I have met some single mothers who in their desire to “complete” their family or their child’s identity, thoughtlessly rush into introducing the father of their child to their kid.
Sadly, some of them find themselves in a more difficult, compromising and childhood-shattering position than ever.
I am not saying that introducing the other parent to your child is wrong. I am all for it but with proper caution. But I would like to emphasize the importance of timing and preparedness—not just of yourself and your child but more importantly, of the father.
Most of the time, it is the curious child who prompts out of their making sense of the world and themselves. On rare occasions, the father reaches out.
As the mother, it is our job to bridge and introduce the two but before getting into the whole “meet the parent,” ask yourself first: Is this man ready to be a father to my child?
Now, how do you go about assessing?
Forgive the father—and yourself too. I have discussed this three weeks ago and elaborated on that forgiveness is a vital factor to fully move forward and communicate better with your former partner whom you have to accept as a “permanent fixture” in the life of your child. There should be nothing you two cannot talk about with regards to your child. And forgiveness is the key to this.
Meet the father first. Discuss the delicate nature of what he or your child wants to happen. Enlighten him that meeting his child is not a walk in the park and must not be rushed.
Check his heart. This is truer if it is the father who initiated the meeting. Ask why he wants to meet your child especially if it is after a long absence. Interrogate why after all these years, he finally summed up the courage to step up. Recognize his desire but carefully know the motive and intention.
Discren. Guilt is usually what prompts them. Assure that it that it is understandable but cannot be the primary reason for wanting to meet the child.
Observe his emotional maturity to forgive you. That includes your past with him and himself for his mistakes. His openness to communicate comfortably about your previous relationship, mistakes and shortcomings will reveal a lot about his readiness to talk about everything taboo and sensitive about your child—yes, that includes financial support eventually.
Check his character. How is his life now? Is he working? Is he responsible? Does he have vices? Does he have a personal relationship with Jesus? These are things most mothers tend to overlook but these are essential to find out. The father’s character, habits and belief system will influence your child once you allow them to meet and spend time together. And you only want a good model for your child, right? Simply ask yourself: What can this man teach my child?
Give the father time to heal himself fully. Let him work on what he has to so he can be a whole person first in order to become a good father to your child. Give him time to prove to you that he can be that father your child needs. Give it time because time is the best revealer if his intentions are pure and if he is committed to becoming a good father.
As the mother and sole parental authority in your child’s life, you must assess and discern first if introducing the father to your child will be for your child’s best interest.
Will the father be able to play paternal role in your child’s life or will he just be a weekend father?
Us single moms do not need just another “generous person” taking our kids out on dates or buying them toys. We have a lot of those already in our support group.
What our children need is a father who will lead them and teach them the way they should go. This father need not consequently become your husband (that is another topic on God’s will for restoring your family) nor be required to be living in the same house. But he must be present, visible and tangible in order to successfully play the part.
Introducing his/her father to a child is definitely not as simple as other people think. It is more than having a face to a name. It is a process that requires time, preparation and prayer.
If our sole reason for withholding the father’s identity from our children is to protect them from unnecessary hurt, make sure that that anticipated introduction will only happen because it is for your child’s best interest.
Think about it and prepare for it as the effects can be irreversible if the father is unprepared.