Reader Katie asked me a question the other day. Such a question deserves an answer:
So I have a question for you, Adam. Given that divorce is always to be avoided if at all possible, sometimes families are still broken. Sometimes the husband still decides it’s best for him to leave. Are there things you think a mother can do better or worse in a single mother situation? I would presume respecting the father still, doing everything possible to make sure he’s a positive and present force in his children’s lives. But what other things would you say? From your own experience, or just as a thought experiment, what is the best an unwilling single mother can do once she is in that situation? For daughters and sons both, but particularly sons. Thanks.
I think that this is interesting in the sense that her assumption is that sons need their father more. While it is true that sons need a father, I believe that girls are more damaged by an absent father. They don’t call it daddy issues for nothing.
All children need their fathers, that is beyond dispute in a normal world. But we do not live in normal times so the ‘we don’t need no stinking fathers’ trope ironically points a finger at an all too common modern problem. There are less fathers because we have ceded power to the government who now takes care of us with money taken from unwilling taxpayers. Mothers can leech more money when single than with a stable family unit. That is the pervasive reality.
But Katie asks from the viewpoint of a woman who is an unwilling single mother. And her question is heartfelt and genuine, and it is relevant; even on a site like this for men. Because many men will be tempted to hook up with a single mother. But a single mother always has kids and they are affected by every breath that passes through their home.
Many women drive away fathers from the lives of their children, as Katie acknowledges in her question. To fix that problem alone would solve a great number of the issues that children from broken homes face. But the sad fact is that something broken cannot be made as it once was, no matter the intentions or the circumstances of the break.
For boys, they need a masculine presence in their lives. That much is obvious, to us at least. I believe that the best place to look for that is family. If the absent father cannot provide it then an uncle just might. Oftentimes the boy will choose his mentor if there is a mentor available to choose. I would avoid all organised outside groups of any type. As Vox Day recently said, predators go where the prey is. So family or family friends is where it’s at, or at least where you should begin. It can be enough to go camping, hunting or fishing. Perhaps a weekend sport activity that the families can engage in. When I was growing up it was whitewater kayaking. Those weekends away made a big difference to me in my early and even later teenage years. They were critical.
But girls, geez the girls. They’re the ones that go off the rails when their relationship with their daddy is broken or damaged. I have been the focus of young girls before whose father was missing, say around the age of 10 or 11. They latch onto you, particularly when they detect that you have a strong masculine presence, and boy do they have a radar for it. Boys need that presence but girls actively yearn for it. They need it with every fiber of their being, and if they don’t get it in the normal healthy way then they’re going to get it another way later on that is probably not healthy at all.
And their mums don’t like it. Mothers have a normal protective instinct for their daughters, and that of course is entirely rational and reasonable. But it also means that the girls don’t get the masculine energy that they really need because the mothers block it all out as they can’t tell if the focus of the attention will turn out to be healthy or dangerous. I remember one single mother that I knew a decade ago back in Australia. She had an 11 year old daughter, a lovely young girl. My ex-wife and I visited her a few times and the girl would just be enamored with me. I did my best with the situation but it was tricky as mother was extremely suspicious.
The girl just needed that strong male role model. She’s probably all screwed up now, or sideways, or both.
There are no easy answers which is why divorce is not a good thing in any shape or form. So this is all that I have. Perhaps my readers can add some wisdom to the subject. After all, I do not have children which in my situation is a blessing. For them.