I got this email from a reader this morning:
While I am flattered at the positive feedback on the Attachment Parenting Blog, it also struck a chord with the sentence “focused on my world, which is usually void of men”. This isn’t the first time I’ve heard – or seen – this phenomenon, and so I’m going to take advantage of having my own blog to pontificate a bit.
I don’t know if it’s a natural outcome of feminism or what, but as a single Dad I have felt for a while that there’s a great subculture of women who believe that the world would be a better and more harmonious place without men. Any men. And while it might be true that us guys can be aggressive and territorial, I fear for the next generation of both men and women who are growing up in a predominantly female, anti-male environment.
There are definitely some guys who have problems around kids, whether it’s anger issues, inability to deal with children, lack of empathy, or just plain old lack of experience, but I think that only in the most extreme cases is the right solution to cut them out of the child’s life. It might take the proverbial village to raise a child, but it also takes a Mom and Dad to do so too, to create a well-adjusted child who is ready for adulthood.
More importantly, in case you haven’t been paying attention, there are plenty of women who aren’t particularly adept mothers either, and goodness knows I’ve seen plenty of moms yelling at their children, hitting them or just being plain mean while at a store, the park, getting into the car, etc.
Let’s face it, parenting’s pretty tough work and it’s not like there are reliable manuals out there (though there are a million books espousing everything from 6yo autonomy to Draconian consequences for the slightest infraction), but somehow when everything’s equal, it’s men that are blamed, accused and convicted, all without a chance to defend or explain or – more importantly – learn and grow.
So when I see a mom who is clearly a caring parent saying that her child is being raised in an environment “usually void of men” I can’t help but be alarmed. Sure, I’m saddened for the Dad, who I’m sure wishes he was more of a presence in their life (even the most frustrated dads, even those who have no parenting resources at all, still love their kids, at least in my discussions with lots of men), but I’m more distressed for the child.
It’s really not natural, not right, and not a path for a well-adjusted child for them to be in an environment where there are no men. For boys it’s obviously important for them to have male role models to emulate, whether they’re a favorite uncle, a father or a new boyfriend, but even more so for girls: without a man in their adolescent life, they are going to grow up unable to “figure guys out” and are statistically far more likely to get pregnant as teens and otherwise seek the approval of a male figure with their typically exploitive, horny young boyfriends. Not a good outcome at all!
As a single mom, I can totally understand you might have sworn off men after an abusive relationship, a complete jerk of a husband or lover, etc, but as a single dad, I entreat you to think of your child, not yourself. You don’t need to have a boyfriend, but yes, having men in your life, relatives, that cool guy down the street, a counselor from school, whomever, really is pretty darn critical to your child growing up and becoming a healthy, well-adjusted, successful adult.
So where are the men in your life?