Just a few days ago, I was aghast at the length Nollywood actress, Tonto Dikeh, would go to keep her estranged husband out of her son’s life.
I just felt sad looking at the video and picture she posted of herself on her Instagram page, dressed as a man, for the Father’s day event in her son’s school. I mean, it’s just so out of sorts.
I know she has her reasons for shutting the man who fathered her child out of her life, and his son’s life too, but I couldn’t help but feel like she’s needs help. Help from a family health therapist, a psychiatrist, a psychologist, I really can’t say but her behaviour is too attention grabbing. She needs to talk about some things, to learn to let go of some things and just live true to herself and not damage her son in the process.
Yes, she’s into showbiz and needs all the attention she can get, but to do this to a child isn’t exactly a good example. First of all, she needn’t have dressed up like a man and did you notice she dressed the same way her husband would have dressed, complete with the cap? There are many women who are both fathers and mothers to their children, and do not need to behave manly or wear men’s clothes to prove a point. You just know they are in charge.
Importantly, she needn’t have put this up on social media. Was that her way of passing the message to her husband that she doesn’t need him to raise their child? Still the wrong move, as fathers do have their roles to play in the lives of their children.
And the more fathers who are involved in the care of their children, even when it is a case of divorced, separated, or unmarried fathers, the better for the future of the children.
For us not to raise girls who have “daddy issues”, or boys who have no ideal image of manhood and, by extension, fatherhood, it is important to have the father’s input, especially from one that is willing to contribute.
It must be pointed out that parenting is hard work, even when both parents are happily married and living together. When you add “co” to the parenting, you certainly need loads of your planning skills and respect, whether you feel it or not…all for the sake of your child.
Father’s Day is joyously anticipated by children, as it is a day to show their appreciation and love for their dad or stepdad, as the case may be. However, for newly separated or divorced fathers, this day can be one of the most difficult times of the year, especially in the circumstance in which they are unable to see their children, which appears to be the situation with Tonto Dikeh and her husband.
The idea of involvement and spending quality time with their children maintains a sense of security and stability, and helps every type of father understand the importance of strong familial bonds.
Planning a calm and peaceful Father’s Day from both parents and both sides of the extended families will allow the children and their dads/stepdads to enjoy a fun and loving day to remember.
Here are some tips to help make the day a memorable one for all parties concerned, especially the children.
Set good examples
Whether you are a father celebrating Father’s Day, or a mother remaining supportive of the father of your children, it is important to show your children that whatever happens on that day is a joint effort between both parents.
Be supportive to your co-parent and let your children know that you appreciate them. This will help your kids grow to be respectful, both to you and your co-parent, and also in any future relationships they may have.
Good co-parenting often means compromising. If at all possible, make sure the kids get to spend Father’s Day with dad, regardless of what the parenting time schedule is for that day. It’s a special day, and one that they will most likely want to celebrate with their dad.
If the idea of doing your ex a favour is intolerable, then do it for your kids. They have the right to celebrate special occasions with both parents. Don’t take that away from them just to get back at the other parent.
Ask, don’t demand
For co-parenting to work, there has to be respect. So dads, if you want to spend time with your kids on Father’s Day, remember to ask your co-parent rather than demand it.
When communicating with your co-parent, it’s important to always be civil. By treating your co-parent with respect and by approaching matters in a cooperative way, you are showing your children that they come first.
Let your child take the lead
The act of giving does wonders for the child. So let them take the lead. Ask your child, ‘What does Daddy really like?’ and then help him write a note or draw a picture of something the father is passionate about.
When a child feels that their participation really matters, it makes a lasting impression and they get more excited about the entire process.
They are still children, don’t take away their childhood from them, just because you are hurting. Remember that you are doing these things for your children, not your ex. Resentful feelings will only create barriers in your family and make your children feel uncomfortable, and I’m sure you wouldn’t want that.
Whatever you do, make sure you work together to put your children first and focus on what will make them happy.
They will appreciate and remember it for years to come.
Cheers to co-parenting.
Kristine is a member of The Lovelint team. She is a down to earth person, who says it as it is. Having given relationship advice for years in a national daily, she has found out that fear is one of the main reasons holding people back from enjoying a healthy, happy relationship. She is married with kids and is willing to listen to you and help as much as you let her to.
2. Instagram @tontolet.