“Your father is dead now, you are our father and the man now and you have to do what you have to do to take care of the family.” Now, this Statement isn’t followed up with defining ‘do what you have to do.’ It’s an open-ended and ambiguous phrase. These children also have fears: fear of not being able to complete their education, fear of being exposed to household enemies, fear of lack and all that stuff. It’s tough for teen children, they pretend to be strong around their mothers but in private they let go. Then we come in to condole the family and all we say to these kids bụ “Nna, nne, take care of your mom.” Who takes care of them then? What else can we say to them to bring reassurance? Rather we use my opening statement to place huge burdens on them even when their dead dads’ bodies are still warm. This statement has led some young men into crime to take care of their mothers and siblings. Their widowed mothers make these statements which are ambiguous and leave the young men struggling and doing what they have to do.
Let us define what they have to do. Widowhood leaves women vulnerable and leaves the children even more vulnerable and there are also daughters of widows who sleep around with men just to bring money home to their mothers or to put food on the table. The love for their mothers push them beyond limit. Let’s think about the impact of some of our statements and advice to our children, our fatherless children who out of respect and love they have for their mothers and determination not to see their mothers suffer go beyond boundaries to ensure their mother is happy. So my question is, how do we get the balance so we don’t push our children into vices just to help us on one hand and on the other hand not to raise children who would expect us to still meet or surpass standards their fathers never met or kept for them. Children who will depend on us for everything and will not make any meaningful contribution to the homes. Children with entitlement mentality is the worst thing that can happen to any widow!!! Balance is the key! Undue expectations and entitlement mindset must not come from either the widowed or the children.