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Fathers’ Day: 6 Effective Ways African Fathers Can Communicate with Their Kids


Growing up, mum was my favorite. She appeared very compromising, and more often, she will threaten me with dad, who will eventually beat me.

I never liked dad because he appeared very stern and uncompromising.
Just like me, many people do not appreciate their fathers, especially Africans. African fathers are rarely treasured like the mothers owing to how the African man is raised.

In Ghana, it is a norm for a man not to show much emotion; as it is seen as a sign of weakness.

With the popular local expression, “berma nsu” (man doesn’t cry), men are ‘expected’ not to cry because crying is perceived as a woman’s ‘job’. Men are rarely home because they are trained religiously and culturally to believe that their fatherly role is outside of the home; to look for money whilst the woman’s role is home, cooking, and taking care of the children, etc.

Men project themselves as strong, expressing little to no emotions. Young boys socialized with this norm, grow to become not-so-great fathers who have terrible communication skills and emotional intelligence.

A child’s language involves communicating with emotions. Emotions to a child mean a lot and since the father lacks or hides his emotions, African children rarely appreciate the presence of their fathers because their mechanistic no-show of emotion, is detachment to the child.

On the other side of the coin is the ‘displayer’ of emotions – the Mother. Mothers show different shades of emotions towards their child(ren) like anger leading to scolding, complaints, etc.; an expression of deep affection, leading to hugs, kisses, etc.

In my home, for instance, the real disciplinarian is a hundred percent mum, not dad. She beats and scolds, and is the same person to console.

Children grow up hearing the voice of their mother more often and thus accept their voice as the voice of affection and care and interpret all those actions as true love.

Children grow up feeling separate from their father but closer to their mother.  More often, fathers are hurt by this reality and they end up feeling alone and lonely especially when they reach old age.

To curb this, African fathers need to learn how to effectively communicate with their children and express the love and joy their children give them.

As a father, learning this will not only free you from the erroneous concepts of masculinity you have grown with, but it will increase your bond with your family, especially your children.

If you are a Father or about to be a father, here are six effective ways you can communicate with your children.

Be Intentionally Interested in Every Aspect of Their Lives 

The video above which has been trending on social media reveals that most fathers know very little about their kids. 

As a father, you should be intentional about getting to know your children. Learn to chat with them: Get to know their teachers, their best friends, their favorite subject(s), etc. Once in a while, bathe and dress them up, read bedtime stories to them, and listen to stories they have to share.

Be interested in what they need directly and not through their mothers. When you provide their needs through their mothers, they will always come to you through their mother and this doesn’t improve communication. Show your affection directly to them.

Spend Time with Your Children and Learn to Listen to Them

Have a Dad-Child chat with your children and let them tell you your strengths and flaws and vice versa. This makes them feel they are being acknowledged and respected.

Make some time to listen to your children as they share their wins, challenges, and life drama with you.  Over time, this fosters a  “real” relationship and strengthens your bond.

PS: When your children share their challenges with you, they are not necessarily calling on you to be ‘Super-man’ or ‘Iron man.’ Don’t be overly judgmental. Just give them a listening ear and ask them if they’d want your help to address it. 

Communicate with Your Children When Disciplining Them

In Africa, making reference to the father is a “method” often used by mothers to get their children to do the right thing. This makes fathers appear ‘scary’. As a father, you need to talk to the mother to stop projecting that image of you to the children. African Mothers should learn to discipline their children in their own name.

If you have to discipline your children, do so, but communicate with them when disciplining them so that they understand why you are disciplining them and what they could have done better. Discipline is not punishment but your child will not know that until you communicate it.

Have a Welcoming Disposition

Some African fathers are so strict and unwelcoming that their children feel uncomfortable around them. They sometimes appear as military men in war zones and the children feel like slaves being guarded by them.

Don’t be that kind of father. Be free, they are your kids. Your welcoming presence can make them want to be around you. Force a smile, if you have to. At least, they’d know you are trying.

Be a Protector, Not Only a Disciplinarian

If you are a father, I bet you are only a disciplinarian and not a “protector” per se in your child’s eyes. Make your children feel safe around you; we all only want to be in places where we feel safe. 

Be Involved in Domestic Activities at Home

Fathers, be involved in house chores. I know you’ve been socialized to believe that this is demeaning and makes you a “foolish” man but, really, it doesn’t. It actually makes you a good example for your children. It communicates responsibility and an example of a great work ethic — a healthy work-life balance. Doing this will also make your children know how interested you are in the family’s well-being. 

It may be difficult to imbibe (not to speak of practice) these strategies in the beginning, but it would definitely be worth your while if you gave them a try. 

If you’re new to this Fatherhood game, lucky you. Go all out and let your children experience the best version of you.

Happy Fathers Day!!!!!!!


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