Barbadian women are looking for good men to start families, but their search is often unsuccessful because many Bajan men are coming up short, says Anglican priest and psychologist Reverend Dr Marcus Lashley.
Speaking last night as a panelist in an Anglican Men’s Association discussion, he said many women were struggling to find life partners because they were encountering men who are mummy’s boys, have psychological problems, or simply prefer other men, among other issues.
“They are saying this to me openly,” he told an audience of about 15 men and two women in the Barbados Workers Union’s Sir Hugh Springer Auditorium.
Lashley said women complain “either the man . . . is mentally unstable, violent at times, unable to express his emotions appropriately without hitting, they are homosexual, they are struggling with their capacity to manage money, and some other domestic affairs.
“And a lot of the men that [the women] are meeting . . . are so tied to their mothers that they know they will lose the battle, in terms of having a strong man lead their home,” he added.
The complaint about mothers controlling their sons was of particular concern to the counsellor.
“Mothers sometimes find it hard to let go of their male children, and allow them to develop into true men,” he said. “What I am seeing is still a lot of our mothers not being able to truly let go of the male child.”
Lashley said the absence of a male figure in the household compounded the situation.
“We have many of our men incarcerated, and away from home, and then too many who are home are possibly physically present but emotionally absent, [and not] helping young boys moving from childhood. We’ve lost the rites of passage, and if we can regain the capacity to help people move from one developmental stage to another, we’d end up with a much healthier male in adulthood,” he asserted.
Another panelist and fellow priest, Reverend Graveney Bannister, who is also a magistrate, also took issue with the way boys were being raised.
“There is a problem we see in today’s society where mothers are molly cuddling boys instead of bringing them up the right way, exposing them, letting them be boys. Then, when they get into trouble you hear ‘it is not my son’, or ‘a bad boy is better than no boy at all’,” he lamented.
“Quite often, mothers are to be blamed for their role in leading boys astray. . . . In some instances, some mothers – not all –, where fathers are absent, tend to prevent fathers from seeing their children.”
Bannister said when parents are separated, and/or a mother is in a new relationship, there is a tendency for mothers to prevent their sons from seeing and spending time with their fathers.
“There are some mothers out there in society who are professional mothers, who just want to have the children and don’t want to have the man around, period,” he charged.
“So we’re raising a set of boys who are not getting that mentorship and that support from the males. There is a need for a few more good men to influence a lot of our youngsters in this society.”
Bannister hastened to add, however, that he was not saying or suggesting that “females cannot bring up boys”.
Focusing more on what he saw as solutions, youth activist and radio talk show host Corey Lane said society must start to “think, plan, and implement where parents, and fathers particularly, feel the consequence for not being good fathers”.
“Understand that parenting is a very private activity with a very public outcome,” he said, adding that while there were many good parents there were also some who were “training up criminals in this country”.