It has become necessary to look at the issue of co-parenting from diverse ways. It is a major fallout when spouses either separate or divorce. In such situations, the best solution is not for one partner to “monopolise” the joy and warmth, which the presence of children bring to the home while the other party is left out in the cold. Of course, there are different views on the issue of co-parenting, depending on the circumstance. The onus lies on the ex-spouses to agree on how to take care of the children.
In cases of court-ordered divorce, lawful directives are given by the court on how to care for the children. It follows that the parties involved must respect the orders of the court and faithfully carry the financial burdens placed on them by the court. It could be in favour of the man or the woman depending on the facts of the case as shown by the evidence placed before the court, based on which it gave its judgment. Notwithstanding the decision of the court, the importance of a responsible biological father or mother in the parenting process cannot be overemphasized.
Where spouses simply decide to separate, they must necessarily recognise that the children belong to both of them. Therefore, it is their joint responsibility to care for the offspring. It is wrong for one spouse to threaten the other over the children as if they belong to him or her alone. There have been cases where men took away the children and relocated them to the home of their mother or some other relatives to raise, without the involvement of the biological mother. This is dead wrong, because when the children attain adulthood, their first question would be to know the whereabouts of their mother, followed with an effort to reunite with her even if she had remarried. As far as she is alive, her children would look for her, to bond with her. This same thing applies to the man. One should understand that a biological father or mother remains so as long as there is life. The chemistry never disappears, it never wanes, no matter how long a separation happens between a child and his father or mother. Any little opening will always bond them, to the surprise of the foster parents.
But again, there are cases where children refuse to see either of the biological parents due to their attitude. When a woman is utterly maltreated in marriage, especially when she bore no male child, the daughters from such families may not show affectionate feelings for such fathers. Of course, some other daughters born into such family setting may just take things easy with their father. In a situation where a woman lost her husband at a tender age, she quickly remarries almost immediately without asking about her children. Her conscience allowed her to abandoned them with the family and moved on. These children survived to the glory of God. After several years, the woman then remembered she had children earlier and planned a visit. As she approached the family compound, her sons chased her away, threatening to flog her if she did not go back to wherever she came from.
A distant brother, Chidiukwu popularly called Diukwu, has refused to forgive his mother who he calls ‘betrayal’. The mother had been with the son from infancy and all through his life; all the poor boy knew were his maternal uncles who he thought were his kinsmen. A day came when the family sold a certain portion of their land to another family and by tradition the proceeds should go round though not equally. Proceeds were shared among the family members without any getting to Diukwu who wondered why. He inquired from his uncle about his own share of the money realized from the sale of the land as a rightful member of the family. With a mischievous laughter, his uncle dismissed him and directed him to his mother for clarification. Diukwu threatened his mother with a long knife if she didn’t open to him about what was happening around him. In tears, the mother spilled the beans on the circumstances of his birth and why his father was absent in his life. There and then, Diukwu collected his father’s contact and went in search of him. He eventually got him with description and an unexpected party, celebration and merriment took place immediately. His aged father said he would rest well in his grave when he finally joins the saints because his blood had come back home. With time, Diukwu and his family relocated to his biological home.
Dear Nigerians, divorce and separation should not be the end of the world. At times, it is needed to save lives. It is only the living that can continue a relationship. But in such times, there must be an agreement on how the child or children must be taken care of for all to be happy. No parent should be disallowed access to the children; no parent should rubbish each other before the children.
Dr. and Dr. (Mrs) Clemence divorced but rented a building because of the children. While Dr. Clemence resided upstairs, his former wife lived downstairs, so the children could have access to both parents. I call them thinking and kind divorcees. Again, for those relatives who accept such children without considering the implication and the feeling of their parents, why not step in and make peace, so the children and parents would be happy and live together ever after. Let us be mindful that a parent is a parent. Responsible women make a difference in the world, and that is the more reason children should be trusted in their care, especially at their formative years. The children should not be denied access to the parents. The love, affection and comfort the children are entitled to should not be tampered with in times of separation and divorce. Even if the child wants to take sides with any of the parents, allow such child to discover the reason by himself. Separating or divorcing parents should ensure that the welfare of the children is paramount, at all times.