As a parent you want nothing more than to shield your child from anything that will cause them pain and distress. No matter how hard you try, there will always be obstacles in life that will cause your child grief – its part of life and there’s nothing that you can do to change it. The only thing parents can do is be present. According to a PEW survey in 2014, less half of the children living in the United States have a traditional family. Single motherhood has become something of the norm. Research suggests that children with two parents fare better within their academic career and within their own relationships in the present and future versus children with only one parent at home. The question that haunts many single moms is, “How do you explain to your kids why Daddy left them?”
It’s not an easy question to answer because there are so many implications that run through a mother’s head when they’re searching for the right words to respond. Mothers must say, “I can’t speak for your father and I have no idea why he’s decided to leave you. But no matter what I will always be your rock. I will always be here for you no matter what.”
Bolstering their father up on a pedestal will display to children that it’s okay to ditch responsibilities because Daddy is a good guy. Without being overly insulting to their father, demonstrate that there is no real explanation for the actions he’s displayed or the course he’s decided to follow. Be sure to let them know that it’s not their fault. The children must understand that it is not their fault for their father’s disappearance. Children need to know, early on, that their father is the only one to blame for the separation. They need to know that the situation is out of control and the only person who can change it is their father. Do you best to explain this without name calling or referencing prior situations that occurred because the child needs to know the truth, but does not need to be aware of the drama that is associated with the absence. As children get older, parents can divulge more information based on their child’s maturity and ability to understand the situation at hand.
There’s no doubt that the child will go through ups and downs, just as you the mother will. However it’s important to show your child that you can show up and that love will always show up despite the darkest days. Provide your children with love and don’t grow frustrated or hold resentment that will eventually influence your child’s outlook on other men.
It’s natural for your child or even yourself to caste blame on the situation because that is how human beings are wired. People need to know the cause for the actions that are in place because it’s human nature. Mothers must understand that their child is trying to understand the situation and wrap their head around the loss they’re trying to mourn. However, mothers must do their best to explain the obstacles of life and the inevitability of everything one day coming full circle into enlightenment.
So mothers, there’s no script to read word-from-word. There’s no fool proof guideline to follow. When Daddy leaves always be honest without casting judgment on their father. Instead of using words filled with anger, opt for words that are truthful yet not volatile. Provide your child(ren) with their story without cutting them down which could cause them to live with resentment. Explain that every family is different and there is no right or wrong way to build a family. Above all find a way to be honest and provide your little one with comfort.