Sat | Aug 19, 2017

Trevor E.S. Smith | Calling Mothers to action on Father's Day

Published:Sunday | June 18, 2017 | 6:00 AMTrevor Smith

I was well into my article on '7 Ps of fatherhood', when I decided that another interesting piece was not the answer this year.

I will not recount the problems that absentee and irresponsible fathers are causing in our society. Instead, I want to put a different approach to addressing the issue.

My plan is to place the spotlight on the opposite gender and look to our women to influence the behaviour of enough dysfunctional fathers to achieve transformation.

 

ESTRANGED MOTHERS

 

The first appeal is to mothers who are no longer communicating with the fathers of their children. A large number of pregnancies take place outside of stable unions, and in many instances there is a total breakdown in the relationship.

Therefore, it is not surprising to find that there are scores of children who are actively denied access to their fathers. Compare that situation with the natural interest that most children will have in connecting with a parent. The separation produces internal conflicts, which may or may not be manifested on the outside.

Frequently, the situation is worsened, as mothers paint terrible images about the estranged father and poison their children's minds against him. Make no mistake, denial of contact with a parent is not healthy for the child.

 

FIRST CALL

 

Stop saying negative things about your children's father. It is not likely to enhance their self-esteem. You might also be producing resentment and feelings of hostility.

If you can't bring yourself to say positive things, leave the subject alone.

 

SECOND CALL

 

This is more challenging - work to achieve a situation in which civil communication is possible. Violence and exposure to abuse aside, it will make a huge difference if mothers can lead the process of normalising relationships with the fathers of their children.

Benefits include:

- Experiencing at first hand the wonders of forgiveness.

- Teaching children and others that conflicts can be resolved amicably.

- Being an example that reconciliation is possible with a shift in mindset.

 

THIRD CALL

 

Teach and encourage your children to respect their fathers. Family relationships have a tendency to be repeated across generations. What is ingrained in the minds of these offsprings may well be passed on to their children.

Daughters may find it challenging to have a meaningful long-term relationship because of their distrust of men - like their 'good for nothing' father.

Boys often follow in the footsteps of their father and become a dysfunctional parent themselves, despite vowing to be different.

 

DAUGHTERS

 

Today's major call is directed at daughters. Daughters have the capacity to be a major force for transformation. Most fathers have a special place in their hearts for their daughters. Daughters consequently have a significant level of influence over their fathers.

Pause for a moment to reflect on what could be achieved if daughters could be mobilised to get their fathers to comply with a carefully developed series of commitments. Agencies working in the area of parenting could collaborate in identifying the key behaviours to be modelled and to mount public education campaigns.

Daughters could encourage their fathers to make a difference by:

- Being more accessible in meaningful ways.

- Taking a genuine interest in their progress.

- Providing thoughtful advice and being a voice of reason.

- Contributing to the pool of resources that they need for their development.

- Providing a sense of security and belonging.

- Helping to provide the guide rails that will help them maintain the discipline that is required to lead successful lives.

- Trusting them when they share issues of concern or incidents that have made them feel uncomfortable.

Watch my YouTube video: 7 Telltale Signs Your Relationship Is In Trouble, along with concrete steps as to how to invest in your relationship and save it.

- Trevor E.S. Smith is the author of '7 Keys To A Lasting Relationship' and 'Success In Marriage' - available on Amazon. He develops high-performing teams and offers SHRM & ICF-accredited certification and PDCs to leader-coaches. Improve your recruitment practices with FinxS candidate screening. Conduct employee-satisfaction surveys, 360 performance evaluations and team reports online. Contact: Email info@swpacademy.com