What Happens to Children That Fathers Leave Behind? A Personal Example

Children suffer at the hands of deadbeat dads. The psychological effects can stay with them for a lifetime.

One of the most significant social problems facing America today is absentee fathers. It is estimated that 74 million children in American live without a biological father in their lives and 17 million are living in single-parent homes.

Experts have found that fathers do influence their children's lifes in a positive way when they are present. Dr. Parke's research showed that fathers play an important role in their daughters' development and self-esteem, which leads to how girls see themselves. Dr. Michael Guiran's work shows that fathers who are active in their daughters' lives, help them to mature and make better choices in life--including selecting the right mate.

I had a father until I was 9 years old:  that is, until he blurted out one day that I was not his daughter anyhow. My whole world changed that day. All the family I had ever known was not really my family. I sadly was faced with the horrible truth: my grandmother, who raised me--my father's mother--was not my grandmother; his sister and brothers were not my uncles and aunt; my cousins were not my cousins. I was truly alone.

I did realize after much agonizing, that my grandmother will always be my grandmother, in fact she is my mother, the only person in this world that loved me as I was growing up.  But the man that was my father and then decided not to be, left a scar that would not heal. The last time I saw Kenneth Buckman (name changed for privacy issues), it was 25 years ago when he came to my grandmother's funeral. My son asked who he was. Imagine that my son did not even know his own grandfather! I did nothing to remedy the situation; I couldn't. I simply replied, "He is nobody at all."

Some might judge me for that answer and so be it, but it was my way of dealing with the hurt of rejection. It was my way to dismiss it and make it seem unimportant, when, of course, the exact opposite was true. It was very material to me. The man I had known and loved for 9 years of my life as my father had disowned me like a pair of old shoes. I only responded to my son what I felt my father felt in his own heart towards me and mine.

There were tears in Kenneth's eyes that day, but I suppose it was the grieving over his mother that brought them on; it had little or nothing to do with what I had said. It turned out to be the last day that we saw Kenneth. After the funeral, he disowned his own brothers and sisters. The family was never good enough for him. He had moved on. He refused his brother's dying request to see him when our family tried to make contact with him in 1996.

It is now forty-four years after that infamous day when he ripped the heart out of a nine-year-old little girl. I do not know if he is dead or alive. But I do know that I missed having a father all of my life.

Some people wonder why, after my divorce, I did not return to my maiden name. Part of the reason was that my son needed to feel he was still a part of me and we shared the same name, but the other reason was that I had no name to go back to. Kenneth Buckman was not my father, so why should I carry on the hypocrisy of borrowing his name?

My identity as a human being commenced when I became Carol Roach. No, I am not Mrs. Roach, anymore, but I will always be Carol Roach. I may marry my beloved Matt, but I will always be Carol Roach, for Carol Roach is the essence of me.

Some of you have wonderful memories of fathers and what they have done to enrich your lives and then there are the Carols of the world that cannot truly remember a father's love, respect, and guidance.

.

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