All Articles Tagged "children"
Paternity Fraud: If A Man Grows Close To A Child He Finds Out Is Not His, Should He Still Provide For Them?
A statistic shared by the American Association of Blood Banks in 2012 revealed that there were reportedly 100,000 out of 300,000 men who fall victim to paternity fraud per year in this country. According to an article published on a national Nigerian news site, a significant number of men in that country are unknowingly bringing up children who are not theirs biologically. More recently, DNA experts have found that these figures have increased in Nigeria within the past year. What’s going on here?
In the United States, paternity fraud is recognized and handled as a criminal offense. It happens more often than we think and is often done in an attempt to obtain higher child support benefits than can be provided by the biological father. Or better yet, to hide infidelity. It’s a messed up situation, however, in Nigeria, cases like these are often swept under the rug and rarely result in legal action. Culturally, West African fathers often care for their children as well as children born out of wedlock, children from extramarital affairs, and children from a different father if they are in a relationship with the mother. A majority of the cases have more to do with creating a stable family for the children regardless of if he’s the real father or not. In Nigeria and other African countries, it’s also not uncommon for some women to marry for status even if they already have children, and it is also not uncommon for men to have several women with whom they have children with. As for the way things play out Stateside, it’s much different. Men and women are less likely to care financially for a child who isn’t theirs biologically. Being a key figure or positive role model in a child’s life is one thing, but being mandated by courts into child support is another, and questions fairness. But it happens all the time. Just ask the singer Ne-Yo, who was forced to pay child support for a boy his ex-girlfriend made him believe was his own–until a DNA test cleared things up:
“In the state of California, if you put yourself out there as the father, the mother can then come after you in court like you’re the biological father,” Ne-Yo told VH1. “So we settled out of court for what I thought was an ungodly amount of money. Shortly after that, Jesseca and Chimere vanished.”
Across the globe, men are falling victim to paternity fraud and are being ordered by family courts to pay child support for kids who aren’t theirs. For cases in Nigeria, many of the men accept the responsibility of being the caretaker because it is much more affordable than getting tangled in a court battle. Some men have voiced that even when a DNA test proves the impossibility of fatherhood, it is still really difficult to get out of child support once it has been established. It’s sad because they shouldn’t have to be mandated to pay it if the child isn’t their own, especially since they were initially misled. However, paternity fraud is a complicated thing.
But if by choice they want to remain a father figure in the child’s life, that doesn’t involve the legal system. And while many people don’t stick around after being misled in such a way, some do because they are the only father figure the child knows. It’s a commendable thing to do for the sake of the kid, who is innocent in all of this.
So I ask, if the tables were turned and you were a man who found out that a child you cared for wasn’t your own, would you continue to be in their life? What if the child has grown considerably close to you? Would you continue to provide for them?
Dating with children can be complicated, especially if you are in the public eye. If you’ve been paying attention to pop culture, you’ll know there was a big to-do about singer Ciara introducing her son to her new football player beau Russell Wilson. Well, maybe the person making the biggest deal out of it is her ex-fiancé Future, but it seems everyone had something to say about her decision to involve Russell in her son’s life this early in their relationship. While some were for it, others have denounced the situation, even going as far as questioning her parenting. And while none of us know for sure how long they’ve been dating or just how serious their relationship really is, one thing we should all be able to agree on is that there are no set rules as to how and when a man or woman should introduce their child(ren) to a new partner. Since every situation is different, we can only say there are a few things to consider before taking it to the next step.
For one, the child’s age, maturity level and emotional state all play a major part in this mind-boggling decision. While it could be argued that Ciara and Russell are very early in their relationship and meeting her son was premature, I have to wonder how much damage she could potentially be doing since baby Future is only a toddler. Sure you could say that his age makes no difference, but let’s say they break up next week. Do you really think he will remember Russell after a few weeks or months post-breakup? It’s hard to say, but my guess is no. While I think couples should wait until they’re serious to introduce a child to a new partner, I also think it’s important not to wait too long before knowing how your new partner will interact and get along with your child. Not everyone knows how to handle a baby or a toddler, so perhaps Ciara wanted to find out sooner rather than later if Russell was up for the task of playing a role in her son’s life.
Now if you have teenagers, you may not want to wait too long to make introductions because you may want them to play a part in your dating process. While they may seem mature enough to handle mommy dating a new guy, they also are old enough to establish their own relationship with him without mom facilitating, allowing their rapport to grow organically and not forced. Also, children of a certain age understand what it means when a man or woman is “spending the night,” so make sure you handle that situation delicately. If you have young children that may entail explaining that mommy is having a sleepover with her friend. But if you have teenagers, that “sleepover” mess won’t fly. Be honest with your older children. Explain to them how you feel about your partner and why you two have decided to share a bed. And most important, make sure you lock the doors and wear pajamas. Children of any age don’t need to be exposed to anything that is grown folk’s business.
Remember, you are your child’s role model. You set the example for how they see you, so make sure you ask them their thoughts or concerns about who you’re dating. Be sure to acknowledge their feelings, not dismiss them. And while you want your partner to feel comfortable, you also have to make sure your partner understands how your children may react to mom’s new man. Make sure he’s on the same page when it comes to rules and boundaries. Again, depending on the maturity level of the children and communication involved, that may spell disaster if not handled correctly.
Lastly, if the other parent is actively involved in your child’s life, be sure to tell them about your new relationship as soon as you and your new partner decide that your relationship is serious and exclusive. Who knows if Future and Russell have met, but by all accounts that’s another grey area where messiness can stem from. While not all co-parenting situations are amicable, it’s always best to let the other parent know who will be spending time with your children if you can. Always keep the lines of communication open when dealing with your kids, your ex and your new partner and make sure all concerns are heard and addressed. Like it or not, you all are in this together, and everyone needs to play their part if your relationship is going to work. Adults and their children can have a healthy, happy relationship if done with love and respect.
These celebrities say their kids need to work and create their own wealth because they’re not passing down their millions. Is this good parenting, or a crying shame?
I will (hopefully) go into labor with my second child any day now, and started thinking about how the dynamics of my home are going to change. My husband and I were blessed with our first son early last year who has made things very interesting to say the least. As we continue to navigate the land of “toddlerhood,” I can’t help but wonder about all the things I’ve heard when it comes to having a second child.
Some of the stuff is pretty scary.
Thankfully I know quite a few mommies with multiple children who helped ease some of my fears. No matter what everyone else goes through, your journey is your journey. All children are different and don’t always have the same behavior. Should you be expecting your second child, here are some common myths we can debunk.
Having a second child is faster than the first. Okay so the jury is still out on this one as I haven’t yet delivered. As much as I hear the second delivery is faster, this baby is taking his sweet time to exit stage right. My first was nine days late (most likely due to my active lifestyle and workout regimen), and this one is coming up on a week overdue.
Your firstborn will hate his/her new sibling. Sure there might be behavioral issues, but everything is an adjustment period. Plenty of mommies have told me their children love playing with each other.
It might be hard to love your second child as much. One amazing thing us parents possess is the ability to expand our hearts. I find it really difficult to believe I won’t love my new child as much as my first. The journey of being pregnant again has been nothing but a blessing, minus the nausea and stuff.
Your second child will operate in the same manner as the first. Kudos to you if you’re able to get your little one to eat their veggies and sleep through the night. Just because siblings are related doesn’t mean things will come as easy with the second child. Remember, everyone has their own personality.
The second child will fall in line with the first. Again, that personality thing is very powerful. Ideally it would be awesome if your second child followed your firstborn when it comes to listening to rules. Just prepare yourself in the likely event it doesn’t happen.
You’ll give your second baby just as much attention. Obviously you’re going to need to pay a wee more attention to your baby when it comes to feedings and diaper changes. Do realize that many parents have admitted to not going “overboard” when it comes to chronicling their lives. All of those social media posts, scrapbooks and other keepsakes you created with your first child might not happen as much with the second.
What have been some common second child myths you experienced?
Get ready to feel the warm breeze through your hair as you and your family take off to the beach or an amazing summer trip. Before you go, make sure you have these essentials for your little ones.
15 Summer Trip Child Essentials
What did I get myself into?
Sometimes I ask myself this question as I have a 16 month old son and a baby on the way. My husband and I planned to have our children closer together in age, but this will definitely make for a very interesting household — to say the least.
On one hand, I’m kinda thankful our second child is another boy. Given we already have one, it will make things a heck of a lot easier in the sharing and supplies department. Our little guy shot up in height and wasn’t able to wear many of the things I purchased for him. At least this way they’ll get some use, along with other baby-related items we never got around to donating.
Now that we got the pleasantries out the way, let’s get a little real. Raising both a toddler and newborn is going to be very difficult. This is a reality I’ve come to grips with over the course of my pregnancy — and as much as I’ll try my best to plan for two little ones in diapers, there are certain things I just have to take in stride.
Luckily I know of a few other mothers who’ve had children very close in age. While they do warn me of stressful times ahead, in the end, they say it’s all worth it.
“If you can make it through the first few years everything else will fall into place,” notes one of my gym buddies. “They end up taking care of each other.”
Well this is a little refreshing to hear.
The biggest shock to the system is obviously going to be the whole sleep thing. Luckily our toddler has been able to sleep through the night since he was four months or so, but we get to push the reset button with our infant. Any parent of a toddler can attest to how much energy — and rest — you need to keep up with them, especially when they hit the wonderful stage of exploring, not listening to “no” the first time and talking back. Needless to say, it’s going to be a wee bit difficult to do so when we look and feel like extras from The Walking Dead.
I can’t begin to imagine how parents with multiple children balance their time and attention between each. Obviously my newborn is going to need additional eyes and assistance given he won’t be able to communicate for some time. Yet in the same breath, I don’t want to not give my toddler the one-on-one time he deserves.
Another thing I’m not looking forward to is the amount of diapers we’ll need. Sure my oldest will hopefully potty train with time, but purchasing diapers each month definitely adds to your budget. Thus far I’ve been pretty savvy with buying in bulk online and getting a nice deal. I’ll just have to come to terms with the fact that I need to do it a second time for baby number two. The same goes for their 529 college savings plan.
So little to no nights with rest, two babies vying for your attention and little to no social life. Got it.
All jokes aside, I think it will be fun for them to grow up together. Sure the first year or so of raising a toddler and newborn will be challenging (one will go through the baby motions while the other enters the terrible twos), but it’s nothing too impossible.
I’ll rely on a ton of prayer…and a few glasses of wine.
Summer is just about here which means parents will work on the double to entertain their children. Here’s a look at some fun seasonal DIY ideas to make their summer more enjoyable.
13 Family Summer Hacks to Entertain Your Kids
This question has come up in mixed conversations for some time. If you speak to frequent travelers and people without children, you might hear one answer while those with kids and caring for people with special needs have another.
Social media is buzzing over news United Airlines kicked a teenager with autism off a flight. Many headlines read a bit harsh and would make the Grinch himself ask how a company could be so cruel. There’s even a video floating around on YouTube that shows Dr. Donna Beegle and daughter Juliette being asked to leave.
Upon further investigation you find there’s a bit more to the story that folks might miss or choose to overlook. Apparently the mother did not realize her 15-year-old daughter hadn’t eaten prior to boarding the flight. This oversight had the potential to make travel less enjoyable for her child (and others) who could get upset and reach her “melting point.” As a form of precaution, Dr. Beegle asked one of the flight attendants for a hot tray of food and warned that not obtaining one could make her daughter turn physical (e.g. scratch someone). Luckily the flight attendant obliged given certain foods are reserved for first class passengers. Dr. Beegle also revealed her daughter was “extremely picky.”
We know how airlines love to give first class the world and throw a few peanuts and can of soda–half a can at that–to us regular folk.
Thankfully the meal was enough for Juliette as she sat quietly and ate her food. You would think everything was okay until the pilot made an unexpected landing out of fear for the other fliers.
The jury is still out on whether this incident was a “fear of autism” or a parent’s misstep in providing for their child. While many find themselves on different sides, should airlines provide special flights for those with children and particular needs?
As a mother of a toddler and baby on the way, I get it. It wasn’t that long ago when my husband and I traveled child-free (man, life was simple back then) and had to deal with unruly children on a flight. It happens. You can’t expect a baby to act like an adult and find a flight hours long enjoyable. The parents need to do what they can to prep for tantrums and hiccups that can come due to a lack of food or entertainment. You can’t prevent everything from happening, but my goodness that doesn’t give you the right to allow your child to run amok. Thankfully our 15-month-old has been a great traveler. While his temperament is laid back, you best believe we have all sorts of toys and food readily available to keep him quiet.
I don’t have anyone in my home with special needs and can’t begin to imagine the hurdles folks have when it comes to planning and traveling. Perhaps this specific incident could’ve been avoided if the mother fed her daughter beforehand, but who knows the reasons why she didn’t.
I’m not exactly sure if a separate flight would be the answer. Sure it would put children in one place and potentially make a “regular flight” more quiet, but what about other factors that can disturb people? Should there be a separate flight for those overweight who require two seats but never purchase them? Or what about someone who snores too loud?
All of these questions raise not only questions about comfort, but fairness. Would we be ostracizing some because it would be more convenient for others? Share your thoughts.
When I was younger, during my college days, my friends and I swore that we would never date a man with children. This was mainly because growing up in my neighborhood, we were only accustomed to one type of single dad, and that was one who was barely present in his child’s life–an irresponsible dead beat. I also felt this way because I believed that when I finally shared parenting responsibilities with a man, I wanted it to be a first experience for the both of us.
I felt this way until I met a guy I really liked, only to find out that he had kids.
We met on the web and exchanged numbers. We talked every day through phone calls and text messages. We even FaceTimed each other. I was happy to see that we had a lot in common. Like me, he was interested in making healthy lifestyle choices. He was also an educated man who loved and looked fantastic in a good suit. We exchanged account names for social media, and I learned through his Instagram that he had a daughter. A four-year-old.
I thought about what I had said when I was in college: A man with kids is a no-no. I don’t want the drama. I don’t want to be groomed to be a child’s stepmother.
But then I had to think about dating from the perspective of a parent. He was still a person, and I would feel bad if I didn’t give him a chance just because he had a kid. I liked him, so I tried to have an open mind.
However, I learned there was another child later on, an infant only six months old. I had to do the math because something wasn’t adding up. Again, while I liked him, I learned that he was not an upfront person, and that was the deal breaker for me. How did two kids pop up out of nowhere? I felt like there was more to him than he was revealing, so I ceased communication with him.
Still, I learned a lot from that situation. Even though my friends and I swore that we would never date men with children, I’m learning that having kids doesn’t automatically make you unsuitable for dating. You can still date someone with children, but there is a way to be responsible without affecting the child. It is important to remember that you are dating him, not his kids. They have a mother. If it’s just a casual situation or the beginning stages where the two of you are still trying to figure each other out, there’s no need to stress or obsess over his responsibilities.
But he should be upfront about his children. For those of you dating with kids, I understand that sometimes you don’t disclose that information because you want to have a social life and would like to keep certain things separate, but honestly, everything will eventually overlap once things pick up with the person you are dating. It’s only fair to be straightforward instead of dropping bombs later because some people may not really be okay with dating people with children.
When dating a guy with kids, find out what kind of package deal he comes with. If he has a child, what type of dealings does he have with the child’s mother? What is their relationship like? How would that potentially affect you in terms of dating? If avoiding drama with the mother doesn’t seem doable, then run for the hills and never look back. You will never fully get to experience or enjoy your relationship if there’s always a third party stirring the pot.
It is also important to set boundaries with him involving his child. For example, unless things are getting serious between the two of you, you shouldn’t feel obligated to spend time with his child. If it’s just casual dating, then you need to remember that you are just dating him. Plus, the child’s mother may not be happy about a complete stranger being around their child so closely.
Also, be sure to observe what type of father he is. Is he responsible with his child? Does he make being a father a full-time job or is he a part-time dad? Is he a provider? When you see what type of father he is, it allows you to see him in a different light. You can tell when someone knows how to handle their business and when someone doesn’t. Would you want to be with someone who doesn’t treat being a father as if it were a precious gift? Someone who isn’t responsible?
If you’re an individual who demands a lot of attention, you may also want to be honest with yourself about whether or not you are okay with being second in a man’s life. Don’t expect him to have loads of time on his hands. If he’s a responsible dad and works hard to provide for his child, you can’t fault him for it, but also don’t think that you have to settle for a lack of time together if it’s not something you’re comfortable with. He will make time for you if he’s truly invested in getting to know you. But NEVER think it’s okay to put him in a position where he has to choose between spending time with his kid or quality time with you. If things get serious and he lets you into that part of his life, then great! You can get to know his child and have outings and do fun things together. But until then, accept that his child is his first priority.
Dating a guy with kids definitely gave me a different perspective when it comes to my preferences. Dating a man with children is always a delicate situation, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t. But you should consider these things before you dive in too deep.
When I was growing up, there were only a handful of ways to address adults, and only two involved using their first names– if they were an aunt or uncle, or if they were close friends of the family. In that case, we affectionately referred to them as Aunt Lisa or Uncle Mike, or as Miss Lisa, or Mr. Mike. Either way, it was all for the sake of showing respect for our elders, and practicing proper etiquette. It was just the way things were, and there weren’t any exceptions.
It’s rare for me to hear that from kids these days. But then again, it’s rare for me to come across a child with good manners.
Instead, more and more children seem to be addressing adults by their first names. Aunts, uncles, family friends, neighbors; in some cases, teachers, and yes, even their own parents. To me, that’s a bit extreme, but to each his own.
I admit, it’s something that I found my kids doing with friends of mine. Childhood friends were introduced to my children by their first names; mainly because after knowing them since we were kids ourselves, it was hard for me to imagine them as Mr. or Mrs. anything. Friends that I met as an adult were first introduced as Mr. or Mrs., but over time, as we got closer, we dropped the formality altogether.
My kids definitely don’t treat them as equals. They still show them respect, but the relationship is more playful in nature.
I often wonder to myself though: Am I essentially teaching my children poor manners? Should I have them address everyone by their last name– or at least with some kind of prefix or honorific?
At first I thought it would be hard to go back when it comes to what my kids call my close friends. After all, there are friends of my mother that I still address by last name, even though they’ve told me to use their first names. But I can’t bring myself to do it. It just doesn’t feel right, and I always think that if I do my mother will pop up out of nowhere and reprimand me for it.
Then I think back to the days when my children used to call and refer to their aunts and uncles by their first names. It was something that they did because they heard their father and I doing it; which is what I assume happens with others who do the same. It was a while before we corrected them, but they eventually adapted to the change once we did.
So it is possible.
Necessary? Maybe not. Besides, there are lots of other ways that kids can show respect toward adults. It would be nice to hear it more often though, and I intend to make it a rule with my children; no exceptions.
What do you think mamas? Should kids address adults by their last names– all of them? How do you feel about children addressing you by your first name, and what do you teach your kids to do?