My son’s deadbeat dad is back

Dear Counsellor,

I had a brief relationship that resulted in getting knocked up. The day I told him about the pregnancy, he panicked and said he wasn’t ready for the responsibility. He was free to handle the information whichever way he saw fit. And he did — he vanished. The kid is now five years old, I have singlehandedly raised him and it hasn’t been easy. I’ve never received so much as a ‘just checking on you’ message from the father in all this time and now, he is back. He says he wants to be in his son’s life and that we should find ways to raise him together. He has been bugging me to visit the boy but I am not ready for this, not sure I will ever be, especially since it doesn’t look like he changed for the better. He is still the selfish boy he was when we met. My son has never asked me about his dad and I’m not sure I want to explain all this to him. I have mixed feelings about this. What should I do?



Dear Barbara,

Mothers are made throughout years of hard choices, proud moments, love, tears and sacrifice.  I am sorry this man betrayed you and unjustifiably abandoned his kid at a tender age when the child needed him most. You kept your cool having been torn down to the emotional and psychological turmoil of having to bring up the child singlehandedly. Children are a blessing to us but many men today take the aggressive steps of abandoning their children who grow up purely in the hands of the mother. A child ends up lacking two different sets of skills, perspectives, and networks of family and friends. I condemn this in the heaviest words possible. However, every problem in life introduces us to new opportunities to explore and how we respond to them is important.

It was unreasonable for a biological father to abandon his child at such a tender age but if he has come up to pick interest of being close to his child, you need to give them access because a wrong cannot correct a wrong. Growing up with the knowledge of an absentee father will make this child angry and self-destructive. Remember, a father’s role in a child’s life is just about more than merely paying the bills. It cuts across the social interaction, emotional attachment and training on moral conduct of the child. Yes I know how deep it hurts when he begins to claim for the kid now after dumping his kid for this entire period but remember, the child needs a father, an important figure in his life. A person without this core attachment lives like a house without a foundation. Fathers provide both physical and psychological support and this can make the kid resilient, develop good morals as well as enhance his emotional and intellectual development.

Forgiveness is now indispensible for you to mold a confident, hopeful and happy moral character out of this little personality you’re nurturing. When faced with such a decision on whether to forgive, it’s a moral principle of uprightness to build human bridges other than burn them especially for the good of your own child.

Every person needs a sense of belonging in and remember, this is his biological child and this man has a legal right to have access to his child. If you deny them access, you’re simply depriving this child of his natural rights and he’ll definitely feel rootless and isolated. Holding anger against this man will consume greater amount of your brainpower pondering such a negative situation and plotting how to exert your power of revenge. This kind of thinking is somewhat unproductive. Quite often, you won’t lose out when you allow this man and his child to mingle and this is essential for a healthy human relationship. 

Forgiveness will set you free and often let your heart get rid of such heavy agony troubling your soul. Good luck.

Your feedback

Allow him to support you

It’s incredibly hard to raise a child alone as a single mother; I suggest you allow him to support you since he is willing to do so. If you don’t want anything to do with him apart from raising your child, then you can still maintain that.

Patricia Ineza, mother of three

Give him a second chance

Everyone makes mistakes, I think you should forgive him and give him a second chance to see if he means what he says. To avoid many questions from your son about his father, I suggest you consider him again.

Eliud Nsengimana, motorist

Let him take care of his son

Depending on how serious he is, you should try accepting him again. It could be true that he wasn’t ready then as he said, but now he feels that he has all it takes to take care for his son.

Thomas Munezero, student

Follow your heart

Do what your heart tells you to do, but again, if you think you will be fine raising your child alone then go ahead and do it.However, seeking help from experts on how to handle this is vital.

Priscilla Mugwaneza, parent

Your son needs both of his parents

Your son needs to be raised by both parents; you shouldn’t be selfish on him. Allow his father to be part of his life since he is willing to. Meanwhile, you need to talk to your son as well about this.

Annette Gwiza, beautician