Dear Heart to Heart, my husband and I have been married for 13 years and we have an 11-year-old son. However, my husband recently told our son that although he never paid much attention to his studies, he is still a successful businessman. Now, our son does not care about his studies and when I caution him about it, he gives me his father’s example. He has also started picking on his father’s other habits. He recently asked me if he can drink beer, or if it is okay to abuse someone. I have talked to my husband but he finds all this ‘funny’. How should I ask him to become a responsible father? Anonymous
Meshack Owechi. You can teach your child to make independent decisions by sharing both the sides of the coin. For instance, if he talks about not studying and still being successful, you can tell him the challenges that one faces if he/she is not educated. You can share motivational and encouraging stories with him that have a positive message in the end. Sharing such stories with children help them to understand the real-life challenges. You can also share a story which focuses on the consequences of abusing someone. You will also have to consider what kind of role model you are in front of your child. If you accept your husband’s abusive behaviour, your son will think it is alright to behave in an abusive way. Therefore, speak to your husband about working as a team.
Hassan Uganda. What has your husband done wrong here? Isn’t this the reality in the world today? What if there is many examples of people even within your family circles that have excelled in school and are not doing well, the father might be right. Tell the child to study well but do not mention that success is guaranteed by good academic grades.
Hamibrah Raganyi. Call for a family meeting as soon as possible and make it clear to your son that you will not tolerate such behaviour from him. Encourage the father to also be responsible and tell your son to take his studies seriously.
Ivan Kasvan Jude. Tell your boy that him his father have two different paths and lives. Therefore, what worked for his father might not work for him and he has to work hard and set his own destiny.
Allano Hooks. Your husband has not failed, he is just reluctant and at the same time seeing life at a different angle. I think he sees the funny side of things the reason it is hard to know when he is being serious. You should talk to him about allowing your son to deviate from the right upbringing that you should both provide.
Phoebe Miriam. You cannot be married to someone who cares less about his children. One day, this whole scenario will haunt you as a mother. Teach your son about Jesus and let him know that drunkenness is dangerous.
Eric Moloko. It takes two to tango. If the other party fails, then you can surely do your best with your contribution too.
Nampa Patience Natie. If your husband has failed in his responsibility, you can now groom your son. Give him examples from your family or immediate relatives who have made it in life through being committed to their studies. You can also arrange for your son to have talks or inspirational sessions from his relatives that he looks up.
Samuel Iputo. It sounds so sad for a father in the current generation to discourage his son or poison his mindset with the thought that without education one can succeed. Nowadays, education is not all about papers and graduations but the circle of friends and the insight into the world that you get.
Patricia Aseerait. Stay strong and focused as a mother. Do not take any nonsense from your own son. A mother alone can also bring up a responsible son.
David Mukasa. Parenting is a partnership between the couple and if partners have a difference in their thinking on how to raise a child, then it becomes a challenging task. There can be differences and issues between the couple but as parents, they have to be on the same page. Nowadays, parenting styles are changing and many parents are finding it challenging to cope with the developing trends. Children learn a lot by observing their parents and hence, parents can be under tremendous pressure to create a positive and encouraging environment for their children.
Jane Nabanakulya. Do not ignore the role a father plays in shaping his child’s behaviour, especially for the future. Maybe he still thinks that your son is young and should not be cautioned so much, the reason he finds his responses funny. However, tell your husband that if the bad behaviour starts now, then it will be hard to tell your son to change especially when he becomes a teenager.
Teach your son
A father has a very influencing impact over his child and so does the mother. I would suggest, firstly, you sit back and reflect on the things you want to teach your child. For example, it could be respecting elders or being responsible, among others. Once you are clear and have created a neutral list of values that would enhance your child’s personality, then you can have a discussion with your husband on how you can take this forward. You can use real-life examples of how childhood can impact your child’s personality and how both of you can contribute in your son’s life.