Commentary Jamaica Magazine

Fathers without Children

Fathers must play their role and be allowed to do so without hinderance. Single parenting and particularly the lack of involved fathers represents a more pressing threat to our progress as a people than is currently being recognized.

The high crime rates and the atmosphere of violence in areas where young men are raised without fathers and oftentimes incompetent mothers, have promoted cultural values based on violence, predatory sex and instant gratification. With the influence of the Drug Barons, Dancehall DJ’s, Hip-Hop, and Rap music, those values are the dominant male adolescent values of many urban and sub-urban communities. This has also spread to some middle class communities.

A situation now prevails where a large number of parents, inclusive of all classes, are essentially “disengaged” from educating, socializing and disciplining their children.

Yet for some fathers countless years we toil and struggle in and endless quest to bring about proper parenting and a better future for our children. At times we do come up short or empty handed either from unemployment, money- mismanagement, divorce, separation or low wages and as a result some mothers prevent us fathers from visiting or seeing our children.

Who me? Him not getting my pickney to carry go ha him woman yard. This is synonymous with some Jamaican mothers when their children’s fathers no longer have a relationship with them and in particular resides with another woman. However, children need the participation of both parents to be effective in their social, educational and moral upbringing.

It is wrong for mothers to use anger, jealously and or personal vendettas to seek sole custody of the children or to deny access to fathers. The payment of child support must never be the sole importance or responsibility of fathers, nor should none payment or short payment disqualifies or discourage fathers from other aspects of parenting.

It is the moral right and sacred duty of fathers to be involved in the lives of their children. Fathers have a right to spend time with their children (away from the mothers), the right to be knowledgeable (given) information about their children’s health, education and welfare and the right to partake in decisions significantly affecting the children.

Children need the love and support of both parents in order to develop into well-adjusted contributing members of society. Mothers who defamed fathers in the presence of the children are not exhibiting sound judgement. Children live what they see and hear and from negative exposures behavioural and physiological problems often emerge.

In today’s world, strong parental guidance is a must if we want our children to excel and not fall by the wayside. Fathers must be allowed to bond with their children and to establish good and meaningful relationships. Helping them with their class work and attending school/social functions, playing games with them and assisting and advising them in overcoming social and personal obstacles.

The rapport between fathers and children do have great significance in promoting and defining family values and expectations. Fathers are needed not only to reinforce discipline and order but to lead by example. To show love and tolerance, to give hope and guidance and to strengthen the safety nets from fear and failures.

Mothers, please give our children the opportunity to become well-rounded adults without running the risk of continuing the cycle of irresponsible and misguided parenting. We should take note that although parental access to children is a right, being a parent is a privilege and that we should not take for granted.

NB. Special acknowledgement to my fellow comrade in “arms” Maurice Drysdale for sharing valuable inputs to the above statements…. To all Fathers who are playing their role….Big Up Zeen! Encourage your brethrens to do the same and to those mothers whom no doubt are in disagreement.. please watch the movie ” Mrs. Doubtfire.”

About the author

Kharl Daley