Step-parent, your silence is deafening

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You got married to a man or woman that has children but you never see this person taking care of children from a previous relationship. My question to you is: why are you quiet as the stepmom or stepdad? By getting involved with this person, you have become part of his or her life, children included.

For example, this whole year you have not seen any time or money being channelled towards their children to make sure that they also have a good life. Perhaps December is close (or many Decembers have passed) and you have not seen this person making an effort to buy anything for the child or spend time with him. Why is it that as the other partner you never ask where the other children are, how come they are not being visited, why they do not come over for holidays and many other things a parent is supposed to in forming a meaning relationship with the child?

This really puzzles me and before you say “it’s not my problem”, I believe it is, because this is the person you live with, the one who does not care about the children. Are you not worried that this might happen to you one day if things go wrong in your relationship?

Of course we want to take care of our own first and I believe that it’s only natural that I have my needs taken care of before I can think of the next person. I also know of women who will say let’s get all the children together and buy them clothes, school uniform, pay their fees etc and I want to commend such women. They have decided to put their interests aside and deal with the reality.

The reality is that this person has children, and they need him or her in some instances; we cannot wish them away. Why then pretend as if nothing wrong is happening when this parent is not taking care of the children?

Before you say “andizukulwela amadabi akho mna ndinabam abantwana to take care of” (I will not fight your battles for you I have my own children to take care of) –I think it is important to go back to ubuntu, and, as a parent, know that what is happening to the other parent night happen to you one day.

One exception would be parents who do not want the previous partner to get involved with the child when the relationship is over. We can only hope that one day they see the light, or the other parent seeks legal advice in accessing the child and getting involved in the life of the child.

I would definitely tap the shoulder of my partner if I see him neglecting his own children as this would actually mean that I am involved with a man with no conscience and am accepting it and perpetuating the problem by keeping quiet. We need to speak up: the whole notion of humanity (ubuntu) starts at home.

Do you know anyone who neglects their children from a former relationship? Why not tell us about it.


Read more by Masanda Peter

Disclaimer: The views of columnists published on Parent24 are their own and therefore do not necessarily represent the views of Parent24.

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