Fathers Day for the Fatherless

It is that time of the year again, where children in Foundation Phase at most primary schools will be making cards and preparing gifts to give to their fathers on Sunday June 16, 2013. This might be a very stressful time for most children even parents. There might be questions, emotions and a lot of explaining to do.

Most children will come home on Friday with these nicely prepared items that took some of them even 2 weeks to prepare. Just like mommy was there to receive her present on Mother’s Day, children will expect to give these to their fathers also.

On realisation that there is no father in their family some of these children may have mixed emotions and the vocal ones might even ask “where is daddy?” “Why don’t I have a daddy like Nomusa?”

According to an article by News24 [http://www.news24.com/SouthAfrica/News/Only-33-of-SA-kids-live-with-both-parents-20130311 ] only 33% of children live with both parents. The rest live with single parents, on their own, with relatives or in foster care. 

I am aware that there are fathers who are raising children on their own and to them I say well done, you are doing an excellent job and you deserve every bit of appreciation and recognition there is. In fact, the article quoted above does say “Just over 39% of children live with their mothers only. About 4% live with their fathers only.”

The point I want to make today is that children need to know that there is nothing wrong with having a single parent. Children should not feel stigmatised and burdened because they do not have particularly a father living with them. Children need to be taught and told that each parent is as good as the other.

I am definitely not denying the benefits for the child and society if a child is raised by both parents living together. I do agree also that we need to teach our children the importance of being present responsible parents when they grow up. However, in the mean time they are living without fathers and it’s not their fault. We should not be adding more stress and worry to the children for something they have no control over.

Teachers, carers even TV and Radio programmes should start showing children that what is more important in a family is love and stop defining roles as those for mothers or fathers only as if should a child not have either no one will be able to play these roles. I am reminded of an article written by Koketso Moeti entitled When ‘educational’ programmes do more harm than good [http://www.thoughtleader.co.za/koketsomoeti/2013/05/03/when-educational-programmes-do-more-harm-than-good/ ] where she says, why do we still have programmes that define roles for parents as different. Mothers are depicted as housekeepers that have to take care of the washing and daddy. Fathers are portrayed as strong individuals that provide for and protect the family. Koketso further says “Children should know that no matter what their family looks like, families are supposed to be a loving space.”

Children already know that their family does not look like Nomusa’s family who lives with both mom and dad but this should never make them feel and inferior or less important.

So may we make this Father’s Day less stressful and give our children all the love and support they deserve.

Tiffany Markman, says If you’re the child of a single mom (or a you have an amazing uncle, aunt, cousin or friend of the family who’s stepped into the breach), here are 6 Fathers’ Day tips:

1. Write your mom a Fathers’ Day card, and in it, list all of the things she does for you that aren’t traditionally mommy things.

2. Take her out for Fathers’ Day brunch, lunch or dinner (breakfast’s just too early) and celebrate with manly food and drinks: boerewors, burgers, beer.

3. Schlep her off to see an action movie. In 3D. If she/you can bear it.

4. Buy her a present that’s functional rather than pretty. But nothing crap like a tie, socks, soap on a rope or a pack of biltong.

5. If she still lives alone, ask her for a list of all of the crappy DIY she needs done: hanging art, re-locating pot plants, fixing appliances, updating virus protection software, etc, and then go do it. All of it. Without whining.

6. Take her to a spa. They’ll be quiet on F-Day, and you’ll both enjoy it.

And if you’re a single parent yourself? With little kids? Tell them you’re going to celebrate Fathers’ Day anyway, starting this year. It’ll give them something to be excited about at school and on the day, and it’ll make them feel more ‘normal’.

Read more here: http://www.zaparents.com/2013/06/11/when-the-mothers-the-father/

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