Single mum insists absent dads DO cause knife crime and ruin kids' lives

The Ex-Ofsted chief sparked outrage during his appearance on Good Morning Britain this week when he pointed the finger at absent fathers for the recent explosion in violent crime. Fabulous columnist Stacey Solomon hit back and said the remarks just add to the guilt single mums already feel.

But Asha Mohammed-Lee, 47, from South Norwood, said she can understand where Sir Wilshaw is coming from.

“It can be a reason for children or youngsters joining gangs because they want to be noticed in society, as not having a father figure there at home can cause them to look elsewhere,” she said.

“I have single mum friends who have teenagers who are in gangs, and they tell me the stories of the headaches they go through, the sleepless nights – they’re really worrying.

“I believe to be able to change the way that things are, we need to look deeper in helping those broken homes and the children that come from them from a very young age, with things like mentoring, or having chaplains in the schools, and having someone there all the time, even in the primary schools.

“It stems from a very young age. With a father not there, it’s really appalling that these children turn to drugs and gangs.

“Just the other day my friend was in Croydon, where we had a stabbing recently; we spoke about it, and for me, hearing about youngsters being killed and stabbed in gang related crime is really worrying. We really need to seriously address this.”

She told how her children had no contact with their dad for five years after he left when they were two, five and seven.

“That five year period, not having a father figure around ruined their lives,” she said.

“I know it has because it used to make a misery of my life, as I would have to do the job of a mother and a father, and they were miserable because I had to correct them and pull them up like a dad would, and sometimes it would raise tension between us.

“In the five years he was gone, my kids felt like their dad didn’t care about them, they didn’t know if they were coming or going.

“He was such an important part in their lives and I can tell they felt a bit lost as well. But we did manage to get through it- there were tears and I pulled my hair out sometimes, but we did get through the turmoil.”

She and her ex have since come to an agreement where he now has regular contact with the children, which has had a significant impact on their attitudes and behaviour.

“They were suffering,” Asha said. “I know for a fact the importance of having a dad around, I grew up with my mum and my dad and I know what a strong family unit feels like.

“I didn’t want the kids not having that father figure. Since he’s come back into their lives, their behaviour has much, much improved.

“I’ve noticed they are more content now that they actually have that interaction with a father, rather than before that when they were distraught thinking, ‘I’ll never be able to see my dad again.’”

Asha said she believes dads need to “wake up” and realise that fatherhood is “not just for one day, or two days or a year – it’s forever”.

“They need to be educated from a young age what fatherhood is about,” she added.

“I think we ought to be mentoring our youngsters from a young age, showing them the importance of being a male figure in a family, how important it is, because some men seem to take it lightly and walk away and don’t care.

“I don’t have a life of my own, but I’m happy to commit my time to the raising of my kids because I know that dad isn’t there.

“I totally agree with this gentleman from Ofsted that in some way, somehow, the father not being there means these children don’t have a mentor or guidance from a male figure, other than turning to friends and places where they can make a quick buck.

“I can manage financially as I recently started up my own little business, but what about some single parents or single dads who are struggling? How are they getting support?

“(Having an absent dad) really impacted a lot on my kids because they see now that Mum’s doing this on her own.

“My sons will say, ‘Mum I’ll never walk away from my kids, I’ll always be there for my kids and be the dad I should be.’

“Hearing that from them, I know that what happened has helped them to understand what it means to grow up and be a man.”

Asha's ex did not wish to comment.

Last month, London's murder rate overtook New York's for the first time, with the Met Police launching 62 murder investigations in 2018 as bloodshed gripped the capital.

Fifteen people were murdered in London in February, compared to 11 in the Big Apple.

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