Be an involved father, not ‘absentee’ dad

A bonding father grows with his children and protects them… An involved father should be able to give account of all events and affairs around his family.

Agatha Ekeh

My girl came back from school one hot afternoon, when she was in SS3 (senior secondary school 3) and announced to me, ‘Mummy, one of my class girls is pregnant and her mummy is a prayer warrior!’

I tried to figure out the connection between the girl’s condition and her mum being a prayer warrior. I didn’t quite make the connection, so I probed further.

What I learnt left me with the clear impression that the mum got blamed for the girl’s pregnancy because she was often going to church for prayer programmes, and did not pay close attention to the home front.

It is well known that no society celebrates teenage pregnancy just like no woman would throw away her child because of teenage pregnancy. Such situations could be managed.

READ ALSO: What if your teenager gets pregnant?

With regard to the unfortunate situation of the SS3 girl, these questions are germane: was her father, a father indeed? Did he give all that he could give in terms of love, attention, spiritual, emotional and physical care? Was the father the unreachable type, who is perpetually switched off from every activity of the home? If he was such a father, then he had no moral standing to blame the wife. If he had been an involved father, then the pregnancy might not have occurred.

Truth be told, the father who thinks that his only duty is to pay school fees, provide shelter and ‘browse’ all the websites of his wife in the “other room” without being alive in the sitting room, family altar, and even in the kitchen, is certainly not a millennium father and husband.

The same way he vacuum cleans his woman to show his bedroom prowess should reflect in the other domestic and parenting responsibilities a father should carry out.

It is not a big deal if a father bathes their newborn baby, changes diaper and feeds the baby in the night while the stressed wife gets a nap. The heavens would not fall if a father wakes up early and prepares the children and drops them off at school. The children belong to both the father and mother. Daddy should not only roar in the bedroom as a man, he should also roar with domestic and financial responsibilities as well.

That women bond with their children from the womb is also the same way men should bond with their children. Both dad and mum produced the children through their joint (pleasant) effort.

In all the high-energy activity that eventually resulted in the adorable children, the newborns did not choose which of the parents to get close to. That only begins to develop later; it is the open show of affection that endears the children to her. But the fact is that the responsibility of raising a child should not be left for the woman alone.

A bonding father grows with his children and protects them like a hen shields its chicks from danger. An involved father should indeed be able to give account of all events and affairs around his family. A father can wash his children’s clothes together with them on the machine or manually and it could be a form of play, fun and learning process. He can teach his children household chores from sweeping to cleaning, washing and cooking while giving the best of care as well. They can drive to the gym together or jog together at the that local school field. If he is accountable at all times, the children would notice it. This leaves a lasting impression on them without fathers knowing it.

Men are increasingly shifting responsibilities to the woman with the reason of making unending money for the family. Who are you as a father? Are you a proud father? Lately, it has become the duty of women to ensure their children are in school from primary to tertiary level. You just see women running from one school to the other, moving from one principal’s office to the other, from one Vice Chancellor’s office to the other seeking admission for their children while daddies are at work, on business trips or keeping business appointments. It should not be so. Granted that such fathers pay the bills, it is not enough. Get to be involved in school runs.

On visiting days in secondary schools, if you look at the proportion of men to the women who are in school to assess the welfare of their children, you will marvel. You see mainly the mothers with their children; only few fathers bother to come around. Some other fathers would have gone for other activities that are not relevant to the ward’s welfare.

When school authorities announce meetings of the Parents Teachers Association, several fathers do not attend. It must be stressed that money trains no child.

I am not saying a husband cannot ask his wife to represent him somewhere, but also know that women who are running around to fix all these also make money and pay bills.

A woman once told me how she asked her husband to drop her and the daughter off for the child to write her examination since it was a rainy day: The man retorted that when the daughter gets married only the wife would be enjoying, especially during the period of weaning the baby (omugwo). Was that father, a dad indeed? Certainly not! He needs to repent from such traditional ideology.

Let me reveal a little secret: children take pride in telling their mates that their daddy would come, either during the visiting day, or pick and drop them off school. When the father fails, such children feel like they got a cut in the heart as they are crushed by the disappointment.

How many fathers go through their children’s books and their homework with them when they return from school? Just but a few. What about discussing with your children, especially young adults? Do your children have access to you as their father or your scary look drives them away? Are you the I-don’t-have-money-now type of father? Can your children feel free around you or heave a sigh of relief when you are not around. Are they free to come to you or wait for mummy to come back before they state their needs, and the mummy now transports it to you? Please do not be a father whose children celebrate his absence in the home because of your character. A father should be present and alive in the upbringing of his wards.

If you are a father who has done his job well, your daughter would not be in school and be temporarily married to his school boyfriend. A well brought up daddy’s girl cannot move in with a boy and start enjoying unprotected sex that leads to sexually transmitted diseases and unwanted pregnancies because her father would have discussed all these with her. She should be able to tell her father the truth at all times, speak her mind and fears because of the confidence she has in her special daddy.

If a woman runs around, taking care of the children, shopping, doing school runs and house chores from cooking, laundry to cleaning and still makes money to support the family, evidently the husband is gradually sending her to an early grave. Most families have decided to do away with house helps for fear of the unknown. The result is that the whole chores now rest on the shoulders of the woman; therefore, a good husband should take up a good part of the burden.

When a daddy wakes up to his responsibilities, everything simply falls into place. When a father has shown love and responsibility to his children, when that child goes away from parental care, they will not lose him or her to peer group pressure and wrong influences.

Dear Nigerian men, kindly note that your wives are not your errand girls. Do not turn her into a slave in the name of submissiveness. Learn how to spend quality time with your children, especially as they start school and begin to interact with others. Listen to and understand their language. If you are within reach as a father, this is the critical time when children pick bad habits and could be corrected. If you leave all the talking and shouting for your wife alone, all might not be very well.

Of a truth, a woman multitasks, but if her husband is available, let him be part of the game.

Do not leave all responsibilities for your wives while you spend the best part of your time with friends at drinking joints, night clubbing and Bet Naija. When you are called on phone, your response would always be, ‘I am somewhere.” Such engagements cannot be better than watching, nurturing and experiencing your family grow.

Daddy’s inputs leave lasting imprint on the mind of the child and forever such a father will be a role model for life. A father whose teenage daughter gets pregnant has failed in his duty as the head of the family.

READ ALSO: Being a Dad : Phrases fathers shouldn’t say to their kids

The post Be an involved father, not ‘absentee’ dad appeared first on The Sun Nigeria.

Source: news

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