Single Fathers: Don’t Step Up to be a Parent, Never Step Down

Filed in Uncategorized by on June 6, 2014 0 Comments

The unfortunate reality is there are a lot of single men with children, especially in the African American community.  It’s unfortunate because every child could benefit from being in the house with the two parents who cared enough to bring them into this world.  Regardless, the society we live in has many single men who are a part of raising a child either in their home, in the home of the other parent or some other complicated situation.  To change our mentality, we need to change our expectations as a society.

Mixed Race Father and Son Playing Soccer Outside in the Courtyard.Don’t Step up to be a Parent,  Never Step Down

If you create a child, the child is your responsibility, period.  Our societal expectation of our men who have children while they are single is flawed.  As men, we have to hold other men in our circles accountable.  There are daily talk shows that focus on the lack of responsibility of single parents (mostly African American parents) and it’s something we can rectify.  We have to take it upon our generation to be fathers to our sons and daughters.  Whether or not we live in the house with our children, we have to be active in their lives—no excuses!  Situations with exes are challenging, but that’s not an excuse.  Your primary responsibility to that child is to be there for that child in every way possible.  I have been in one of those tough situations; I have spent years in family court—not hours or days.  Whatever the situation is, you have to work to be with your child as often as possible.  This starts from day one.  Never step down from that responsibility.

You Are the Model

You are the model.  You are the example of what your daughter expects a man to act like.  If you are an absentee parent, she will find that behavior to be acceptable.  If you are disrespectful, you set that example for your son.  It’s important for men to set the parameter for what children should expect out of others.  We’re not perfect, but if we are there for our children, have integrity and respect, we help go a long way toward replacing the stereotype of the problems with single black fathers.

Many of the women I talk to think they have flawed views of relationships.  What I found as we have delved deeper into their situations is more often than not, they don’t have examples of what men should provide in the context of relationships.  Many grew up in homes where they either didn’t interact with their father much or they didn’t know him at all.  Mom was trying to be mom and dad and while she was doing the best she could do, she couldn’t have the impact a father has on his daughter.  Fathers, much of your influence is simply through what you do in the household.  Children are learning every day by watching.  You have to make it your top priority to be there for your children and that includes as much physical interaction as possible.

Taking the Reigns

At some point we have to decide what we really want in our lives.  At a high level, I would like to see the African American community take steps to build stronger nuclear families.  I think the way for each of us to contribute is one step at a time, one family at a time.  Hold our friends and families accountable.  Don’t step down from being a parent.  Take control of the situation from the beginning.  This is how we can develop stronger families and stronger fathers to raise our sons and daughters in our community.

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About the Author ()

Jay Hurt is the author of The 9 Tenets of a Successful Relationship-for Singles. Personal experience, a liberation through faith and an appreciation for his perspective led Jay to share his insight on relationships. Dealing with challenging topics by confronting them with faith and common sense, Jay aspires to share wisdom to help others become fulfilled and blessed in their relationships. Jay lives in Nashville, TN and has two daughters, Kristina and Jalen.

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