Saturday, January 7, 2012

Raising Boys Without Fathers – Single Mothers

Raising boys without fathers? This question came into my mind from the very day my husband died. Little girls are cute adorable darlings and so simple to care for but boys, with their ever changing unpredictable aggressive behaviors one can hardly guess what next they will surprise you with!

My little boys (10years old and 5years old) were very close with their father, enjoyed doing all the boys stuff together, he was their best friend and their playmate. The special love and bond shared between father and sons, even I as their mother can never understand. What happens when this very special person suddenly disappear forever from their lives?

Experiencing Death of a Parent as a Child
.......Experiencing the death of a parent is traumatic at any age, but it's particularly harrowing for young children. With the death of a parent, young children are deprived not only of the guidance and love that that parent would have provided as the children grew up but also the sense of security that the parent's ongoing presence in the home would have bestowed. More often than not, the child feels terribly vulnerable, especially when the death is accompanied by a relocation of the family..... Greg Harvey . 
Read more here, here, and  here.

After his father’s death Khairul became depressed and withdrawn, firmly refused to attend Kindergarten. In Year One his behaviour became worse, horribly impossible, coaxing, pleading and screaming at him just to get him to go to school. He hated school, hated all the teachers and refused to make friends. After six months I decided to transfer him into a private school, a 30km drive from home, 4daily trips for me. 

We later discovered that just a few days before he died my husband was planning with the boys about our family trip to Europe - which did not materialise due to his sudden death. Was Khairul angry with his father because of the unfulfilled promise? When he was 8years old, after consultation with family members we decided to send him to stay with his auntie in United Kingdom for 2months. 

There he attended school in Reading as a guest student. Being the only Malay boy in that school he was very well received by his classmates and teachers – he was so fond of Miss Cheek, his class teacher. He enjoyed the new experience  and the time spent with his uncle. His short stay there worked miracles; he came home a completely changed boy. 

When my sons were young (between 7years old to 15years old) I sent them to as many holiday camps and educational workshops so they can interact and enjoy activities with new friends and their male instructors. It was good for them; the boys really enjoyed these experiences.

Whenever the boys were invited to join their best friend’s families for family trips - picnics, fishing or for weekend activities, I freely gave them permission. (Zainun, Ida, Johar, Fuziah, Harun, Izan, and Cecilia would call me up to “borrow” my sons – my blessings to all my very dear friends for making my sons life so blissful). What I wanted was for the boys to be given the opportunity to feel the atmosphere of being around, doing things and sharing daily activities with “fathers”. 

They are lucky as we live in a closely knitted community where the Village Elders (JKKK Kampung) organized monthly programs and activities. They included my sons in many of these voluntary activities. The young boys became active members of the Rakan Muda Masjid, where they learnt how to communicate and mingle freely with people of all ages, especially men.

The strongest support came from close family members. My late mum in law was always there for the boys – a fantastic grandmother who kept the memories of their father fresh and alive for them. In good health or sickness, sharing the joys and sorrows with them are their exceptionally special uncles and aunties who loved and cared for them as their own children.

In "RaisingBoys Without Men," research psychologist Dr. Peggy Drexler says that boys raised in households headed by just mothers can grow up emotionally stronger, more empathetic and independent than boys raised in traditional two-parent households.... Happy reading....


  1. hi katrina, you 2 boys were at very young tender age when,, their late father left them. It saddens me at this thought, which no one can describe or feel the pain except your boys who have to go through this nightmare..
    and i cant imagine how you felt... the pain and sorrow. But God The Almighty knows what He does- His reasons must carry a great blessings to all including arwah
    I wish those who undergo similar cases will remain strong and find a way out of the loneliness of no longer having a beloved dad around,to be with... May God bless them all.
    take care and have a great day

  2. Salam Katrina.
    I just read your entry.
    Very sad but a beautiful quite teary-heart posting.
    Now I know a bit more about you.
    How old was your late husband when he passed away,
    and what did he die off?
    Sorry if I am asking a too private question.

    Syukur your sons have turned out okay..Alhamdulillah.

    Thanks Katrina for sharing your life with us.

  3. Tks CV & Mamasita,
    He died very young for his age, I was still breastfeeding my 1yr old daughter.

    He was playing with her while waiting for the 3am Word Cup final LIVE telecast to begin, died within 15mins, just complained "I don't feel good" - heart attack, in the car on the way to the hospital, and in my arms while the 2boys were sound asleep at home!

    BTW after his death, my eldest changed to 5schools within 3years! (3 Private and 2National schools). Crazy eh? Adjustments were so difficult for them! Lucky it did not affect their UPSR!

    Tks to all the exceptional people around us, they came forward to be with my sons; those I mentioned above, no words to express my deepest Gratitude for helping me raise the boys.

  4. Very sad about your husbands loss .That too when child feels in that age ..and there comes this trauma.Your whole family might have missed him a lot ..But i m happy that your children are back on the track ..after visiting Uk ..May be the atmosphere or the friends might have changed him back to normal again ..Since i m guy i can suggest the best companion can take him out from the trauma ...

    Thx for this post !! I understand how you felt when you wrote this post !

  5. Thks Sheril for visiting,

    Whenever I meet orphans or kids being abandoned by their fathers, I feel a lump inside - after watching how my kids struggle to let go of their father..

    The trip to UK was memorable for Khairul, aunt/uncle and cousins took good care of him there, walked him to school daily, the farewell gifts exchanged with his classmates and teachers,touring places, visiting friends, etc

    Wonderful people around him.

    He is now a Mass Communication - Advertising 3rd year student, to imagine, when his father just died, he was so anti social!

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