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Reply to "Ways Single Mothers Destroy their sons"

Originally Posted by Yemaya:

Actually it will be on OWN on this very Sunday, May 5th at 9/8pm EST.... Like I said, people just need to grow up and take care of their responsibility ie putting on their big girl/big boy draws on.


Iyanla Vanzant

When my young son's teacher asked to see me, I reacted defensively. I was a 17-year-old girl thinking: "What had he done this time? What am I going to do with that boy?" The conversation was a rude awakening. "Your son pulls his pants down when he uses the bathroom," the teacher told me. "He doesn't know how to use a urinal." I turned my face to hide the tears of embarrassment. In that moment, as I explained our situation, the realization hit me like a ton of bricks: I am the mother of a fatherless son. Listening to the corrective measures offered by the teacher, it became clear that I was training my son from my perspective as a woman. There were some things that I just didn't know—and others I had failed to realize.

When a boy doesn't have a father to show him the way, he can never be quite sure about the manhood things he needs to know. He's never really clear about how strong is strong enough, how soft is too soft, or how much doing and giving is enough, from a man's point of view. A boy needs a man to teach him how to push forward and when to pull back. A man can demonstrate to a boy when to stand up—and for how long.

When a boy doesn't have a father to guide him, he's not sure when to speak up or when to shut up. A man who did not have the input of a father is never quite sure about what other men will think about what he has to say. When a boy doesn't have a father to show him the way to being a man, he's never quite sure who a man is or what a man does. A woman may cry when she's afraid, scream when she's angry, eat chocolate when she is depressed or off balance. What does a man do? How does a man handle turmoil in his mind or heart?

When a boy doesn't have a father, he grows up never feeling quite sure about himself, his life and what is expected of him. He may overcompensate, undercommit and, in some cases, just give up rather than fail. He may grieve silently what he missed and what he may be missing. He may quietly long for the love of a father. He may believe he lacks that special something that makes him worthy of love.

For years, I watched my fatherless son struggle. I cried about his failures. I took credit for his success. Like so many mothers raising fatherless sons, I made his life about me, failing to recognize there were things he needed that I just didn't have to give. It wasn't a failure on my part or his part. It was simply a reality, a truth that neither his father nor I considered.

My son's story is a familiar story. It is the story of hundreds of thousands of boys growing up without fathers, with only their mothers' perspectives of manhood to lean on. Some of those perspectives are clear, powerful and loving. They work well to shape a boy's mind and heart. Others do not. They are perspectives filled with anger, disappointment, vindictiveness, fear, shame and guilt that is impressed upon a boy's soul about who he better or better not be as a man. All too often, these are the perspectives that pave the road to prison, drugs, domestic violence and arrested manhood development.

Shall we blame the mothers? Shall we call the fathers guilty? I suspect that neither would be a good fix. What needs to happen quickly is that parents must become responsible and accountable for the lives that God has placed into their hands. The mother of a fatherless son must keep the door open. The father of a son must learn how to, and be willing to, walk through the open door to his son's heart and life. All boys need to know what it feels like to have a man—a father—love them.

Tune in Sunday, May 5, at 9/8c for a special two-hour conversation about the epidemic of fatherless sons on Oprah's Lifeclass.


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Again, ALL of these things are not necessarily true for ALL males raised by a single mother.  People keep acting like single mothers are something new, at least since right-wing politics has used every form of propaganda to condem, malign and create "self-fulfilling prophecy syndrome" in the children that are raised in single-mother homes. 


Some things are instinctively male or female, some males are just not born with natural male instincts and have to act them out vicariously by literally watching other males. 


I do believe that children do need the influence, presence and guidance of males, preferabley their own father, but also of females, preferably their own mothers.  However, I don't believe that EVERY male child raised by a sing mother is doomed to failure or will grow up wanting to wear dresses.  I think the "urinal" example was a very poor choice to put out as an example.  ALL little boys have to become accustomed to using a urinal.  Most people don't have urinals in their homes,[even two-parent homes].  I noticed the child's age was not mention; I'll bet the child was not more than 5 or 6. 


There are so many things that young males do learn from their fathers and other males in their life, but I don't think it makes or breaks how a male child will turn out.  But, notice if you will, how a young girl growing up without a mother is rarely even mentioned and no one is suprised that a young girl raised by a single father seems to still, in most cases, instinctively grasps onto her natural born femininity and figures out so many things that her father has not discussed with her or drew up a blue print for. 


Boys have grown up in single mother homes since forever; fathers have always died, fathers gotten killed, fathers have always gotten sick and died, fathers have always gone off to war never to return, fathers have always abandoned their families, some fathers are useless alchoholics or drug addicts, some fathers have always been inept parents, some fathers have always been abusive to their own children; so the first thing people need to do is stop acting as if single mothers are something new, or that never before most recent years were male children raised by single mothers. 


The problems African America has with young Black males goes far beyond just being raised in a single-parent/mother home.