Runaway dads
Kids will be more understanding if they have a reason for their absent parent.
There are many reasons why some men will leave their partners and kids and seemingly forget all about them. Some do this for selfish reasons, choosing extramarital sex over their partners and children. A young unmarried father might feel ill prepared and overwhelmed by the prospect of becoming a father so much that he prefers to run. Some fathers, ashamed of leaving their children may end up not making any effort to keep in touch with their progeny.

How prevalent is the problem of dads not living with their kids?

“A recent SA Institute of Race Relations survey found that only 36% of South African children have their fathers living with them,” reports Independent Online ?

Whatever the reason, a father’s absence leaving will have adverse effects on the child’s welfare. Research has shown time and time again that fatherless children are more likely to be delinquent,  not to perform well at school, likely to be poor and the list go on.

Some of these children may grow up with feelings of abandonment, and some may blame themselves for the father's absence. When a father doesn't pitch up in a child's life there may be a sense of a lack of closure on the child’s part. Sometimes a child will remain with many unanswered questions as to why Dad was never there.

It would help the child, to a certain extent, if the absent parent gives reasons why they have not been available. The least that a father who has been absent from his child’s life is an explanation and an apology.

What follows is a letter, which I feel every absent father or mother owes to their children.

Dear son/daughter,

I know I'm probably the last person in your life who you'd like to hear from but, believe me you've always been in my thoughts. The reason why I wrote this letter is to say I'm sorry. You came into my life at a time I was ill prepared to love you, to appreciate you, to welcome you into my life.
It was never your fault that I left and was never there. I denied you of a father’s love and attention. I missed out on seeing you grow. I committed the ultimate sin of deserting an innocent child.

I’m sorry for not carrying your baby picture in my wallet, for not being there for you and your mother when you needed me the most. I know I may have messed up your life and for that I regret.

There is no excuse for what I did and there is no way I can repay or compensate you except to ask if I can come back into your life again.

Your Dad

Do you think kids will be more understanding if they have a reason for their absent parent?

Read more by Sipho Yanano

Disclaimer: The views of columnists published on Parent24 are their own and therefore do not necessarily represent the views of Parent24.

Read Parent24’s Comments Policy publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Everything from parties to pre-schools in your area.