Femi, the first child of Raymond and Dorcas (Mr and Mrs Daniels) stood in the doorway and watched his parents act drama.
He couldn’t get his eyes off the scene as he observed with innocence the people he loved most tear each other apart.
Shocked, Femi’s mother cowered as she sighted a machete in her husband’s hand. The last child of the union, Anuoluwapo, fell to the ground. He rolled, cried at intervals and clutched his toy in one hand, drawing the hem of the mother’s gown with the other hand. The only comfort he got was the dripping of a combination of blood and tears from the mother’s battered face. Of course, he didn’t have an idea of the ongoing incident.
Many theories have been used to explain the poor state of our nations’ children; a factor that has been largely ignored, however, particularly among child and family policymakers, is the prevalence and devastating effect of single parenting or the absence of a child’s parents.
The sad fact is, parents in our society are not supported in the fulfillment of their parental responsibilities, and divorced parents, in particular, often undermined their responsibilities. This has reflected in the large number of “non- custodial” or “non-residential” parents, and of course forcefully removed from their children’s lives, as daily caregivers.
My concern is how these children can enjoy to the fullest responsible parenthood (their birthright) from the two people who gave birth to them and not caregivers.
Have you ever wondered who birthed the toddlers you see selling in traffic? Does it tear your heart apart about the sexual abuse of children of ages 5, 6 and above in the slum? How about the 4-year-old orphans who are house-maids?
Who do you think made those children who are supposed to be in school learning, to be on the streets hawking? No one and nothing else caused these but evasiveness of responsibilities by those who birthed them.
One cannot, but ask these pertinent questions: Why are these helpless children out of school, if their parents really cared about their educational development and ultimately their future?
Why bring them to an increasingly complex world when they have little or nothing to care for them?
Does it not amount to sheer wickedness added to folly that a grown-up man would keep breeding more children than he and his wife could adequately cater for, erroneously believing that God would send manna from heaven to feed them?
I think the answer to these rhetorics is that the ever-increasing number of children without fathers and mothers today is due to nothing but the nauseating domination of boys and girls instead of men and women. They have no time to watch their wards grow but to sexually produce them is even easier than ABC.
But is there a catholicon to this obnoxious state? Of course, there is but, first, let’s see the effect of irresponsible parenthood on these children.
Every day, families suffer and separate globally, due to infidelity, workaholism, and personality clashes. Unfortunately, some of these things were in establishment even prior to taking oaths on the altar.
While the demand for urgent intervention is high in families with this instability, there is grave concern for rescuing courtships without focus, and relationships without direction, among the unmarried. The consequences are porous if not deadly.
For instance, Demo and Acock in 1991 reported that in mother-only families, children tend to experience short-term and long-term economic and psychological disadvantages; higher absentee rates at school, lower levels of education, and higher dropout rates (with boys more negatively affected than girls); and more delinquent activity, including alcohol and drug addiction.
Adolescents on the other hand, are more negatively affected by parental discord prior to divorce than by living in single-parent families and actually gain in responsibility as a result of altered family routines. Children in single-mother homes are also more likely to experience health-related problems as a result of the decline in their living standard, including the lack of health insurance according to Mauldin in the year 1990. Also as these children from single-parent families become adults, they are more likely to marry early, have children early, and divorce. These of course are evident among nowadays youth. Girls are at greater risk of becoming single mothers as a result of non-marital childbearing or divorce.
All these psychological implications pose more threat in other areas of lives of the children. For instance, the child develops a sense of insecurity, lack of life skills, lack of complete moral upbringing, deprivation of love, sense of mistrust and inferiority. Some wards don’t have a situation of an absent parent, while others share in disadvantages of the excessive reproduction of their parents with little or nothing to cater for them.
Then what is the panacea?
Anyone who desires marriage must have a degree of maturity, by knowing before-hand that marriage comes with storms, and understanding those things that bring marital satisfaction and family oneness. Some have gone out of their way to remain in a marriage unhappy, despite different episodes of physical abuse.
There is no doubt that the awareness of some specific factors by which people could forecast the success or failure of their marriage, will help them take notice of their usefulness, in order to achieve a greater level of adjustment. It is true that no one marries with the intention of failing, but the secret of a successful marriage does not lie in luck and there are some basic considerations for each of the spouses.
Marriage, like any social system requires a variety of preparations, such as the ability of the person to be responsible so as to deliver the incredible and achieve the unachievable marital success in order to avoid birthing further handicapping situations.
After all has been said, is there really a catholicon to this scourge? Yes! And this is centered round the parents, since the choice of bringing forth a hero is from them. Below is the suggested way out:
As responsible parents, here are just few things you must know, adhere to and put in place.
- You must bring your children up in the ways of the Lord
- You must give the qualitative education up to university level, at least, to them
- You must provide them all the basic human needs such as food, clothes, shelter, care, advice, money etc. up to university level and beyond
- You must follow them up educationally even as they decide what career to pursue
- You must help them choose a career, friend and husband/wife but must never impose any of these on them
- You must be their closest friend and best adviser
- You must be their role model. They should be proud of you as a parent and tend to live their lives the way you lived yours although in an improved form
- You must allow them their privacy but proper supervision so that it won’t be abused.
As a parent or potential parent, you might find yourself in the trap of doing otherwise but please try and take cognizance of the above mentioned and try as much as you can to do them.
Finally, I call on policies makers, and the stakeholders in the family and marriage institutions that devalue the importance of parents in children’s lives, and parental involvement as critical to children’s well-being. Children need both parents, and parents need the support of social institutions in regard to being there for their kids. Happy 2016 Children’s day!!! #OneAfricanChild cares
This is an inspiration from the Holy Sprit through Ezekiel Adewale Fatomilola, campaign manager at FFD Nation, an NGO concerned with helping orphans, fatherless, motherless, IDPS become useful in the society and deliver the incredible as they simultaneously achieve the unachievable.
Ezekiel is clamouring for societal repositioning through the resurrection of the family institution… (firstname.lastname@example.org)