I love you but not your child

I have an acquaintance who is not happy with her husband’s preteen daughters from a previous marriage visiting the couple’s home. Whenever her step-children visit she sulks and ignores them up to the point of not even greeting them. To keep the peace the husband has stopped his children from visiting him at home and has made alternative arrangements to see them elsewhere.

This step-mum has never taken the time to get to know her step-kids personally but decided long before she met them that she wanted nothing to do with her husband’s children. 

Not only are the girls missing out on spending maximum time with their father but they are not being given a chance to bond with their younger brother, the couple’s youngest child.

I’ve met single parents who when they get into a new relationship they put their needs ahead of those of their children. Some single parents will continue a relationship with someone who clearly does not like their kids and does not want to be a step parent.

I’ve a witnessed a case where a mother was given an ultimatum by her partner (not the father of her baby) to place the child with relatives if he was going to marry her. His argument was “I do not want to look after a child who is not mine.”

Desperate for love and companionship the mother obliged and placed her daughter with relatives. As time went by that child had little contact with her siblings from the current marriage.

All these scenarios left me thinking: Is it fair to ask a parent to give up the role of parenthood for the sake of romance? And should someone who does not want to be step parent have a relationship with a single parent even up to the point of marriage?

Although the answers to these questions seem so obvious in reality they can be a challenge for some single parents who find themselves in a similar predicament.

Any reasonable single parent should run a mile on realising that the prospective partner does not want to be a step-parent. And those people who do not want to be step-parents should not date people with kids. It’s as simple as that.

It’s selfish of an adult to demand that a single parent rescind his or her parental role for the sake of furthering romance or a similar relationship. To cut off a child from his or her parent for any reason is unacceptable and very immature.

If you are in a relationship with a single parent then you also have to acknowledge that person’s children. To do otherwise would be unethical and be tantamount to child abuse. No loving parent should ever choose a relationship over his or her child.

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

Read more by Sipho Yanano

Would you choose romance over your kids?
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