Protecting the Children
[private] Hondurans are preoccupied with protecting their rights to get paid fair wages, aguinaldos, catorceavos and prestaciones (bonuses). There are offices of lawyers waiting to council and advise employees taking advantage of their employer. Honduran government has offices in towns all over the country that council and help Honduran workers to get the money they feel they deserve. So it is ironic, surprising and sad how little effort Hondurans devote to assuring that Honduran children are financially and emotionally taken care of by both parents.
This neglect prevents many Honduran children to have the maximum chance at a good education, and a decent start in life. All that takes place in a country where a large percentage of Honduran society was brought up in the trauma of single parent households. Honduran children are often shipped to relatives and raised by their grandmother or aunts. They end up having little or no contact, let alone regular financial support of one or both parents.
The dysfunction of a society whose members aren’t often recognized by its parents, and grows up without a real concept of what responsibilities of a parent are, perpetuated in the violence, abuse and dysfunction during the grown-up period of their lives. With few parent role models to refer to, teenage and grown Hondurans look at gangs, employers, and anyone with authority to serve as an example of a father figure and a role model.
The Latin American concept of a father “recognizing” their baby and giving it its name allows for Honduras to be continually run by the selfish “machista” spirit. I know of several fathers that decided to not recognize the children their wives bore them, either because a skin color reminded them of an African-American ancestor they didn’t and weren’t ready to admit they had, or as an excuse to end the marriage.
The fact that a father will not be automatically financially liable for raising his children is in part reason why Honduran men behave in such an irresponsible fashion. They just keep having more children.
A friend of mine said she is afraid to ask her ex husband to take financial responsibility for the two children they had together and she didn’t know where to turn to. The “Fiscalía” (prosecutors) said they couldn’t do anything without a court order. The court order on the other hand could be made after a court ruling once a case is brought in by a lawyer. Like many Hondurans, my friend had no money for a lawyer.
So, the two children of my friend faced the reality of growing up on a single salary of the mother, who had few work skills and few chances at good salary work.
I advised my friend that making the father be financially responsible for their children is not only good for the children and will provide less financial stress for her, but will also allow the father to take account and responsibility of fatherhood early on. In the long run it will make that father a better person. [/private]