Parenting never ends

2012-06-28 00:00

I HAVEN’T been much of a news watcher, but for the first time I recently heard concerns being voiced about illegal abortions and the so-called miracle workers who advertise their services on the streets. It’s long overdue.


The issue of teenage pregnancy and young mothers is one that is very close to my heart as I am a young mother myself. I was 21 when I had my first child and abortion was the last thing on my mind, let alone one of those backstreet operations. Those people must be located and locked up. They are putting at risk the lives of many young girls who are in dire need of a quick, cheap solution. What’s R500 for a life? And sometimes it’s not just that one life.

Having said that, as much as we look to the government to protect young desperate girls from illegal abortionists, parents have to start taking responsibility too, because 80% of the time it is the parents’ anticipated reaction to an unexpected pregnancy that drives young women to these dodgy operators. I cannot yet understand the pain of a parent whose child has unexpectedly fallen pregnant, but it can’t be so bad that parents are willing to disown their own flesh and blood. I hear of parents who kick their pregnant teenagers out of the house for months, sometimes until the baby is born. To whom are you sending your child? And what message are you giving them by doing this? Why abandon them at a time when they need you most?

Parents should be parents. This is the one job that doesn’t come with a contract, one that you cannot just sommer resign or abscond from when you wish. At the end of it all, it is the most rewarding job anyone could have. I thought things like wanting to love your children, wanting to protect and provide for them came naturally. And it’s always unconditional. It remains so even when your child has wronged you in ways you never imagined. In the matter in question, yes, the parent has to discipline and teach responsibility but not by abandoning or disowning the child. As a parent you are still expected to lead by example.

It’s time parents realised that their children remain theirs until they die, whether they do good or bad. Giving up on them shouldn’t even be on the list of solutions, unless, of course, you know you’re raising failures who are expected to give up at the first wrong turn.

Raise your children right and understand that perfection is an absurd expectation. They will disappoint you, but it’s never the end of the road. Be the parent you want them to be.


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