Wifespeak: Don’t burden the children with your insecurities

Love to a child means protection, guidance, nurturing.

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Someone married a single mother. This someone said he was ready to love, care for and adopt the child. He only had one condition for the mother. “Break off ties with the biological dad.” She did not ask him to elaborate. She saw white gowns, guests in a tent, aroma of pilau wafting through the air, mingling with the singing and cheering guests on her wedding day. What should have been a red flag for the mother, and a decision not worth losing sleep over, became the first scar in that child’s life.

While her son was trying to understand and accommodate this new man in his mother’s life, he missed time with his dad. Mind you, the biological father was not interested in the woman, only his child. He wanted shared custody, co-parenting. The couple ‘desperately’ wanted to get married and keep an illusionary status, so the woman went along with her new beau’s terms and conditions. She made up excuses and kept the son and father away from each other.

When weeks went by and he still could not access his son, the father realised that a game was in play. He went to the children’s court. The stepfather now wants that child out of his house, unless the mother can completely obliterate his biological father from the child’s life. I am glad that the law is sober. That the legal people can sit down, calmly, composed, not breaking a sweat, no raised voices and listen to these clowns. Because, me?

My people have a saying, loosely translated reads, ‘It is better to sire a delinquent than a fool.’ Delinquency can be reformed but folly has no cure. Can someone tell that mother that nothing on this planet and the ones beyond should ever be allowed to separate a child from his father? Children do not care what issues adults have. All that a child needs is to feel safe with the said adults. Is that too much to ask? In fact, children can have as many as five fathers or mothers, as long as love is served.

Love to a child means protection, guidance, nurturing. You cannot promise to love a child on condition that they cannot love or see their parent. It is not like love is halved when shared. A child loving their biological father does not mean that they cannot grow to love their stepfather if he – step father- steps up and becomes an additional dad to that child. This is child psychology 101.

Love grows, the more we give the more it deepens. Children grasp this but adults are so selfish and full of resentment that instead of admitting they intend to withhold love from a stepchild, they come up with conditions. “I will only love you if you do this or that.” The truth? New terms and conditions will always be set up. Love is a verb, an intentioned action not a mere feeling. We choose to love by small consistent acts every day, whether towards a spouse or a child.

Those two foolish adults are missing out on demonstrating to their children, the beauty and the magic that is love. The capacity to love one parent does not diminish when love grows for the other parent. That child can have two fathers and he will grow up with love from both. If that mother decides to hide the child from his biological father, that stepfather should be wise -he’s not- and ask, what if we divorce tomorrow? Will my children be withheld from me by their new step father?

These two are selfish, immoral and what they are doing is illegal. Do they not realise that their children are siblings to this other child? Do they think that their other children will have a healthy, happy upbringing at the expense of their half-brother?

A child has every right to see their biological parents even when there is divorce and remarriage. Isitoshe, you acquire legal rights and obligations over a child even as a stepparent, including making decisions for the best interests of the child, such as creating time for the biological parent to access their child. Man up or keep off from marrying people with children if you cannot think beyond your insecurities. But if you truly are committed to making it work with dating a person with children, work on enhancing your emotional intelligence quotient, subtract mean spirits and add tons of kindness.

Karimi is a wife and mother who believes marriage is worth it.