Paternal Abandonment: A Big Bumboclaat Problem
*Lillian Docasto is a 3rd-year student of the University Of Technology where she studies Sports Science. In her second year, she fell in love with fellow course mate *Alex Matthews and for 14 months, the two were inseparable. They shared everything; their notes from classes, their lunch, a car, a Mac book and ….. a baby. *Lexann was born in the summer before Lil entered her first semester of the third year; approximately 5 months ago, her father, the affectionate, loving other half of Lillian has never seen her. Not only did he break up with Lil’ when she was 6-months pregnant but he made no effort to see his child after she was born. Like many other men in Jamaica, Alex made an active decision, to abandon his child. Though not all Jamaican men can be placed in the “
Paternal Abandonment refers to the act of a parent leaving or neglecting his or her paternal role. According to the Planning Institute of Jamaica (2002), approximately 45% of Jamaican households are female-headed; the topic of single mothers is one that is increasingly perturbing and disheartening. Jamaican men are not living up to their responsibilities as men. We need to find ways to put a stop to paternal abandonment as children growing up without their fathers are more likely to develop identity issues and disciplinary problems.
Acting Up and Acting Out
Children live what they learn; I’m sure everyone has heard that line at least once. This speaks to how children tend to mimic
“Wait till you father reach home.” Even at 22 years old that line sends shivers down my spine. Though Caribbean mothers tend to be very stern with their children, fathers tend to be core disciplinarians. They have a way of establishing and maintaining values and ethics and they help to mold children into displaying socially acceptable behaviour. Children from fatherless households miss out on positive and authoritative male energy and no
Why It Happens…..
As a stranger to such a situation, I continue to find it hard to fathom a good enough reason to leave someone I’ve helped create. But I gathered some members of the “wukliss pupa” committee to provide some reasons as to why a man would decide to neglect his offspring.
- The inability to financially provide. “Weh me a do wid pickney and me nave no money?” This is the sentiment of many WPs across the island; they believe that if they won’t be able to provide financially for the child then they do not need to be there.
- Fear; some men expressed that they decided to not play a part in their children’s lives because quite frankly, they are afraid they don’t have what it takes to be good fathers. They are afraid they won’t be able to affect their child/children in a positive way or they fear that their presence in the child’s life will do more bad than good.
- He wasn’t ready…many men express frustration that in some cases, they made it clear that they were not interested in having children. They may want to complete school first, or they are waiting to achieve the next step in their career, maybe they wanted to mature a bit more; whatever it may have been, they decided that it just wasn’t their time to be someone’s father.
However, a fathers presence offers way more than just financial needs, the time and love
What are your views on this situation? Let me know in the comments.
Until next bumboclaat time, peace.
*Names have been changed