Anger and Sadness of My Children
Mother and educator, Nairobi, Kenya
My experience as a single parent has given me a lot of insight about young children and teenagers on how they deal with absenteeism of their fathers.
My own children were devastated when their father walked away when the youngest was only two years. Today she is a confident young lady of sixteen years. They all handled it very differently. The first born became a high achiever and is doing well today. She never wanted to talk about it and she concentrated on her books, becoming head-girl throughout her school life here in Nairobi.
The second born (a boy) was very angry at his father’s action and expressed a lot of anger at home too. He would bang doors and cupboards to the breaking point. I showed a lot of patience with him and handled him like a teacher because I couldn’t at that point apply my motherhood skills. I let him express himself although there was a lot of tension in the house. Everybody was sooo angry.
The third born too was a high achiever, got to nationals in swimming. She excelled in the sciences. She has never wanted to talk about her pain and she was closest to her father. She is nineteen and wants to study law. She prefers to bury herself in books. The last one, who’s sixteen, now had not really known her father because she was only two years. She is strong-willed and definitely a fighter.
As an early childhood teacher, I decided the best way to handle the situation was to operate with a timetable. Everyone knew what to do at every given time, follow routines and everyone could express themselves and speak their minds. My older brother was always there to listen to them, chat, assist them in areas of difficulty and on their birthdays, sports days, etc.. As I continued raising them and as they went off to boarding schools I noticed several changes, mainly because they wanted their father’s attention. My son decided he didn’t want to continue with learning in the particular school and the father would be summoned from wherever he was to go and pick him up on suspension and discipline issues until I had to change him from one school to another. It was a trying time, but we were able to deal with it because we knew the underlying cause.
Absent fathers cause untold lifelong damage to their children and it’s only God who can take away the anger and rejection they feel. Their need for security and reassurance that they are loved is their greatest need. My children are all grown now and I am pleased they’re settled and doing what they love, but I always remember what they missed while growing up, having no father to protect them at night when they got scared, no father to cheer them on on their special days at school functions or at family functions- the many small- things that matter to them are all overlooked by the one person who really matters to them, their father. I’m sure this world would be a more peaceful world if there were not sooo many angry boys and girls who were abandoned by their fathers. If only fathers would stay and bring up their kids, half the world problems would be solved because there wouldn’t be sooo many conflicts and wars of people trying to prove a point because of suppressed anger and rage. I hope my personal story could make at least one father stay and raise his little boy/girl or encourage male figures to fill these voids in their communities.
Thank you to Josephine for sharing your illuminating and heartfelt experience.
-Neil Siskind, Founder