A good parent must be a good spouse first 

It is usually commendable when I see parents dotting over their children, doing everything humanly possible to ensure that the kids get everything they need. It is normal these days for everything to be about the kids, once the kids come, the relationship between the couple starts to deteriorate. Couples most times begin to neglect each other and focus solely on the children who become the beneficiaries of a double edged love and affection. This will obviously put some distance between the couple who will at this stage be locked in the battle for their children’s love and approval. This situation will in most cases raise spoilt and unreasonable children who will grow up feeling entitled and believing that the whole world owes them something.

The sad reality is that some of these couples who claim to be good parents who love and cherish their children to the envy of their peers are very terrible husbands and wives to each other. I stand to be corrected when I take my position and aver that it is impossible to be a good parent without being a good spouse, similarly, you cannot be a bad parent and claim to be a good spouse. It’s a package deal, you can’t be one without the other. There must be a synergy of good parenting and good marital ethics before anyone can claim to be a good parent. I am sure some people are lost at this juncture, what I mean is that you must first become a loving husband before claiming to be a good father, I will explain why.

One of the most important responsibilities of a parent is educating the children, the home is a child’s first and most important citadel of learning, it is here that characters are formed, this is not the education you acquire from schools, I am talking about teaching your children basic life principles and survival strategies, educating them about life, love, integrity, forgiveness, honesty, trustworthiness etc, things they are supposed to learn from you as a parent. How can you teach them these all important life lessons if you are bereft of them, you cannot teach what you do not know, What moral justification will you have to teach your children about love, compassion and respect if you do not practice same in your household.

How can you teach children about love if you a terrible and mean husband to their mother, how can a mother who lacks respect for her husband teach her children respect for authority, We all know that children are visual learners, they will need to see and feel love at home to grasp this all important life lesson. They will need to see affection to become affectionate, see companionship to become good companions, see trustworthiness to be trust worthy and see transparency to become honest children. When these things are absent, you will end up with children who will either take to drugs and alcohol as a way of escaping the harsh realities of the volatile and very hostile environment there are forced to grow up in.

It’s not by throwing money around that you become a great parent, remember that your children will make friends with other children from families who may have gotten it right as a family, we know children like to compare notes, so don’t be surprised when you notice that the material things you previously used to deceive them will no longer divert their attention from the realities of their failed family misfortune. Being a good father is about your commitment to family life, the provision you make available and most importantly the time you spend with them and the love you show their mother.

Good mothers must lead by example, you are the closest to the kids, they will learn more from you than anyone else on earth, be sure that what they see you do is what you are happy to see them do, through you they will learn the loving and the compassionate side of life, ensure that they see you love and respect their father, this will be their first exposure to leadership and respect for those in authority. From their father, depending on the type of father he is, they will either learn to be compassionate and gracious in leadership or despotic and mean when they assume any leadership position.

Family life is designed to give children the opportunity to experience from both parents the companionship and love that exude from each other and extended to each member of the family, this is the most important pillar that supports and strengthens the foundation of a good upbringing. If you have failed as a husband or wife, you have also failed as a parent because you would have failed in your duty to teach the children a lesson in patience, resilience, tolerance and forgiveness.

Even those who are separated or divorced also have important lessons to teach their children; being divorced does not mean being enemies, as long as children are involved, you are bound together for life, therefore you must rise up to the occasion and teach the children that despite the fact that the marriage didn’t work, it is still possible to have friendship, tolerance and respect for each. When they see you treat each other with civility and respect, they will learn that disagreeing in one thing doesn’t not automatically transcend to being enemies , they will also learn that sometimes you have to agree to disagree, and life can go on happily in spite of your differences and disagreements.

The enormous love and respect I have for my father today is as a result of how I saw him treat my mother, my father is a very strict and principled man, so many mistook his adherence to his principles as being a little high handed. In the midst of all that, he treated my mother extremely well, provided adequately for her and despite his busy schedule as a Permanent Secretary, we saw him come home every day, he never kept late nights, he never drank excessively and he never ever quarreled with our mother before us, I saw my father and mother immerse themselves in the things of God and being pillars in my local church helped form my attitude towards my faith.

I never saw them argue all through my life under their roof, It was only after I had become married myself and had a serious argument with my wife that my dad told me he and my mum argued as well. My father’s shoes as a parent and husband are too big for me to fit into, but I am making an effort with little modifications to practice the things I saw growing up. I give my father credit for the man I have become today, I couldn’t have become what I didn’t see growing up.

This is what children do, so if you think you can hide under the guise of being a super dad and neglect your wife, concentrating only on the children and vice versa, you have failed in your duty as a husband/wife and there are dire consequences later in life because the children will grow up learning negative behavioural traits from you. Be the kind of husband you will want your daughter to marry, and wives must be the wife they wish for their own sons. If you cannot wish your marriage on your daughter or son you need a total overhaul and a change in direction – Sir Stanley Ekezie

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