Ideally, children are raised with two loving parents to care for and support them. In some instances, however, this is not the case. When a child is left motherless as a result of divorce, separation or death, the child may experience problems associated with this absence. By understanding and preparing for these problems, fathers and other concerned friends and relatives can more effectively help the child cope with his mother’s absence.
The degree to which the absence of a mother impacts a child depends on an assortment of factors, reports AtHealth. Everything from the gender of the child to the age at which the child lost his mother can play a part in determining how acutely the child feels the effects of not having his maternal parent. Fathers and other caregivers should not assume that the child will exhibit a certain behavior as a result of this absence. Instead, they should monitor the child and determine how that child is feeling the effects.
Impact of Anger
In many instances, children who lack a mother feel anger. This anger and feeling of abandonment can lead to mood swings or physical aggression, leading to difficulty in school or when interacting with peers. While it would seem that children who have lost their mother due to death should not feel the same anger, research indicates that they commonly still feel anger at the parent, even through her absence was not by choice.
Children who are separated from their mother at a young age may be more prone to hyperactivity, suggests a Science Daily report. This report references an experiment in which mice were separated from their mothers. In this experiment, mice pulled from their maternal parent earlier were found to be more hyperactive than those who were given time with their mothers during development.
When a child doesn’t have the support of his mother, he may be more likely to engage in delinquent behavior, reports AtHealth. When a mother is out of the picture, the child doesn’t have two sets of eyes monitoring his behavior, making it easier for him to get away with negative behaviors. Additionally, the child may allow his feelings of anger over the absence of his mother to lead him to act out and rebel against the remaining parent, causing him to engage in delinquent behavior.
Role of Remaining Parent
Properly parenting a child who is without his mother can present a challenge. As the remaining parent or other caregiver, it is vital that you are supportive of the child. It is also key that you not minimize the child’s feelings. While it might seem logical to tell the child that you know how he feels, or explain that even though his mother is gone you still love him and that he is not alone, saying these things can make the child feel as if you are not allowing him his natural emotions. It could damage your relationship with the child and make it even more difficult for you to help.