Reflections of a Step-Child

| January 13, 2015

While there are children all over the world who have grown into adults without any biological parent around, there are those who would be considered very fortunate to have been raised up by a minimum of two parents.

But there are some who have been raised by four parents, especially in the case of biological parents divorcing.

Immediately one is subjected to having to cope with a biological mother, a step-father, a biological father and a step-mother.

While ordinarily it would be thought to be blessed for one to have four parents, most children with step-parents have indicated that the arrangement is very taxing emotionally.

In an interview with BOPA, 25-year-old Ms Lesego Kedireng, who hails from Serowe, said having a step-parent can be both good and bad, depending on the relationship that one has with the parent in question.

“The relationship can be good but as a step-child, you are always hit with that emotional bug of wondering how things would be if you were the biological child,” said Ms Kedireng.

She said sometimes even when the parent in question is good, the child tends to allow thoughts of not being the biological child to overwhelm her. In addition, she said it is important to acknowledge that as a step-child, the step-parent cannot fully understand them because there is no biological bond.

“Sometimes when you act in certain ways, definitely not abrupt ways, the person may fail to understand you simply because you do not have a biological bond,” she opined.

32-year-old Ms Nomsa Koketso is a woman who has four parents altogether. That is a step-mother, step-father, biological mother and father. Any person would think that would be a privilege and aantage, but not according to Ms Koketso.

She said even though she was raised by her mother and step-father, she saw a need to get to know her biological father just to have an identity and know the kind of family she comes from.

“Unfortunately, in our African culture, people view things differently in comparison to white people in the sense that if one of your biological parents did not contribute to your upbringing, you are supposed to dislike the person and not even think of having a relationship with them,” she observed.

She said the moment she tried to establish a relationship with her biological father, it became an issue to the family that raised her. Ms Koketso said she can understand the bitterness from her mother’s family because her father did not raise her.

Even though that is the case, she said she saw the need to know her father’s family because she had a void in her that could not be filled by anything or anyone. Ms Koketso said at the moment, she wishes there could be peace between the two families as she feels caught in between.

According to her, nothing is more painful than being expected to choose between two people who brought her to the world. She said her aim is not to determine or judge where, how and when her biological parents broke up but just to know them both.

Furthermore, she noted that as much as her father did not raise her, there is a bond that she cannot describe and a sense of security that she feels. Being raised in a family of three children, where she is the first born and the only step-child made her to always feel like an outcast in the family. She said she appreciates what her mother and father did for her greatly and she refers to her step-father as her father because she played a big role in her upbringing.

Ms Koketso wishes they could understand her getting to know the biological father is not a way of leaving the family or to hurt them, but just to feel the void in her heart that cannot seem to go away.

She said it really pains her to be caught up between two families and another factor that she feels make her to have no sense of belonging is the fact that she cannot be under her step-father’s family because he is not married to her mother. At the same time, she cannot be under her father’s family because he is married to another woman and did that without getting her into the picture.

On the contrary, Mr Boago Mokumako, a 28-year-old man has a completely different view as he believes that the moment one perceives someone as their parent regardless of whether they gave birth to them or not, that person becomes their parent.

He said the most important thing is to afford the individual the respect they would give if they were their biological parent. “I was raised by a step-father and we have a good relationship and one can never guess that he is not my biological father,” he said.

He said he does not feel any void at all as he has met his father but feels more at ease with the man who raised him.

Source : BOPA

Source : Botswana Daily News

Category: Human Rights

Comments are closed.