More Barbadian men are stepping up to the plate to father their children, High Court Judge Madam Justice Barbara Cooke-Alleyne, King’s Counsel (KC), has disclosed.
Cooke-Alleyne said that compared to what was happening in the past, a lot more fathers were presenting themselves to the law courts for child maintenance because they are the ones caring for their offspring.
“And you see them very proudly with children walking them to school. So, fathers are playing a major role, much more than they were years ago, and I think they recognise that they too need to be fathers, but they can’t do it if the mothers block them on the phones, block them in the court, block them from doing that,” she said.
Speaking during Saturday’s Parent Education for Development in Barbados (PAREDOS) fourth and final one-day Positive Parenting Seminar to commemorate Child Month 2023, held at The Ivan Harewood Centre, the Judge appealed to mothers not to get in the way of fathers having a relationship with their children.
Cooke-Alleyne made it clear that children need their fathers in their life.
“Please ensure that you involve the fathers no matter what issues you have with them, they need to see their child, and they need to spend time with the child.
“The child wants to spend time with daddy, [the child] might not say it to you because they want you to be thinking that they are on the same page with you,” she said.
Meanwhile, Cooke-Alleyne further revealed that assessments carried out on children appearing before the law courts show that many of them do not attend Sunday school, fail to understand boundaries, are undisciplined and lack respect.
She warned parents that the longer they take to administer punishment, the more likely their children’s behaviour would spiral out of control and eventually land them before the justice system.
“When it is the Magistrates’ Court, it is the mothers out there holding their belly and crying. So, prevent yourself from holding your belly and crying, make sure you lay the foundation and even if they stray away, the foundation is already there.
“Children need to know respect, but it starts with you and how you show respect inside your household, how you show respect to the teacher, how you show respect to the Police Officer that stops and talks to you about something. Respect is important to keep your children at home in your household and not in the system,” she said.
Stating that the day was fast approaching when Barbadian parents would not be allowed to punish their children using corporal punishment, the High Court Judge advised parents to adopt other disciplinary measures, including taking away technological devices.
Noting that doing chores in the household plays a major role in children becoming responsible adults and law-abiding citizens, Cooke-Alleyne pointed out that reports on juvenile delinquents also show that many of them were not tasked with the responsibility of making their own beds, they do not have to wash dishes or take care of pets.
“Give them chores to do, when you give them chores to do, you are teaching them responsibility and discipline,” she said.
While urging parents and guardians to be good role models for their charges, Cooke-Alleyne indicated that not many children do not “feel close” to their parents.
She stressed that parents must show their children, even boys, affection and urged, especially mothers, not to allow their children to witness them being abused.
Cooke-Alleyne also stressed that it was significant that parents encourage their children to get involved in structured sporting and extracurricular activities from as early as primary school.
“Parenting, I thought it ended at 18, but my bad, it still continues, it never ends. Your life is not your own, and it is a choice that you make over and over again when you have a child. (AH)