I read a story recently and it left me sad and angry at the same time. It also made me reflect on why this society pressures people so much to get married and have children when it is clear that some don’t deserve to have children. Some Nigerians have no business being parents and that’s the truth.
When I read some stories about parents who hurt their children repeatedly, insist they are doing this for their own good and refuse to apologize to these hurting children or make amends, I shake my head. I pity them too. This is why some children abandon their parents in old age and people who don’t know the story behind the reaction of these children will start judging them. Things are not always as they appear. Ask questions before you judge people.
This is why they don’t have a relationship with their parents other than sending them upkeep money. They don’t communicate with their parents. They don’t share their fears, dreams and aspirations with their parents. Their parents don’t even know what is going on in their children’s lives because they have been shut out. The sad thing is that pride won’t allow these parents ask for forgiveness and make amends with their children.
We need to have this conversation about parents abusing their children verbally, physically, emotionally and psychologically and still insist that because they are their parents, they know best. This is not always true. Some parents damage their children with their toxic attitude. Some parents didn’t protect their children when they needed their protection. Some parents took the sides of their children’s rapists and abusers. It’s heartbreaking.
I have heard men and women talk badly about their parents because of the way they treated them as children. These adults are still hurting and the people behind their pain are pretending not to know what they did wrong. They expect these children who are now adults to suddenly forget the hell they put them through and build loving relationships with them. Things don’t work that way. What you sow is what you reap.
While it is important for children to honour their parents and respect them, it is equally very important for parents not to provoke their children to anger. The treatment some parents give to their children will leave you wondering if they begged to be born. They unleash their frustrations, failures and anger on their children without blinking. They hurt their children over and over again and expect them to forget what happened to them. They automatically expect these children to love them unconditionally when they didn’t set the same example through their actions.
Back to the story I read, the parents of two girls who were raped and impregnated by a Bible-clutching pastor in Lagos resisted his arrest. They told the police that it was a family matter and that they didn’t have to interfere in the matter. They insisted that the rapist pastor should be left alone because he promised to marry their elder daughter and agreed that the younger one abort her own pregnancy. What kind of parents would allow their daughters’ rapist marry one of them? It doesn’t make sense.
According to reports, Pastor Nduka Anyanwu allegedly raped and impregnated two sisters aged 17 and 13. He said he wants the older girl to keep the pregnancy because he wants to marry her but that the younger one should abort her own pregnancy as sexually defiling her was a mistake which he regretted even though he had carnal knowledge of her uncountable times.
According to the report, the pastor has been sexually defiling the younger girl since she was 9-years-old and the older girl since she was 16 years under the pretext that she had a spiritual mark on her body that repels good things and the only way to remove the mark was to have carnal knowledge of her. She refused vehemently and reported to her parents who insisted that she must accept her deliverance.
When she couldn’t take it any longer, the young girl exposed the pastor and a non-governmental organization came to her rescue and got the pastor arrested. In a viral video, the mother of the victims was seen blocking policemen from taking the pastor away claiming he’s her in-law. When I saw that video, I became angrier. What kind of mother would defend her children’s rapist? What kind of mother would protect a man who messed up her daughters’ future? This woman has no business being a mother to begin with. If you cannot defend and protect your children, you are not fit to be called a parent.
Two months ago, I read a similar story about a woman in Lagos Island who was beating her 4-year-old daughter for seducing her lover. The sad thing was that she was doing this in public and somebody recorded it and posted online. She caught this man in his 40s raping her daughter and instead of unleashing her maternal anger on the rapist, she started beating her daughter claiming she seduced the man. Unbelievable. Even when some people were still trying to tell her that she was wrong, she insisted that her daughter was to blame. Sighs.
There’s another story of a young lady who got married to a man five years ago but recently ran away with her two children because she couldn’t endure the physical and sexual abuse her church-going husband was subjecting her to. She told me in tears that anytime she complained about her husband’s abusive behaviour to her parents, they would tell her to endure because marriage is for better, for worse. They always told her not to bring disgrace to her family because she can’t build her marriage like other women are doing. They also told her not to come back home because there’s no room for her and her children in their home.
This lady is 25-years-old. She didn’t get a university education. Her parents married her off at 20 after secondary school. They refused to allow her further education or learn a skill that she can translate to money. They told her that a woman’s life goal is to be married and that she doesn’t need to make her own money because her husband will always take care of her. This lady is skillful in making hair, fixing nails and hair weaves but her husband insisted that she remains a housewife because women who make money become disrespectful and arrogant to their husbands.
For years, he treated her badly. He would travel outside their base for months and drop N10,000 for her and two children to feed and go to school. Whenever he comes back from his many trips, he would rape her and beat her up. Her parents kept telling her to obey her husband so that he would stop beating and raping her. This lady is now a shadow of herself. She was banned from having friends or visiting people. Her husband kept her trapped with the support of her very religious parents. He beat her up recently again and she ran away with her children to her elder brother’s house and narrated what has been happening to her to him. He sent soldiers after her husband and they beat him thoroughly.
Now, her parents are insisting that she must go back to her husband and beg for forgiveness for embarrassing him, otherwise, they would curse her and disown her. This lady is scared to death. She’s seriously considering going back to her abusive husband so that her parents won’t curse her brother too for helping her and protecting her from a beast. Sighs again.
I have heard many stories like these and I keep wondering why some parents find it hard to love and treat their children right. Why do people keep having children when they won’t protect them from harm and danger? Why do some parents strictly uphold religious beliefs to the detriment of their children? Why do some parents choose their social status above the lives and dignity of their own children? Some people don’t deserve to have children, it is very clear.
Re: Before dating men with children
Kate, this is a godly and wise counsel to ladies of all ages who may wish to date or marry men with children. Your x-ray of this topic is absolutely correct, insightful, inspirational and thought-provoking. Thanks for your pastoral counsel. More wisdom to you.
-Pstr Stephen, Abuja
Hi Kate, you are doing marvellously well with your column. Single men with children are often burdened by children that their former spouses left behind. If these children must be obedient to their fathers then, the men in question must not provoke them to anger by marrying unyielding women. Dating men with children is often cumbersome. If you must engage with a man with children then think wisely and intelligently. Don’t go into marriage of material benefits. The woman should endeavour to love the children alongside the man.
While I agree with you that ladies should know what they are getting if they decide to date and marry a man with children, I suggest these ladies don’t get carried away thinking these children will love them like their mothers. They should always have it at the back of their minds that the children belong to another woman. They shouldn’t start suffering over another woman’s children only to be discarded later on by the same children. Women should be wise. This society doesn’t protect women. -Mrs. Ifeoma Udenwa, Awka
Kate, certainly, this piece is one of your best in recent times. It was frank, honest and quite surprisingly,100% men friendly. Any woman that fails to heed your pieces of advice can only squeeze out material benefits, bodily pleasures and sense of security of a sort but not as a rule, genuine and long lasting love of responsible ‘men with children’.
I will never date a man with children no matter how good he is or how well his intentions towards me are. Such men only pretend to love women because they need a mother and nurse for their children. What happened to dating single men with no baggage? It’s like you have run out of topics to write on. You can do better. Men with children should raise their children and stop looking for nannies for their kids.
-Esther Chiamaka, Lagos