Fri | Nov 16, 2018

Taking care of your ‘worthless’ parents

Published:Saturday | February 13, 2016 | 12:00 AMCecelia Campbell-Livingston

There are a lot of great parents out there, but then again there are those who, just for a brief while, shared in the procreation process. Some mothers have thought nothing of abandoning their child/children and leaving for greener pastures never looking back, while there are the fathers who spend on everything else, but their children.

They will even sit in the rum bars, drinking and bragging about the many children they have, yet never finding the time to invest financially, emotionally or otherwise to the well-being of those children.

Fast forward to the future when the tables have turned, the parents are now destitute and down on their faces, while these abandoned children are flourishing.

While some will, out of pity, give them something, others remain bitter about their lack of contribution during their formative years and refrain from stretching their hands to help.

The Bible gives the command to honour your parents so that your days may be long, but in reality, are they really 'parents' to you and would these children still come under fire for turning their backs?

Family and Religion sought answers from Dr Chloe Morris, former lecturer/administrator at Mona Ageing and Wellness Centre, who specialises in social work and works with families with specific interest in older persons and men.


Addressing children who are reluctant to look past their parents' neglect to help them, she stated, "The answer is the understanding that this person did wrong, however, I never knew what lead to that decision - spiting the other parent, anger, advice from relatives friends, overwhelmed and frightened and the list goes on with excuses," according to her, none of these reasons would justify the action taken to abandon the child.

"The child grows up however, scarred emotionally, psychologically and sometimes physically, but as fate would dictate, matured to decide not to do the same thing. With that decision, the next most painful thing is to forgive the parent, initially with a heavy heart reach out to this 'wicked parent'. It is only then that the facts are sometimes realised. So, what you owe them is forgiveness," she said.

According to Ephesians 6, children should give honour to their parents and Morris agrees that good or bad parents the Bible should be obeyed "and make the giver of the command have His way with the parent. Most times they live to regret it, but for men, the responsibility of fatherhood is a frightening task, and only lately do we have preparation and parenting classes," she said.

Morris said men are wired differently and therefore expressing their feelings will be done differently from women - the mothers.

"So even in the preparation the methods must consider how they think, internalise, communicate and respond," she shared.

A lot of abandoned children struggle with letting go of the bitterness to help. But for Morris, that task will have to be determined by a decision. She pointed out that they are hurting as much, and are not sure how to make the first move.

"Someone must start and it is the one with better understanding. Let the 'buck' stops with you. In this case, let the buck starts with you. Start the process of forgiveness. Do not pass the pain to your children. They also want to be a part of their grandparents' lives," she said.

While the Bible urges children to honour their parents, there are rules also laid down for parents especially fathers. "Fathers provoke not your children to wrath".

Morris said their actions will indeed initiate wrath, anger, bitterness and hate which are all poisonous to the soul and ultimately to the bodies.

"It becomes a moral responsibility to care and sow what you wish to reap. A myriad stories exist of parents who live to regret, what could be perceived as a selfish act."