Father fighting to see his kids dispels myth about men not caring to raise offsprings

Mbuyiselo Botha Gender Imbizo
Solomon Mondlane is commended for fighting for the right to see his children, who are now living with their mother's parents. /supplied
Solomon Mondlane is commended for fighting for the right to see his children, who are now living with their mother's parents. /supplied

A few weeks ago, I read an article that tugged at my heartstrings and devastated me.

The article in question was published by Pretoria News, detailing the gut-wrenching tale of a man who has not seen his children for almost three years. The man in question put up a tent and staged an 11-day hunger strike outside social development department.

He did all of this in a bid to draw attention to his ordeal and to ultimately see his two children, who moved in with their grandparents after their mother died and he has not seen them since.

The Swazi national alleges that the children's maternal grandparents did not like him much, citing the nationality and religious beliefs as possible reasons for him being barred from seeing his children.

A few years ago the same man walked from eMalahleni to the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria to create awareness for his plight. His efforts have not been in vain.

After the story gained media traction, several men have come out in solidarity, sharing stories of a similar nature. The matter is now being taken up by lawyers on a pro bono basis.

The man has to be commended for the lengths he has gone to see his children, thus dispelling the myth that men are not natural caregivers. I do not know the full merits of this man's story, so I will refrain from breaking down its specifics, particularly because the matter might still be heard in court.

Instead, I will lament the narcissistic cruelty of using children as weapons in a divorce or other form of separation.

Children being used as weapons in a war by feuding marital couples is a well-known phenomenon.

Parents and caregivers do not see the damage they cause their children and their relationships by either barring one parent from seeing the children or by communicating with each other through the children as a result making the child feel compelled to choose sides.

I want to debunk the idea that a "good separation is a myth". Proponents of this view argue that children who are exposed to divorce are likely to suffer psychological pathologies. In essence, their argument is premised on the idea that the welfare of a child rests on whether the parents are together or not.

This is highly untrue and void of reason. Surely, a home with parents that are always at each others' throats is more harmful to a child.

I'm writing this article as someone who has gone through a divorce. It is crucial to remember that the number one priority is the children. No matter how the divorce proceedings unfold, the question should always be, "what will happen to the kids?" Are you selling your matrimonial home? What about the kids? Are you moving to a different country? What about the kids?

This is important, because splitting as husband and wife or lovers does not directly mean splitting as parents. But more often than not, a breakdown in romantic relations prompts other individuals to use the parenting relationship as leverage.

Even when you did not initiate the separation, that still do not warrant the use of children as pawns. It's an inconsiderate and narcissistic way of getting back at your former partner sugar-coated as "doing what's best for the children".

When parents continue to be present, the child fares better. The grass does not have to suffer when elephants fight.

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