Co-Parenting for a Better Society – Part 1 By LINDA ASIMOLE ELLAH

are you a learner?

“…Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is
conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit….”
(Mathew 1:20)

Referring to society often feels like, “society is out there.” Yet, this piece seeks to emphasis that the society we refer to begins with, and refers to you and I. We make up what we see out there. We are part of what we are seeing around us. Therefore, any action you take individually or collectively has an impact on that whole. Even if the level of impact may differ, at the end of the day, it simply adds up to what is “out there”.

No one would like to be singly referred to as the cause of “ills in society”, yet we each individually and collectively are part of all we find in the society. The interest here is on co-parenting and how that makes or break a society. So, what you do as an individual parent makes or breaks a society. This is because your every choice and action have a spiral effect and goes a long way to make a great impact. Your every choice and action ordinarily have some generational implications and impact. Hence, as an adult, we cannot take our choices and actions lightly. What you do or do not do isn’t isolated from what is happening in the society’s bigger picture.

Parenting primarily refers to a woman and a man being a parent to a child. No child comes into the world through one person. It takes a man and a woman to bring a child to the world. Co-parenting hence refers to the man and the woman taking full responsibility and playing their part in the upbringing of that child. Well, cultures may have defined roles, and this is also a major part of the problem, because many hide behind these selfish role-definitions and abdicate their responsibilities to someone else.

Co-parenting is co-parenting. No part of it says one parent should be doing more than the other. No part of it says one of them only co-parents at his or her convenience only. No part of it says you can walk out and walk in any time you so desire. No part of it says one parent stays at home with the child/children, while the other can pitch a tent out there doing what they please and walking in at their own convenience. No part of it says the man can stay with the children just when he feels like or just when he happens not to be drinking beer outside. But as we all know, if we admit the truth to ourselves, this is what we see within ourselves and around us.

Society is the way it is because individuals have had huge lapses in the co-parenting responsibilities and choices. Well, if you ask different people what co-parenting means in practical terms, they may likely define it to suit their convenience and spare themselves some guilt-feelings.

So, let’s see.
What Co-parenting Means Practically?

Co-parenting is:
-Not denying a pregnancy that you are responsible for and not pushing for abortion. If you had been aborted, you would not exist.

-Providing support, love, care, physical assistance, emotional care, and financial support to your woman/lady who is expecting a child.

-Being there when she puts to birth and letting both mother and child know and feel your love, care, support and active presence during this time of nursing the baby and birth recovery for the mother.

-Being there in the everyday growing life of that child. This is taken for granted when it comes to be mother. Yet, fathers too need to co-parent and be there in the nitty-gritties of the child’s life. The man/father is a co-parent, so he is not too big or too important to attend to the practical needs of his baby. The woman and the man are to assist each other to physically attend to the child, in terms of bathing, feeding, taking time to carry and play with the child and just spend beautiful and meaningful time watching the child grow.

-Selfish gender role definitions have unfortunately left many men/fathers excusing themselves from the nitty-gritties of caring for their babies. Hence, the mother is in many cases left to struggle between recovering back her health and wellbeing, nursing the baby, doing house chores, and interestingly still attend to the man who may not be there to assist.

-Watching out and supporting the child/children with practical needs as they grow through stages of babyhood, toddler, crawling, walking, speaking, learning processes, and taking up tiny tasks. This means being present, providing what they need, and physically attending to those needs daily.

-Fatherhood and motherhood as exhibited in our daily lives by God our Creator and Maker (Ephesians 3:15). God daily cares and provides for our every needs. God does not abdicate that responsibility to another person. God does not feel too big to care for the nitty-gritties of our daily life, neither should any man or woman entertain such pride and indifference towards the care of their babies and children within the home as they go from one stage of growth to another.

Every one of these practical steps of co-parenting can surely be explained away with several excuses, yet these are the lapses that are causing lasting problems in our families and society.
(To be continued – in Part 2)

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