When the relationship between my children’s father and I ended, so did the relationship between him and my children. Trying to implement a visitation schedule and encourage him to participant in the upbringing of the children was slowly intoxicating my role of a mother.
In essence, he was an absent parent.
An absent parent is a mother, father, or legal guardian, who is not physically and/or emotionally present in the lives of their child/children. Unfortunately, there is an alarming number of children who suffer from the physical absence, emotional absence, or both forms of abandonment from one or both of their parents.
What happens to children when a parent goes absent?
Studies have shown that children who experience parental abandonment suffer from behavioral issues in school, identity crisis, low self esteem, and depression.
It is only natural to feel upset as the parent baring the brunt of it all, and there may be a tendency to want to get all those negative feelings out on Facebook … but that’s never a good idea, no matter how mad you are. Instead of taking to social media to rant about the lack of involvement from the absent parent, here are some suggestions that I have had success with:
Enroll your Son or Daughter in a Mentoring Program
Because of the alarming number of children who are experiencing parental abandonment, programs like Big Brother and Big Sister may have a large waiting list. The problem is … there are simply not enough volunteers to meet the demand.
Join the waiting list and try speaking with the guidance counselor or school therapist to identify any mentoring programs within the school that can improve your child’s wellbeing, monitor their grades, help with homework, and improve self-esteem!
Consider Signing your Child up for a Sport or Other Recreational Activity
From cheerleading, gymnastics, soccer, and bowling leagues, the coach can become a valuable asset to your child and the family! Most coaches go above and beyond to freely pour into children by teaching life skills in a unique way while learning the art of that sport. Start at your local recreation center to see which sports your child may be interested in! There is a small fee associated with joining a team.
Attend a Local Church and get your Children Involved
Most churches in Columbia have awesome ministry programs for children and youth. It may be a process of trial and error, but look into it. Not only do they learn the word of God, they get to build relationships with other youth within the community and learn character development. Connect with the youth pastor and let him/her know what your child is encountering and work together to identify ways to improve your child’s emotional wellbeing.
Look into Therapy
Therapy is an option and most children’s therapist accept all forms of insurance, including Medicaid. Contact your plan administrator and locate a provider who specializes with children or deals with issues of abandonment.
Lastly … Try not to Engage Negatively with the Abandonment Parent
Easier said than done, I’m sure; but these toxic individuals have a way of making you out to be the bad guy and it can be hard to resist joining the battle, especially when your character is in question. Take the higher ground and utilize that energy into identifying resources and activities that can benefit you and your child(ren). Actions speak louder than words, and your positive approach will eventually outweigh those rumors. Try comforting activities such as playing in the park, preparing a healthy meal together, or creating an arts and craft project as a family.