By: Arlene L. Connelly – Founder & CEO of ISEE Group, LLC
WHAT IS THE DADDY VOID? Understanding the issue:
There is a ‘Daddy Void’ and the traumatic effects of their absence in our lives is felt from childhood into adulthood. Many have endured varying levels of traumatic experiences that have left emotional, psychological, and physical scars. The cycle of brokenness is a shared experience impacting both men and women, influencing how we show up in our daily lives. It’s evident that there is a father absence crisis in America. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 19.7 million children (more than 1 in 4) live without a father in the home. Consequently, there is a father factor in nearly all social ills facing America today. (2017. U.S. Census Bureau. Data represent children living without a biological, step, or adoptive father.) It goes without saying that fathers play an integral role in the family unit and in the lives of children. With a role so valuable, important, and essential, it begs the question: are men being properly equipped with the tools and skills necessary to assume such a role?
Unfortunately, many men are not equipped and often they are perpetuating the cycle of fatherlessness, which has compromised their preparedness for the role of fatherhood.The family structure is under attack and fathers have become the primary target.Healthy relationships,strong marriages,collaborative parenting and stable environments to raise children are being eroded daily as individuals struggle to build solid relationships that weather the storms of life. Simultaneously, men are struggling to find their place and understand the value and critical role they play in the family unit. Fathers are often mistakenly given a secondary role in various family affairs. Keep in mind that sometimes fathers aren’t in the picture, not because they don’t want to be, but because other factors are prohibiting them from operating in their role.
There are a variety of reasons or factors that contribute to daddy absenteeism:
• Evolving or Changing Definitions of Roles, Manhood, Maleness
• Weak Relationship Development
• Economics–the challenge of providing or contributing to the financial stability of the family
• Criminal Activity & Criminal Justice System
• Societal infusion into the family and systems that reinforce a father’s role as a financial provider and not an active care giver.
• Parental role is loosely supported by our societal framework: work hours, school structure, housing conditions, health care and environment.
It’s important that we as a community transform our approach on how we deal with absentee fathers.For decades,we have approached absentee fathers in a degrading and judgmental manner,missing our opportunity to provide empowerment and resources to assist in change. Men and fathers are silently crying out for help,but they are bound in the chains of society that manhood and maleness does not include men who show their emotions or ask for help. Thus, producing men with fragile masculinities unable to fully and properly stand in their roles as essential pieces in our society. The family is fundamentally the most important institution in our society. It provides a safe place for children to learn, grow and thrive.The cycle of life flows through the family. We know that the individuals who come together to form a relationship and build a family need to be equipped with the tools and knowledge to build a solid foundation and cultivate an environment that fosters growth. As a society we are seeing a shift in the attention, conversation, research, policies and initiatives that are highlighting the importance of fathers. We see commercials that are better representing the images of fathers as actively engaged in the lives of their children. Everyone has a role to play in strengthening families. Critical to this effort is the focus on fathers.
What Fathers Can Do
1. Be selective about spreading your seed and consider positioning yourself to be able to care for your child physically, emotionally and financially.
2. Be intentional and decide to be a man who breaks the cycle of fatherlessness and commit to be an active and engaged father.
3. Connect with programs that support male development and strengthen men’s ability to exercise their role as fathers.
4. Recognize that fathers play a critical role in a child’s positive development.
5. Seek to engage in healthy/positive co-parenting so that children have a stable home and the influence of a strong father and mother.
What Mothers Can Do
1. Choose carefully the person who you decide to have a baby with – do they possess the qualities/qualifications and potential to be a good father? Assess their values, standards and beliefs.
2. Be conscious of your emotional baggage. Check your communication, attitude, and motives. Filter out and ensure that you are not using your child as a pawn in the midst of your emotional distress which can occur between father and mother.
3. Seek out and build a supportive network of individuals to be active in child rearing. Identify community resources/programs and men of character (coaches, mentors, pastors, etc.) who can stand in the gap in the absence of a biological father.
As a collective, we can work towards strengthening families by reclaiming fathers!
Arlene L. Connelly- is the Founder and CEO of ISEE GROUP, LLC an emerging Human Development Company whose mission is: “Restoring the Vision for Vibrant Relationships, Thriving Families & Stronger Communities.” She is a Life Enrichment Strategist and Servant Leader who has dedicated over 27 years in Human Services providing executive leadership, management, supervisory and administrative experiences in non-profit and higher education; serving adults, at-risk youth and underserved populations. Arlene is a Certified John Maxwell Speaker/Trainer & Coach; Organizational and Leadership Development Professional; Life Enrichment Strategist; Healthy Relationships and Family Strengthening Coach; Career & Positive Youth Development Specialist, a Certified Global Career Development Facilitator. She is the author of the compelling book: “Let Your Daddy Lift You Up- Healing Daddy Issues to Build Healthy Relationships” is a testimony of how She has risen amid trauma,adversity and challenge; to transform Pain into Triumph and Adversity into Opportunity.
To Learn more about Arlene L. Connelly visit – ALCSpeaks.com
For more information about ISEE Group, LLC please visit our website- www. iseegroupllc.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org