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When a child is born out of wedlock, a host of questions surround his upbringing. In the cases where the father and mother are no longer a couple, mothers are often left wondering whether they must facilitate a relationship between father and child. This becomes even harder when the father refuses to support the child in any way.
Despite the many difficulties single mothers and their children face, financial and psychological, there are many stories of single mothers who have overcome all these challenges, brought up and educated their children and seen them become successful in their adult lives. A good example is Barrack Obama who was raised by a single mother and later became the first black president of the United States.
While these mothers should be applauded for their sacrifice and hard work, there remains the question of whether she is justified in refusing to allow her child’s father to have access to his child.
Rubie Miseda, a psychologist and founder of Jipende Wellness says, “It’s is not advisable for mothers to keep children from having a relationship with their fathers. This will affect how the child will emotionally, intellectual and socially interact with older men or just males in general.”
The psychological struggle of not knowing his father has left Paul with a lifelong hole in his heart that only a father’s presence can fill. “I have had so many rough moments in my life,” he writes in a letter published by Standard Digital. “It all started in class one when I noticed that my name didn’t have a surname. Instead, I was using my mother’s name as a surname.”
Paul explains that he went through life feeling ashamed that he didn’t have a father. “As other children shared about how their fathers were muscular and powerful, I had nothing to share. My quest to know your whereabouts has been met with a lot of resistance from my mother and other family members.”
Even when faced with so much resistance in his quest to find his father, Paul still has love for the man who sired him. “Though in my mind I have so many questions, I believe that you have your own reasons. You may be called hit and run, dead beat etc. but to me, that doesn’t matter anymore. The fact remains that you sired me and without you, I may not have existed.”
According to Section 4 (3) of the Children’s Act, parents must put the best interests of the child first. In this sense, any decision made by either parent has to foster the rights and welfare of the child. Hence, as it is the right of every child to know his father, mothers are advised, unless in extreme circumstances of abuse and neglect, to help their children know their fathers. This is because the psychological benefits of having a father present far outweigh the negative effects his absence will have on the child now and in the future.