to have had a mother like me because he was ill treated as a there was the envy that grew into resentment. Later it wasn't so much that my son was lucky to have me, it turned into a "you put being a mother before being a wife" idea which caused more resentment. We had two other younger children, I was the same loving mother to my daughters, but the were daughters, it did not impact them or my husband so much.

As things deteriorated my husband shouted more and more at our son, calling him horrible names, lunging at him, stabbing his chest with his finger...emotional abuse. I tried to stop it and would stand between the two of them. I would later talk endlessly trying to help my husband understand and get him to see what his ill treatment was doing to our son's emotional well being. He was always very understanding and admitted to the errors of his ways, but the behaviour and ill treatment continued. He would take him along while he taught swimming and our son would get in the pool only to be shouted at and humiliated, coming home in tears. Our son loved football (soccer to those of you in the States) until his dad became the team manager. Then the shouting of insults had a new forum and when our son did not make the goal he would be sent off the pitch and would be kicked. There were other parents who saw, but no one wants to get involved. My husband denied it still to this day. Interestingly, our son since then hates "proper" swimming and playing football in a team! In his eyes his father "ruined" the two sports he enjoyed most. There are endless examples and stories I could tell and it shames me to think just how long I put up with it. I could justify it and explain why, but it doesn't matter, the damage has been done.

Boys need good role models that is indeed very true. A mother's love is not always enough. However there are times when we can't control who we have or don't have in our lives. My son can buy any substance, drug, or paraphernalia over the internet. It would be great if we could order a role model or change our surroundings or rent a grandpa...but we can't.

The article states:
  • If you are a mother you can encourage the involvement of positive male role models in the life of your child.
There were and are no other males in my son's life, in my life, our family's life, so what can we do?

The article ends by saying:

Every child needs someone who is absolutely crazy about them. It is up to us to make sure they have that person.

I was absolutely crazy about my son, but now I no longer like my son nor do I enjoy his company. I still love him and I want desperately for him to acknowledge that he needs help and to accept that help, because even though he needed and needs a father and a mother's love might not be enough, it is all he has. It is all that I can give him and that sure is better than nothing and a lot better than no one loving him! Despite it all, I still want him to "grow up" to be a good man who will look back at his troubled past and be grateful for what was good and right and not dwell on what was lacking and wrong.