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THE QUESTION of whether single mothers can raise their sons to be successful men without a positive male presence is one that has been debated for many years. But what most will agree on is that there is a lack of a male presence within black households.
Statistical research undertaken last year by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) indicates that there are 1.767 million mothers in Britain raising children by themselves, and at least 142,000 of them are black. Close to three million dependent children live in families headed by a single mother.

Further research indicates that children from broken homes are almost five times more likely to develop emotional problems than those living with both parents, and three times more likely to become aggressive or badly behaved.
ONS has also discovered that 48 percent of black Caribbean families have one parent, as do 36 percent of black African households.
These statistics suggest that mothers raising black children alone in Britain face an uphill struggle.
In an ideal but unrealistic world, the mother nurtures while the father disciplines. But if they are separated then who teaches a male child how to be behave like a man should?

Melissa, who is a single mother with a son, believes that women can be both the mother and the father to young males – and raise them without having any kind of father figure in their lives.
“We can do precisely what men do as well, and mothers can teach boys morals and ethics just the same,” Melissa told The Voice.
“And to care, which is often missing most times from the male side. You can’t have a community where men and women don’t care for each other.”
Many young black boys are raised without a father figure and several, such as former Olympic gold medal-winning sprinter Darren Campbell, says it has not done them any harm. In fact, Campbell recently told The Voice that growing up in a single-parent family helped inspire him to succeed.
Campbell, 37, who grew up on a council estate in Moss Side, Manchester, said his mother became his father too.
“I was fortunate that I had a strong mother, who became my mother and my father, and for this reason growing up in a single parent family inspired me,” Campbell said.

“My mum was always aware of our talents. I was always good at athletics and my sister was very exceptional academically, so she [his mother, Marva] worked three jobs to send my sister to private school, because she knew that if she went to the school on the estate her ability and talents would be wasted.”
However, BabyFather author Patrick Augustus, who works with children’s charity Barnardos’ BabyFather Initiative to promote positive black fatherhood, feels that a single mother is unable to raise her son successfully to manhood without the presence of a regular father figure.
“Based on my observation, a lot of women are doing a very good job in bringing up their sons, but if you speak to the child, they hunger for their father and say ‘Mum did the best she could but it wasn’t good enough’,” claimed Augustus.

“Young boys mimic their father and it’s important to have their fathers around to create a balance. For a lot of men who haven’t grown up with their fathers, they take that bitterness to their graves.
“I’ve also seen a few cases where young boys without a father figure in their lives have become very effeminate.”
Research shows that children of single parents are more likely to do badly at school, suffer poor health, get into trouble and be unemployed as they grow up.
Everton Augustus, manager of Lewisham Way Black Fathers Support Group, said:
“I think mothers can raise children to successful manhood without a father figure, even if there isn’t other male role models in her life which may make it harder for that son to recognise his masculinity and to ask questions about many things that happen to them as a young men.
“This doesn’t mean that she can’t successfully raise her son to be a well balanced individual who goes through life without having disputes with the criminal justice system or peers. However, it’s important that black single mothers try to encourage as much as possible a decent relationship with their ex-partner, whereby the focus is on the child and not one another.”

Everton added: “It’s often said that the rise of gun, knife and gang culture in the black community in Britain is due to absent fathers.
“These findings suggest that if fathers were more involved in the lives of their children we would see less negative behaviour.
“We are psychologically, mentally, and emotionally different. Some things are purely biologically based, while others are due to socialisation. This creates a disconnect. With great difficulty a women can do it single-handedly.”
But 36-year old south Londoner Greg Morris, who attends the Father’s Group, said:
“It can be done, however the role a father plays in a relationship is a template for that boy to be a great man.

“As children we tend to either mimic our parents or reject what they teach us because we don’t agree with it, so having a man there helps and teaches the child how a man should behave.”
Campaign group Single Mother’s Self-Defence (SMSD), which provides help for women caring for children on their own, says many women simply don’t have a father figure around – and so need more government help, particularly financially.

SMSD spokesperson Kim Sparrows said recent welfare reforms by the Government have made raising children even more difficult.
“In order to have time to raise our kids, boys and girls, a lot of mums, and especially single mums, want flexible working. It’s very hard to find jobs like that,” said Sparrows, who is the mother of two teenage daughters.
“They are notoriously the lowest paid. Black women and women of colour are definitely the lowest paid of all women workers, so there’s a lot that has to be changed.
“We want jobs that we haven’t got to be working two or three jobs at a time so that we don’t get home till midnight.
The cuts mentioned by Sparrow, which were implemented by the Government in October, mean that single parents with a youngest child aged seven to nine will be switched from income support to jobseeker’s allowance and must actively seek employment or see their benefits cut.
“The fact that they’ve cut income support and therefore are basically saying that they’re going to cut that money and push us out to work – that’s very brutal,” added Sparrow.

Melissa agreed with Sparrow, adding: “With raising a child in this country the only difficulty is financial. That’s it. And of course you want to encourage your child from an early age to choose their friends wisely. But fundamentally the biggest issue is finance.”

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Comment by Big Shot... on June 15, 2011 at 2:05am
Thanx.....@Janice Parker
I agree with you and @Malcolm X (referring to your comments on May/31), very well said.

@Malcolm, @Odyssey, sharing your experiences are so appreciated, good sound examples really help communicate the problems and helps us to find reasonable solutions. Exchanging in this manner is a major way to concur these issues. Much respect to u all...
Comment by Janice Parker on June 14, 2011 at 11:22am
Well said @Big Shot.....realistic point of view, I co-sign.
Comment by Big Shot... on June 14, 2011 at 5:04am
We all know and are fully aware that a women can raise a child but the success rate of a male growing up to be a real man under only a women's guidance is very low with out a male figure around in the important years of him growing up. A women can only attempt to teach him morals and the ways of life with her wisdom, but a women can't show a male how to be a man just like a man can not completely show a female how to be a women. Its just that simple. There are things in life that needs to be shown, talking only goes so far with a youth, they need direction they can interact with. There are men that have made it, but most of that is due to the genetic make up the child has were he naturally gravitate to his masculine side, in these cases mom's job teaching him to be a man isn't as hard, but many others are not as fortunate. They need that male assistance. Some need control physically and mentally, this is why we get a lot of children acting out. The Gov. calls it ADD and crap like that, but all is needed most of the time is firm discipline and structure from the time the child starts to walk.. Just looking around these days in our societies prove that the single mom with the male child isn't that successful when we break down the type of men that are coming up these days. We have a very high rise in males acting and carrying out feminine ways in the last 20years and this is due to males being absent in the home. And girls acting like boys, thinking and trying to be hard, basically lost, searching (many never come out of it, growing up like that learning very late in life cunfused and hurt all the way through.). Even though outside influences are stronger then they have been in the past, controlling actions in the home has always proven to be most effective and more dominant. Up until a few short years ago it was clearly known to be a sin and a curse for a boy to act like a girl and vise verse. Now most women give the ok on this, some even encourage it, but its really due to ignorance and bad parenting (cause and effect). Too many think that raising a kid is only giving them food and clothing, but proper governing and consistency with that is right way to do it.
Comment by DONNY JOHNSON on June 2, 2011 at 8:40pm
THE ARTICAL ASK CAN A MOTHER RISE A BOY INTO A MAN SOME OF THEM DO ALL BY THEY SELF WITH OUT THE FATHER CAUSE SOME OF OUR BROTHERS WON'T DO THE RIGHT THING SO ON BEHALF OF ALL SINGLE MOTHERS OUT THERE GOD BLESS U
Comment by JamRockLady on June 1, 2011 at 5:12pm
@kcrunchone...thanks! :)

@Incognito...Agreed. Of course the "active presences" of both a father, and a mother, is equally important to child's early development. However, at the end of the day, when that child reaches adulthood, he or she must take responsiblity for his or her own actions, and hold themselves, and not "mommy", "daddy" (or lack there of), accountable for their current circumstances or issues.
Comment by kcrunchone on June 1, 2011 at 3:37pm

It can be done without a doubt. If and when things go wrong we should not blame the situation because at the end of the day it is our responsibility. @ JRL very good comment @odyssey thanks for your candidness.

It and all things can be done if you work at it.

Comment by Incognito on June 1, 2011 at 3:21pm
Well said JRocklady and Good Point Amuse Me...

A father plays a vital role in his son or daughter's life, but it's their responsibility to be responsible men and women. I don't think anyone is advocating against or dismissing the importance of having a father. However in response to the article - not having a father around should not be an excuse for a boy's immoral behavior and lack of ambition.
Comment by Amuse Me on June 1, 2011 at 1:05pm
I'm not surprised that the usual moron brigade don't think that a woman can raise a man, as worlQuache said it's about being a human being.  There are plenty of men who raise their sons to be racists, male shovanists, and criminals.  Obama and Bill Clinton were both raised by single mothers, if my memory serves me correctly.
Comment by JamRockLady on June 1, 2011 at 12:51pm

The melanated community is lacking "right of passage" ceremonies for both young boys and girls.  Most other culture have this.  Melanated folks used to do this back in ancient Kemetic days and some of our folks still do this, in the motherland, to this day.  We need to get back to "right of passage" cermonies to signify when a boy becomes a man and a girl becomes a woman so that the immaturity that is so rampid amungst most melanated adults is reduced or eliminated with the next generation.

 

Also, a man is made, not born.  Regardless of a boys upbringing or whom raises him, he can overcome his circustances and "become a man" when he reaches adulthood. 

 

With age is "supposed" to come wisdom and "maturity".  At a certain point, in a boys life, he must stop looking to outside sources to blame for his situation, or circumstances, and take responsibility for his own actions.  It's the mother's responsibility to provide love, nurturing, and the necessities of life, and that's it.  However, it's the boys responsiblity to "be a man" when he reaches adulthood; taking responisiblity for your own actions, holding himself accountable for his actions, obtaining knowldge, exemplfying values, morals and ethics, inclusive.

Comment by Janice Parker on June 1, 2011 at 11:46am
@Odyssey....Thank you for being so transparent in sharing your experience with us.  It really helps to give us a view of life from other's perspective which can only further our understanding of each other.  The more we understand and come to respect each other's experience, helps to bring us into community with one another and more often than not,  exposes the fact that we really have more similarities than differences.  Even in those differences, we get to learn something we might not have considered before and that in itself, is liberating.

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