Raising Black Girls to Become a Wife/Mother:The Impact of Fatherlessness

     There is rarely a shortage on research data on how fatherlessness affects Black boy or adult Black men.  However, when it comes to the impact of absentee fathers on Black girls, well, let’s just say that I am still looking for solid data on the topic.  But let’s at what is out there (in addition to personal experiences) and discuss the correlation with the single Black woman.  In my group of female friends, about 75% of us grew up in fatherless homes and it was not until my early 30’s did I realize our differences.  I am at the point now where I can tell if a woman grew up in a two-parent household or if she was raised by her single mother.  When I say two-parent, I mean both biological or a step-parent who raised her from early on, as opposed to a cohabitating couple.  My friends that come from the two-parent homes were typically much more confident, they were much more expressive and they typically maintained steady relationships.  The women that, like me, came from a single-parent/mother raised home almost always had self-esteem, image and self-worth issues.  Most of us had problems dealing with conflict, understanding our roles and boundaries and choosing partners based on our intentions (in other words we were more likely to attract the men who wanted something completely different.)

     Research indicates that women who come from fatherless homes tend to become sexually active, and many promiscuity is common; mature physiologically a lot quicker; lag behind other women academically and fail to achieve their goals in many aspects of their lives.  Of course, all of these differences are in addition to the ones I myself have noted.  The one study that I found most interesting is the one where the finding was that teenage girls who grew up in a two-parent home actually started puberty later than girls that grew up in a single parent or step parent home.  According to the Institute for American Values, the emotional affect of the family environment is directly correlated to the girls’ biological functioning.  (The belief is that the production of the hormone, pheromone is delayed when the biological father is in the home.) 

     The reality is that many of these girls, now women, are still maladjusted in the love/relationship department.  Between the issues of trust, self-value, fear of abandonment, amongst the many other issues prolific in the Black community, the desire to be in a loving, committed and meaningful relationship is a major feat.  All the more reason for Black women to do some self exploring if they see having a family of their own a real dream of theirs.  The easy way out is to look at someone else and point the finger at them, blaming them for your current predicament.   I had to face my own demons and look in the mirror, no music, no television, no adornments, no NOTHING! just me!  I was a long, painful and arduous task (to some extent I am still going through it) but certainly necessary.  I cried, I laughed, I rejoiced but at my climax I accepted who I really was, without blaming anyone else.  I think this was the impetus for my new-found relationship not only with myself but with my significant other.

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1 Comment »

  1. Menelik Charles Said:

    Wow, sista, you appear to be suggesting that female-headed families and matriarchy has a life-long negative impact on Black females.

    Are you?

    Menelik Charles
    London England


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