Taking Charge and Making Changes

To you my followers I do apologize for the fact that I have not been posting any thing much lately.  I have been busy working on a book which is now near completion.  I wish to share a chapter with you.  You can give me your feedback.

Single Parenting

     In days gone by the man generally accepted as the head of the family.  He was the one in charge of the household; he was the main provider.  While this is still the case in some homes there is an increase in the number of single parent homes where the fathers are conspicuous in their absence and the job of raising the children rests solely on the mothers.

Too many men are relinquishing their responsibilities as fathers.  Too many are coming up short in the approach they take towards caring for their families.  It is time for men to stand up, be men, and play the role that they are supposed to play.  It is the responsibility of a man to take care of his family and support his children; too many are failing to do so.

Being a man is not about how many children he can father and by how many women.  It should be about taking caring of his children and living a lifestyle that they can emulate.  Men must try to be good role models for their children.  They should be there for them, nurturing them and helping to mold them into the exemplary individuals that they can be.  They should be responsible fathers.

One cannot be unduly harsh since there are situations where many of these fathers were themselves brought up in single parent homes where the fathers were absent.  However, a man should not use this as an excuse.  He should not say, “My mother alone raised me and I turned out all right.”  He should instead seize the opportunity to stop the vicious cycle, to make the change, be the father that his dad never was and do what he knows is in fact the right thing to do.

Men need to understand that although they might achieve great accomplishments, get degrees, win medals, get accolades even; unless they live up to their responsibilities and play the role they are supposed to play in the lives of their families, they have failed.

The job of parenting is not an easy one.  None of us was born with parenting skills; it is something that we learn as we go along and alas it appears to be too tough a job for some men to handle and yet they think they are the stronger sex!

I sometimes wonder if it is a situation that some of these men suffer from amnesia which makes it so easy for them to get a child with a woman and move on to get a child with another and keep moving on without taking responsibility for any of these children.   They seem to have no memory that these children exist.  On deeper reflection these men are not worthy to be called fathers for they are in fact merely sperm donors.  They simply donate the sperms and that is the end of the story.

Women have been forced into the role of single parents in situations where the man was not there from the start or he left at some point in the relationship completely deserting his family.  I know of a case of a woman, who was with a man for over ten years, they had five children together.  The youngest child was about four months old when he left her and married another woman.  I remember her wanting a stove and having to wait for hours with that baby until he got back from church with his new wife to sign as a guarantor for her.  This case is not unique. There is another case where a man left his woman with seven children and married another woman.

Women need to stop been selfish and try to be kinder to each other in order to stop the hurt.  He is leaving her with five or seven children and you take him and you marry him.  What kind of sister does that to another sister?  As sisters, we need to start looking out for each other.   Some women will say, “Oh is him come look me.”  Yes maybe so but that does not mean you could not have said no when you learned about the other woman and her children.  I have been in those kind situations.  I remember this particular guy who kept asking me out, I knew his girlfriend had only recently had a baby so each time he asked me to go out with him I would ask him, “How is your girlfriend and how is they baby?”  One day he said to me, “Why every time I ask you out you ask me about my girlfriend and the baby?”  I said to him, “You seem to keep forgetting about them, so I have to keep reminding you.”  He never asked me out after that.

Women, stop acting so desperate for a man that if one tells you he likes you, even though you know he has a woman and children you are just going to dismiss them and hop into bed with him.  Do not try to ease your conscience by telling yourself that if the woman were doing everything right her man would stay home.   Men do not need a reason to cheat and because he may leave her to be with you does not mean he is going to stay with you even if you manage to convince him to marry you.  Women do not know what it is like to feel abandoned or cheated on until they have experienced it themselves.  I know of an individual who for years was in a relationship with another woman’s husband, eventually she broke up with him found someone else and got married.  When she found out that her husband was cheating on her she said she felt like she was going to go mad, she said it was then that she realized how the other woman must have felt when she was having a relationship with her husband.  Karma can be a bitch.  If you are going to leave someone else hurting do not count too much on having a happily ever after with him.

Getting back to the job of single parenting, as the saying goes a job worth doing is worth doing well.  Despite all the odds women need to do their best in raising their children.  You know how the cards are stacked; you know what you are working with.  You know the one person your children are depending on is you so you cannot afford to fail them.

As a good parent, you have to ensure that their day-to-day needs are taken care of.  You also have to ensure that they get a good education.  Many women are in low paying jobs and this sometimes makes it difficult for them to keep up with day-to-day expenses.  While some of these women decide to go it alone, others simply cannot cope.  Once the fathers can be located, women should utilize the facilities set up to collect money from delinquent fathers.  By right, it should never have to come to this, but the way some men behave, the women simply do not have a choice.

The financial aspect however is only a part of parenting because parenting is more than just putting food on the table and clothes on their back.  It is imperative that children get the opportunity of a good education, as this is one of the most fundamental aspects of their development.  There is also the question of discipline.  There is a consensus that there is a breakdown of discipline in society.  In order to curb this trend and bring things back on par, one has to begin by maintaining discipline in the home.

Boundaries have to be set and rules and regulations lay down by which children should abide.  This should begin from an early age.  Parents should ensure that children adhere to the rules irrespective of gender.  Too often, we monitor the girls while allowing the boys to roam free.  It is understandable that parents are concerned about their daughters, the fear of them getting pregnant and dropping out of school.  However, for a son there is an equal danger of him falling into the wrong crowd, doing drugs or getting involved in petty crimes.  He might be even brainwashed into believing that there is an easier way to make it in life and that is by selling drugs or getting involved in other illegal activities instead of working hard and staying in school.

The bling, bling, the flashy cars and expensive jewels may be hard for him to resist and once he gets a taste for that kind of life, it will be hard to convince him that there is a better way.  Therefore, mothers keep a reign on your boys.  Do not say he did not turn out right because his daddy was not around.  Get involved in their lives.  Get to know their friends.  Know the people with whom they are socializing.  Make sure they adhere to curfews and they are not hanging out all night on the street corners.  The dangers out there may be worse than that of getting pregnant.

Talk to your children, have an open line of communication.  Try to build trust between yourself and them.  Make them feel like it is okay to tell you anything.  They should be able to come to you with any problem that they might have, make them feel safe.  Encourage them to do their best in school.  Take an interest in their school life.  Make sure that they do their homework.  Talk to your children about the importance of having a career or learning a skill.  Although you should guide them in choosing the right career, the ultimate decision should be theirs.  There is no point in forcing a child to pursue a career that he or she is not happy doing.

There are instances where parents not having accomplished their own career dreams try to get their children to live out their dreams for them.  This of course is not a reasonable wish, it is their lives and they ought to be able to choose what it is that they want to do.

We should teach children to stand up for what they believe in and not to give in to peer-pressure.  They must learn to be responsible, to stay away from drugs and not to engage in promiscuous behavior.

The task of holding down a job and been a full time mom is not an easy one.  Can you imagine what it is like for those who are holding down two and three jobs in order to take care of their families?  This sometimes creates a situation where they do not have enough time to spend with their children.  Despite the stress of work and running a household parents have to find a way to spend quality time with their children.  You have to find time to sit and talk with your children allowing them the opportunity to talk about anything they might want to talk about with you.  When they have problems, you have to ensure that you find time to help them get through it.

In order that you do not become too overworked and burnt out, it might be a good thing to delegate the jobs around the house.  You could give each child a chore that he or she is able to perform competently.  With each child, helping in whatever way possible chores will complete much quicker.  This will not only teach children responsibility, but it also creates more time for the family to spend together.

You have to make time for the family to have fun together.  As the saying goes, “All work and no play make Jack a dull boy.  Children like having fun; they need amusement in their lives.  You could have movie night where the family goes out together.  You can go on picnics or go to the beach and visit local places of interest.  All this will have to be within the family budget.  If the family can afford to go out only once a month, so be it because there are other things the family can do together at home as a form of recreation.  You can have games night where you play games and have popcorn and ice cream for example.  This gives the children something to look forward to and make them realize that they can stay at home and still have fun.

No one has the ability to perform miracles, but it is imperative that mothers try to guide and steer their children in the right direction.  Once children begin at an early age to live a positive life-style the job of parenting as they become older will not be so daunting.  As the old saying goes, “You have to bend the tree while it is still young.”

As a single mother, you need to b careful not to indulge in self-pity. Do not go around looking as if you are carrying the weight of the world on your shoulder.  There are thousand if not millions of women in a similar situation as you are.  In fact, you might find that some are in a far worse situation than you are.

There are times when out of frustration you will say things that can be interpreted in a wrong way.  You therefore need to be careful about what you say to your children.  Never say to the child, “If it was not for you I could have done this or that.”  I will leave the impression that the child is being blamed for something, which he or she had no control over in the first place.  Children need to feel that you love them and that they are wanted.  Do not say things that will have a negative impact.  Whatever your circumstances, never give your children the impression that you could have done better if it was not for them.

Do not throw your problems on your children because in time to come they will have their fair share of problems to deal with.  Let their childhood days be happy ones.  While they are still young, let them enjoy every moment of their childhood.

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