Absent fathers have no excuse

2013-11-26 10:00

Many may have concluded that it is the norm in our society that today’s men cannot be present and responsible for their children.

And the release last week by Stats SA of a report on young children confirms this. However, there is a different view to the one offered by this report.

I believe there are various contributing factors to fathers’ absence from their children’s lives. And if we unpack this, we may find solutions that could help us win this war of absent fathers. The most important question to ask ourselves is: Why are fathers absent?

Today, there is a war of power between men and women. Traditionally, most men still think they are superior to women. Consequently, women have challenged this and believe that “we don’t need a man” and that they can do things better on their own.

With the hurt women have endured at the hands of their partners, most of them have resorted to finding sperm donors rather than partners.

These women can provide for their children and the father is taken out of the picture.

However, in this instance, it is a selfish decision that benefits the woman and denies the father the opportunity to play his equal role in the child’s growth and development.

Women involved with married men are often looking for financial gain, but end up pregnant. This leads to the father being absent – only providing financial support for the child.

They are referred to as ATM fathers. These fathers provide for their children financially, but not emotionally.

The law gives women power to decide whether to terminate or keep a pregnancy. This happens when couples accidentally make a child – yes, I said accidentally.

The woman can make the decision alone without taking into consideration whether

the father is ready for fatherhood or not. The result is that the father will be absent, since he was forced to make a decision he was not emotionally prepared for.

Couples sometimes think they will be together as parents, only to realise they are not when the responsibility is upon them. In most instances, anger and other emotions take over.

The men end up being shut out of the children’s lives for the hurt and disappointment they have caused the mother.

In the end, the child suffers. And you cannot blame the women for taking such a decision because often it is the man who led them to this point.

Financial security plays a huge role in many relationships today. Joint incomes are the order of the day, unlike back in the day when the man was king of the castle and the sole provider.

Men who make babies outside their marriages will remain absent from their “other” children for the sake of the stability of their families.

While this report reflects the truth, there are other fathers who are doing their bit.

These are the voices that are not really being heard most of the time.

Men need a platform to voice their challenges. Rather than staying in the shadows, we challenge men and offer them a platform to deal with issues that cause them to abdicate their responsibilities as fathers.

But in my view, whatever the reasons are for a man being absent, I don’t support or agree with them. Each and every child has the right to have a father. Children should not pay the price of the decisions taken by two adults.

There’s no excuse for a father to be absent. Our children need their fathers more now than ever. So I call on all men to take charge and be responsible for their kids. This will go a long way towards the stability and wellbeing of our children.

Who looks after our children?

»?Ndashe is founder of I Love Fatherhood


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