The challenges of single-parenting could be overwhelming.
The buzz of Naomi’s mobile phone interrupted her thoughts. “Woah, it’s real!” She exclaimed. Naomi had booked for a call on The One Habitat’s website, at a time she was overwhelmed with emotions. With some encouragement she began to pour out the worries in her heart.
“I am a single mother of a 14-year-old daughter who is currently in her first year at Senior Secondary School. Her performance at school last term was very, very poor. Although this is not the first of her poor performances at school, she is now extremely dirty and clumsy and has started behaving unruly.
My daughter stays with my mother and siblings in Western Nigeria while I work up North. Work has kept me away from my daughter and made me not to be fully involved in her life. I barely have time to visit; I could not even travel to spend time with them during last Christmas holidays.
When my daughter turned 9, she demanded for the identity of her father. Fear grew within me, because his behaviour was not one I approved of. I eventually succumbed to my daughter’s demand and before long they began to talk on the phone. Not too long after, my daughter’s father began to talk with my mother, much to my disapproval. This made me really angry because in the first place, my mother didn’t know him well enough and I was not comfortable with the frequent exchange of calls. Well, they turned deaf ears to me. My daughter’s father then began to talk with my younger sister. Soon, they began dating without anyone knowing and eventually my sister became pregnant for him. The hatred I had for him grew and I stopped my daughter from talking with him for a while.
I know I have uncontrolled anger, but I am worried about my daughter. I want the best for her. Growing up, I had an irresponsible and hot-tempered father and I was always resented towards him. I do not want my daughter to have the kind of childhood I had. “Please help me,” Naomi cried out.
We appreciated Naomi for trusting to speak with us, as we at The One Habitat were willing to listen. Since a child’s transformation from infant to teenage years was important, Naomi was admonished to exercise her motherly role in the life of her daughter at this time. Her daughter was a teenager whose attitudes and beliefs could still be shaped.
Naomi was advised to find time to visit more often. The increased time spent together would create an opportunity to fill-in the gaps and build a fresh relationship with her daughter because the roles of both the father and mother were important in the child’s life. Her daughter’s father should not be denied access to his daughter; however such access should be with strict supervision.
Her anger also needs to be worked on, especially to avoid unnecessary outbursts during conversations with her daughter. On a final note, we emphasized the importance of showing and talking with love. Her daughter needs to be shown love and always told how much she was loved. Love conquers barriers.
Naomi was extremely grateful and was willing to work with the advice.
She was elated that The One Habitat as an organization was ‘so real.’