Acknowledge the fact that your children have suffered a great loss. Growing up fatherless might well be the most neglected problem in our nation, one that has tragic outcomes for all of society.
Your children may shrug off their father’s rejection, pretend they don’t care, and blow it off as though it were no big deal.
Don’t buy it. Children will feel rejected by their father because he left, and they may need a professional to help them deal with these feelings in a constructive way.
So don’t hesitate to take your children to counseling even if they don’t want to go. And if the first counselor doesn’t work, find one who will. Help is out there.
My mother took me to several counselors before we found someone with whom I felt a connection and could honestly help me. I shudder to think what would have become of me had she given up after the first or second try.
Puberty and sex education
I can’t imagine any parent looking forward to talking with their children about puberty or sex, especially single mothers who have sons.
Believe me, your sons don’t want to have this conversation with you either. I’m sure they’d rather stand naked in front of their entire school and give a speech on medieval French poetry than talk with you about sex.
Such a burden should fall on fathers, but can you trust a man who has already shown himself to be untrustworthy by leaving you and your children in the first place?
Still, that doesn’t mean you have to do the talking.
Find a trustworthy book on the subject that you agree with, and leave it laying around the house in an obvious, but not too obvious, place. (Think dining room table, not the bookshelf of your son’s room.)
Your boys will find it, and they will read it when no one is around. Trust me. We did.
Your boys may never talk with you about it, but they will learn what they need to know about puberty and sex from an educational book instead of their friends on the street.