This is the full version of my article, published as Letter of the Week in The Voice, 9 June 2011.
Growing evidence suggests that most single mothers simply cannot turn boys into successful men without positive male influence. Viv Grigg, Director of the Urban Leadership Foundation, argues that “fatherless children are at a dramatically greater risk of drug and alcohol abuse, mental illness, suicide, poor educational performance, teen pregnancy and criminality.”
70% of young offenders come from lone-parent families. Worst still, 25% of young offenders are single father’s themselves [Youth Justice Board, 2002]. We also know that only 27% of Black boys achieved 5 or more A-C GCSE’s according to the Office for National Statistics, 2006. This is just a selection of the clear, critical and damning proof of just how bad a job the majority of single mothers are doing when it comes to raising their boys. The buck stops with them and if this was business, sport or politics, we’d be calling for Head’s to roll, but unfortunately it’s not quite so easy here.
It goes without saying that there are countless examples of single mum’s raising their boys into successful, well-adjusted, law-abiding young men. However it could be argued that more often than not these mother’s have not done it in isolation, but have permitted a degree of male influence into their children’s lives, be that from their brothers, their own father’s, male friends or partners. Such people recognise that “it takes a village to raise a child.”
When it comes to the business of being a man, standing up for yourself, being responsible, understanding and developing the capacity to work hard and study well in long-term preparation for their role as providers; self-reliance, interactions with the opposite sex, respect, self-esteem, self-identity, both culturally and masculinely, then a man’s influence is critical.
Even the mere presence of the father, so long as it is not a negative presence, can have an inadvertently positive impact. If a male child develops a sense of manhood through another male, for instance, that their father is providing for his family, treating well and with respect, their mother (whether or not they are together), this can have a positive impact on his social and emotional development. This role modelling cannot be imparted and will not be taken on board if coming solely from the mother, any more than a Father could possibly be expected to raise his daughter to become a woman.
Studies such as Project 2000 by Wells-Wilbon R, & Holland,S showed
... The rest of the article is on http://tiemotalkofthetown.wordpress.com