This is a major question I believe couples planning to get married must ask and answer. Couple must define and agree on what they believe about children and the roles of children in the proposed marriage. Marrying couples must take careful inventory of their beliefs on children and see if there are common grounds. For example:
- Do they believe that having children is the security of a lasting marriage relationship, such that it may be necessary for the wife-to-be to be pregnant or bear a child before marriage is contracted?
- When do they want to begin to have children?
- What do they believe about the number of children they should have?
- Do they believe that the number one responsibility of a private and secondary caregiver to the child is to protect the child?
- Do they believe that abuse changes everything about the child?
- Do they believe that in matter of abuse, prevention is better than cure as abuse can never be cured except by divine intervention?
- Do they believe that a settled, peaceful and united home is a prerequisite to raising sane and protected children?
- Do they have gender preference, such that if all their children belong to one gender it would be considered as a problem?
- Is the marriage for the purpose of having children, such that if children do not come early, there may be tension?
- What would be the roles of third parties if having children is delayed?
- If children do not come early, would parties be free to go their different ways?
- Or does that man believe that once children do not come early, the wife should be blamed and she must perform her duty of producing children or be replaced either by being removed from the marriage or her husband finding another woman to produce children, with or without her knowledge?
- What if they never have children, what would be the response of the couples to themselves or the world around them?
- Do they believe that children should be adopted and if so what informs the belief and under what circumstances would the belief be given expression in their marriage?
- What is their belief about child discipline?
- Do they believe that in child discipline example is superior to instruction?
- Do they believe that in child discipline long before children understand instruction, they already understand example?
- What role do they believe education play in the life of a child and what kind of investment should be made in same?
- Do they believe their roles in the life of the child can be delegated to a school and other secondary caregivers?
- What is the role of the community (extended family members, neighbours, media and the likes) on their children?
- Do they believe that their children could live with other people temporarily or permanently?
- Do they believe that the people they expose their children to either to within and outside their homes have great impact on their children?
The catalogue of beliefs is endless. The foregoing is an attempt to scratch the surface. Permit me to submit most profoundly that belief is foundational to how we treat children. As a matter of fact we will never treat children above what we believe about them. Our beliefs on most matter are so ingrained in our psyche that they have entered a default mode. They happen without our thinking and even before we could blink. How do they assume a default mode? It is simply our beliefs are effects of certain fundamental causes in our upbringing. Our belief is our psychology which is produced by life, using the raw materials of our socialization. Our beliefs are the fruits and our experiences are the seeds. It is the unchangeable order of life that for every effect you see is a product of causes. It is therefore safe to say that there will never be effects without causes. Our world today creates programs, which addresses effects and leave out causes. Beliefs are so strong that they cannot be changed overnight. The fact is that they take their places at the most crucial moments of our lives. In some cases they even shock us when they show up, almost with our control.
Permit me to submit that belief, more than any other thing creates the circumstances of birth and upbringing of a child. Take for example a man, who believes that he should have a child with another woman if the wife does not have children early or a man, who prefers the male gender in children and because he does not have a male child with his wife decides to look for him with another woman. What about a man, who impregnates a woman and decides to marry her as a second wife thereby ‘accidentally’ creating a polygamous home? Or a man, who claims to have a fling with a woman, which results in pregnancy and decides to father the child, in most cases without the knowledge of the wife? In most cases, these beliefs are expressed without the knowledge of the wife. Or a woman, who has a fling and decides to lie about the paternity of her child? Also consider a situation where couples go their separate ways before the birth of their children or where they decide to go their separate ways despite the fact that there are children in the marriage.
The truth of the matter is that I have been a frontline advocate of the truism that the circumstances of birth do not define the destiny of a child. Permit me to declare categorically that circumstances of birth may not ultimately define the destiny of a child, but they have unusual impact on the sanity of the child. When a child is born under any of the circumstances enumerated above and many more, too numerous to mention here, they are children born into and being brought up in difficult circumstances and their sanity is threatened. Where their sanity is threatened, their destiny is under formidable threat. A child needs a sane mind to pursue a meaningful destiny.
Time will fail me to illustrate the foregoing with true life stories, but note that the foregoing circumstances of birth and other socialization factors, which are products of beliefs, have created the people we today call psychopaths, sociopaths, paedophiles, schizophrenics, persons with Dissociative Disorder and many other mental conditions too numerous to mention.
It is important for marrying couples to know that the joy of having children is not to bring them to this world. The real joy is how they are raised and how they are raised is predicated upon the beliefs of the primary and secondary caregivers.
Permit to declare most unequivocally, protection of children begins with healthy self-esteem. Do the marring couples believe this established truism? It is a dangerous attempt therefore for couples to proceed to marriage without paying very serious attention to the subject of their beliefs, particularly as it relates to children and their protection.
Please note that the wellbeing and protection of children is guaranteed by the beliefs of their primary caregivers, but if their belief is faulty, what shall the child do but despair and go around with a sense of insecurity?
Finally, it is important to note that children need something to believe and it begins with what the primary caregivers believe.
I hope you find the visit worth the time today. I beg to sign out after a long talk but not without charging you to Think the CHILD…Think TODAY…Think the FUTURE…