'It takes a real unselfish man to raise a child': Readers respond to father who cannot afford weekends with his child

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"A distraught father wrote to Parent24 asking for advice about his parenting dilemma." Photo: Getty Images
"A distraught father wrote to Parent24 asking for advice about his parenting dilemma." Photo: Getty Images

A distraught father wrote to Parent24 asking for advice about his parenting dilemma.

This father, who pays R1 500 towards child support, says that the problem is that his baby mama is not packing anything for the child when she comes to spend weekends with him, which leads to him buying new clothes, among other things, every weekend he is with his child.

This father says that he cannot afford this, and he asked for advice. Read the full story here: Father says weekends with his child are too much for him to afford 

We reached out to maintenance activist and founder of Child Maintenances Difficulties in South Africa, Felicity An Guest, who advised this father to have a wardrobe for the child at his place to avoid buying new clothes every week.

But the story really resonated with parents across South Africa, with people from all walks of life chipping in with advice, suggestions, criticism and praise.  

Also read: #NoOneWins: Everything you need to know about Parental Alienation 

How much is enough?

Although the main issue was bringing the child's clothes and necessary items in this situation, some readers thought this was a time to address the childcare costs, with some saying that often it is a woman who pays such costs and it seems men have no idea.

Like one reader, Sherry, said, "Some men do not have a cooking clue about the expenses of having children. R1500 for any child in one month can never cover all their needs… stop making babies if you cannot afford it."

Eugene commented, "Welcome to the real world... take an R1500 / 30days =R50 /day - what do you buy for R50? The bad thing is you have money for cigarettes and booze but not for your child. It takes a real unselfish man to raise a child." 

"At least he is paying…."

This post was also welcomed by mothers who have been raising their children alone due to a father who is absent in their child's life.

With some people who felt that if the father is paying child support of R1500, that is something.

Like Emily, who said, "He is paying something at least. For years I have gotten nothing. Not even a message. He is at least trying. People can be so mean and ungrateful."

"At least she gets something, some of us get R0,00 whilst the baby daddy stays with the other woman and her kids taking care of them daily," agreed Kholofelo.

"R1500 is not bad, but if she has to take out school fees and transportation from that amount, plus food for the whole month, medication, stationery, then I do not know," added Moroko.

One reader, Philiswa, shared that it is so sad that women sometimes use their kids to fight their own battle as parents. She thinks that is what is happening in this situation, adding that she thinks that the mother is doing this out of bitterness. 

Parental Alienation

The article also resonated with fathers who have been struggling with parental alienation, whereby a parent  deliberately and knowingly damages or severs the relationship between a child and another parent.

As dad Mpho shared, "At least you're allowed to take her home, some of us are struggling to take our children home but we pay the same amount as long as she has food, clothes and a roof over her head."

One woman, Theresa added "The fact remains it's not about you two anymore, but the child. A parent who is keeping the child away from the father /mother is not worse, because both parties have a share in the child's life, unless there is more severe situations as for why one of the parents is denied visitation rights."

She added that many men aren't allowed to see their kids, but they have to pay up. She asked why this is, adding that in many cases they are the few who are taking a chance, but are not being given that second chance.


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