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On Father’s day, a few days ago, I wrote an article appealing to single mothers to be proactive about doing everything that they can to encourage a relationship between their children and their fathers even if they do not necessarily like or respect them. I also shared my views on the ongoing custody battle between Dwayne Wade and his former wife, basically saying that his ex-wife should not have tried to get in the way of “D-Wade” seeing his children on Father’s day.
While the media is buzzing about all the issues that single parents are going through, I can’t help noticing that we have started to lose sight of the more pressing issue-why are there so many single parents to begin with?
One does not have to do much searching to find piles and piles of data, research and studies that all conclude that the best environment for a child to be raised is in a functional two parent home. The reason why I say that a father’s right to see his children is a secondary issue is because I believe that the primary issue that needs to be addressed is that of children being in single parent homes to begin with.
Most single parent homes are a result of two main things:
1. Two people who were not necessarily committed to one another did not practice “safer” sex and the woman fell pregnant and they had a child.
2. Two people commit to one another and then decide to have a child or children together and then later decide that they can no longer continue being in the marriage or relationship.
While it is important to have dialogue about the importance of having both parents in a child’s life, usually focused on Fathers because mothers tend to be the primary custodians, it is even more important to talk about why we are giving our children second rate lives by raising them in environments that have been proven to open them up to many threats and put them “at risk”.
My experience with engaging in dialogue about this topic is that a lot of people become defensive and make a lot of excuses and a lot of blame gets thrown around. The truth, though, is that any time a man or woman points a finger at another, he or she still has a level of responsibility that they are avoiding.
If you had an unplanned pregnancy, you have to own up to the fact that you were not being responsible. If you were in a committed relationship or marriage, you have to own up to the fact that you were not willing to do the work that it takes to sustain that relationship and preserve a safe and functional home for your child or your children.
As with most things, there are exceptions, but let’s be honest, most people who find themselves caught up in “baby-mama-drama”, whether they are the “mama” or the “daddy” are not the exception. They are people who made some choices and now, not only do they have to live with those choices, so do their children. It’s a tough pill to swallow but if need be, we have to stand up for our children and swallow the pill.