Lindsey Moyo

A bigger wallet doesn’t make you a better father

As much as we’d like to think more money would solve all our problems, children would rather have a dad who loves them and is involved in their lives than a father who sends money but doesn’t know them or care about them.

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This may seem like a crazy idea in our society, where dads are often associated with being the providers in families, but the Fathers Matter research shows that a father who prioritises a healthy relationship with his children has a better impact on their well-being than one who sends money but who is physically and emotionally absent.

In the Fathers Matter film Family Portrait, Ayize is a struggling artist who has just begun his own journey as a father and he confronts his dad, who wasn’t present in his life, saying: “I didn’t need a few rands from an invisible hand. Why didn’t you come by? Didn’t you want to know me?”

As children become adults and reflect back on their fathers’ choices, it’s the simple things that matter most. “I feel like he owed me something, something he’s supposed to give me, and that is the father’s love. I don’t want his money, I just wanted him around...” said one research participant.

Practical ideas when money is tight

If you are struggling financially, or even if there isn’t much to spare for extra activities, there are creative things that you can do to spend meaningful time with your children and be a positive presence in their lives.

If it sounds like a good idea, but you’re not sure where to start, we’ve put together some tips and ideas for how to build connections with your children, even when you don’t have money:

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Passing on the right money values

Another way that fathers can build well with their children is linked to what they do with money when it is available. Rather than spending any spare rands that come in on betting, chilling with “the gents” or buying luxuries, good money values can help guide fathers, and set a great example for their children.

July is National Savings Month in South Africa, and it’s a good opportunity for dads to learn more about how to have a healthy relationship with money – no matter how much or how little they have.

For more money tips, keep an eye on our Fathers Matter Facebook page where we’ll be sharing ideas and stories throughout the month. Or, check out Heartlines’ Values & Money page for more money content.

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Lindsey Moyo

Lindsey has a background in journalism, online content production and publishing. She is passionate about helping people use words to communicate their stories and perspectives.

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