Tuesday, April 16, 2024

NEW DAWN – Dollars from dads


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IT IS NO ACCIDENT that dollars and dads both begin with “d”. Guys might counter its the same as mums and money being “m” words.
Many still see dads as mainly having a role of earning and giving money to mums; and most mothers rely on fathers to do so. Back in the day, the thinking was that a man was obliged to pay 100 per cent expenses for his child, since few women had or earned money.
Today, it is more reasonable to accept that financial (and other responsibilities) of parenting should be shared.
I was once told that one-third of fathers here do not support children. But, happily, that means two-thirds do. Those who do not get any dollars from their biological father may be supported by mother and her family, but in many cases have been raised with one or more stepdads assisting the mum.
Yet the role of the boyfriends, lovers, or husbands who support children who are not theirs biologically is often taken for granted or overlooked. And Shakespeare was too right when he cautioned “’tis a wise man that knows his father”.
Some kind-hearted and responsible men, however, step up to the crib and help mothers with whom they have some involvement, even if this means wearing the proverbial “ready-made jacket”.
These guys should be admired, but unfortunately some pour scorn on such men, saying “You are not the real father”. But the man with whom the child forms the parental bond and calls “daddy” is the psychological father, and that is a very real relationship.
(Stepmothers also suffer their share of negative remarks and unappreciation.)
If all the adults involved make decisions based on what is best for the child and communicate in a polite way, the negative impact of separations and divorces on youngsters can be lessened. But too many people use the love of the other parent to make unfair money demands, or refuse contact with the child.
What they fail to see is that the person who is most hurt by such behaviour is the child.
So as Father’s Day approaches (next Sunday), please think about showing some appreciation to whoever has been a dad, full or part-time to you and let them know you are grateful. For younger children, mothers can express some thanks to dads and father figures.
All praise is due to good dads who not only give money and pay bills, but who take an active part in child care and spend time with the youngster. Some fathers even perform both mothering and fathering roles in the absence of the female parent; just as some mothers “father” children.
I started giving my mum Father’s Day cards or gifts after the divorce.
I had heard her saying the dentist was going to pull out one of her teeth, and she couldn’t afford a new one. I found a tooth (probably animal) put it in a matchbox and gave it to her as a Father’s Day present.
To my surprise the rest of the family laughed at my seriously thought out gift!
Dawn Morgan is a NATION Senior Reporter (Advertising) urging mums to respect dads and let children spend time with them. Phone 430-5495. Email dawnmorgan@nationnews.com

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