Mama Alone

by Zettler Clay

james-large.jpgMama with no daddy, or daddy with no mama? This was one of the senseless conundrums that swished across my cerebellum recently.

LeBron’s graceful comments toward his mom during Game 4 of the Boston-Cleveland series was the impetus of such navel-gazing. Lebron did apologize afterwards, saying that he was concerned about his mother’s safety and feared that she might be banned from the rest of his games. That, he said, was something that he cannot afford.

The first notion that springs forth to mind after digesting this: LeBron is clearly a product of single-parent upbringing. That much is palpable. No man would utter those words to his mother if his father was next to her. This is no shot at LeBron or his mother, because they were only playing the card that they were dealt.

Along with many other African-Americans, LBJ experienced life without a dominant male figure in his household. I will not claim to know his autobiography, but I am sure that as he got older, LeBron asserted himself as the dominant figure of the household.

Which lead me to thinking: what are the biggest telltale signs of children who grew up in a single parent household? And behold, a list formulated…

This isn’t to say that all children from single parent homes exhibit these traits; some transcend them. So back to my initial question to this piece: mama with no daddy, or daddy with no mama? It’s a silly question to consider. It takes two people to make a baby, so it should be two to raise the baby. What was originally built to be a package deal – like two Twix bars in a pack – is broken down into a crapshoot; you don’t know what you’re going to get.

But somehow, someway, odds succumb to the tenacity and tender love of a mother who is at it alone and sometimes, the child comes out unscathed.

Problem is mothers shouldn’t have to fight those odds so often.

  • tremaine

    The last sentence of this article is flawless… Great overview and wonderful topic. We are losing the race w/ two-parent homes in America, have been since the early 70′s… It’s shameful to watch take place, but… this is where we are now, what can be done?

  • ceecee

    I have a friend who grew up without knowing his father and he does display that need to be accepted. My other friend is simply angry all the time. It may seem that two-parent homes are becoming extinct, could we as a people ever reach a place where we can get over that ideal and just move on?

  • D-ski

    This article was insightful, thoughtful and thought provoking on so many different levels. As a sister who grew up in a two parent home( by the way…grateful for it, but it wasn’t perfect), I do see the difference in men who grew up without a father/father figure as a opposed to those who didn’t. There seems to be to me this need to dominate and always prove one thing or the other. My own father grew up without his father being an integral part of his life and now that I am full grown and look at the dynamics between the two of us, I now understand a lot more about him as a man and person. Truth is, we sister’s as far as I am concerned, set the tone for a lot of things and it behooves me when still I see young girls still getting pregnant as if their situation is going to be so different from their mamas. It is a crap shoot, but does it have to be? We need to use discretion.

  • A single mother

    My son is 3 months from his 18th birthday and for 7 of those years, I raised him alone. Your article is 110% correct. Hindsight is 20/20 and I see my past mistakes. I often have to remind him of who he is talking to and to check his tone. And yet, I know why that is.

  • kay-jay

    There are a cascade of factors that work on people’s abilities to control aggression, emotion, etc. In the black community, yes having an absent father AFFECTS its children, but this, of course, is not a sole causal relationship. In true psychology research your claims would be so huge and unfounded. You forget many confounds (third party factors), as I see mothers in the black community do often (i.e. my son or daughter has an “attitude” or is “bad” because they daddy ain’t around). People often don’t realize (or choose to ignore) that single mothers, the only parent in the household, have tendencies that end up rearing these types of children, and that not having a father simply correlates. Authoritarian parenting, as black mothers often emply, yield angry and hostile children (e.g. hitting your children, placing strict rules with no explanation why so that their children understand cause and effect consequences, etc…read about it!!) Single mothers are often poorer than other households which leads these families into poorer neighborhoods. Studies also show that simply being in these poorer communities has deleterious effects on health and perceptions (e.g. perceived racism – which can also lead to angry people). All these and so much more come into play and it absolutely irritates me that you’ve boiled down a whole person into one cause and effect relationship, leaving black mothers to look like saints (I’m sorry, you feeding and clothing your children is a REQUIREMENT of motherhood, it doesn’t get you the parent of the year award), and their children to look like Bebe’s kids. The reality is this is simply a CORRELATION that does not me your dad walking away CAUSES you to be angry and bad. There are actually many more factors out there which you can EMPIRICALLY measure and see which effects have a stronger correlation (again, this does not imply causation which would be impossible to measure ethically in sociological studies).

    READ UP before you make sweeping statements about cause and effect. There are hundreds of psychology studies out there delving into this area of research that are very informative and would rid many stereotypes and help make treatment easier if people would just READ.

  • Nikapooh

    I think this is a very good article and thought-provoking. If an article inspires you to analyze the world around you it has done its job. This isn’t an academic forum with empirical analysis needed…it’s real life.

  • AkronBorn

    Not sure if i can leave a link, but here is a great article about LeBron’s young life. He had a lot of males in his life. Not sure why people don’t know this:(

    http://blog.cleveland.com/sports/2008/03/terry_pluto_on_lebron_james.html

  • Pingback: Papa was no rolling stone « Clutch Magazine: fashion.beauty.life.culture

  • NYMA

    This article states the facts. I too was brought up in a single parent home and my mother spoke of my father in an unpleasing tone to her friends. I never understood until I turned 20. Trying to be apart of his life was painful…then I realized…he should want to be apart of my life. I tried and tried ,cried and cried I gave up 4 years later. Now I truely have a poblem with my relationships, I tend to push men away, because I believe that they are going to leave anyway! It really sucks when life deals you the “reject” cards.

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