There are many mental health disorders associated with children growing up without a father such as anxiety, depression, and suicide. Unfortunately my daughter experienced each which would eventually be the cause of her death.
My daughter began to question her father’s absence when she was about four years old. She went to daycare a few days out of the week and one day on our ride home she asked why her dad never picked her up like the other kids. This completely broke my heart! She was so young, how do I respond to this in a way that she would understand. He lived in another state, which was no excuse but was the excuse I used for a long time.
I was very present in Shae’s life as well as my grandmother and my dad. She was constantly surrounded by love yet it didn’t seem to be enough. She often times asked me why her dad didn’t love her and she had very low self esteem. I did the best I could and became determined in making a good life for her.
I can recall the day that she was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, I reached out to her dad to let him know the things she expressed with her doctor about him. His exact words, “what do you want me to do.” That would be the last time that I spoke to him until her unfortunate death.
Importance of Dads
Fathers occupy a critical role in child development. Presence in theIr child’s lives from early on leads to better emotional, academic, social, and behavioral outcomes. Children benefit and have a better quality of life when both parents are present and active in their lives. When a child lacks love from a parent they may grow to become promiscuous in the attempt of finding that attention they feel they are lacking. This could also lead to drug and alcohol abuse in hopes of easing the pain.
Having a father helps kids feel secure in their being. With all the facts given, father absence may well be the most critical social issue of our time. Psychology today refers to this as “father deficit” and believes this should be treated as a public health issue and I definitely agree. Race nor religion is a factor in families with absent fathers as no one is exempt. The ugly truth is this is a real problem that I don’t see fading away.
I was a strong single mother for all of my children and gave unconditional love but that just wasn’t enough. I always went above and beyond to try my best to take up the slack for the “deadbeat dad” that wasn’t there. No matter what I did, no matter what my family did wasn’t enough to save my daughter from the demons she battled.
Her short life was consumed with her questioning her own value and feeling less than because “he” wasn’t there. I tried to instill in her early on that it was a complete loss for him and his family and they would be the ones to suffer in the long run. I never knew this would be caused by her taking her own life. I’ve heard that her father has struggled with a lot of guilt over the years. That somehow brings me comfort in a sense but this still can’t amount to the agony my child experienced in life.
I have peace in knowing that I was there through all of her ups and all of her downs. I find comfort in knowing that I did my very best for her and she knew this as well. Our job as a parent is to encourage our children, love them, show affectionate, and to let them know they are worthy and they are enough. I have peace in knowing that I did just that.
Her father definitely failed as a parent and he will be held accountable for his actions on judgment day. I pray that any father’s reading this, that’s not living up to their full potential for their children, makes the decision to do more so that it never gets to a point of “too late”.