Apparently, single black fathers are challenging negative stereotypes, and emerging on the scene of single fatherhood as better dads than other single dads.
I woke up this Father’s Day to read this article.
In general, the study quoted in the article showed that overall dads are more involved with their kids than ever before. Even though there are more dads living out of the home than previously, the dads in the homes are more actively involved with their kids and dads outside the home are getting better at staying involved with their children through phone calls, emails, and outside activities.
Single black dads are doing better than their white counterparts too.
“But of the fathers living apart from their children, black dads were the most involved in their kids’ lives,” according to the CNN article.
I smiled to read that part even though Toyin doesn’t fit any of the negative stereotypes that come associated with being a black man. I sometimes worry that people who don’t know us, might assume he’s a deadbeat dad, or less than stellar based on common assumptions of single black dads.
Toyin is a rock star single dad.
He is super active in Annika’s life. Whenever she is missing him, he steps up and takes her more. He calls her. They hang out. He takes her overnight two nights a week. We swing by and see him when she’s needing a dose of daddy. She is a huge priority in his life. And she knows it.
Sometimes I worry that having two single parents instead of a cohesive unit will have negative effects on her psyche. Perhaps she will grow up feeling left out, or anxious, wishing for something that she can’t have. That’s the thing I hear from adults who grew up with single parents. It’s innate. Children want their parents together. That’s what I’ve heard.
But then I wonder if perhaps it’s not so much that kids want their parents to be married, just that they want both parents around. The evolutionary part inside of people wants two parents to attach to, to learn from, to be connected with. I don’t think that parents have to live in the same household to accomplish those goals. They just have to be more creative than married parents.
I worry about this stuff, but when I look at it from the latter point of view, I think, in some ways, she has it better than some kids who live at home with both parents.
Although, it’s definitely changing, I think a lot of dads who live at home with their wives and kids often don’t spend as much quality time with their kids as some who don’t live with their children. And even the ones who do spend quality time with their kids do it inconsistently because their kids are just always there when they come home.
Not the case for us single parents.
Annika gets concentrated daddy/daughter time regularly and consistently. Sure, there are times when Toyin goes out of town or we have meetings or other obligations during our regular hours. But instead of Annika missing out when that happens, we just switch times that she’s with us.
I’m not bashing traditional families. I see evidence all around me that families really are becoming more of a priority for this generation of dads. I see dads at the playground. I know stay-at-home dads. It’s not just evidenced by a Pew Research study, dads really are just more involved these days.
It’s just nice to see that single dads are getting better at it too. I know that the general assumption is that children are better off with two parents in the home. But I think that single parents can make it work too.
So anyhoo, Happy Father’s Day to all the dads!