Dele’s parents died in a car crash when he was 11 years old, he then had to move in with his aunt who maltreated him until he ran out of her house and started living on the streets to survive. Does this story sound familiar? Well, yes, and that’s because it was a frequently used plot in many Nollywood (Nigerian) movies we watched while growing up.
The truth is that, while you might feel like these movies are exaggerated, it’s actually some people’s reality. However, today we will not be exploring that “exaggerated plot”, instead, let’s create” a more realistic plot”. Imagine if you and your spouse passed away today (I am sure you just said Godforbid in your mind, that’s fine), and a friend or family member becomes the legal guardian to your children, but this arrangement doesn’t work out well. I am not talking about your children being mistreated, instead, something different like converting them to a different religion from the one you have raised them to follow or not being able to afford quality education for your children or having your children raised around people with poor ethical values.
I am guessing you have started thinking of other worse case scenarios in the event that the wrong person is appointed as the guardian of your kids. Truth is, there is no guarantee that even when you appoint a guardian yourself, that the person appointed may be perfect or even competent, however, your odds are much higher. The question now is, what should you look out for when choosing a guardian? Here are 4 things to consider:
You might have a good friend or family member whom you love dearly and who in turn loves your child just like his/her own, but what if the person is an atheist and you are a very religious person, do you then ignore your religion? You have to realize that a person might be great as a friend or family member but might not share the same values you believe is upright enough to raise your child. It is important to select someone who shares the same values as you and who would be a good influence on your child/ren. Kids get easily influenced and find it hard to get rid of habits they grew up with, and this is why you have to be intentional when choosing a guardian for them (PS: we aren’t asking you to be judgemental).
2. Age and Health:
While choosing a guardian, the health of the guardian should be an important factor because it is not advisable to appoint someone who has a terminal illness or a fragile health condition, or who even depends on other people to nurse him/her. You also have to consider age, if the person is too old, asking him/her to help raise your child might be strenuous and if the person is too young, the person might lack the necessary experience needed. Look out for someone mature enough and physically healthy to take on this responsibility.
Yes, you do need to consider the financial prowess of the person you want to appoint as a guardian. Don’t get it wrong, we aren’t suggesting you choose the wealthiest friend or family member you have, instead, we suggest you select someone who wouldn’t feel the role would be too financially burdensome for him or her. Imagine appointing a guardian who currently struggles to pay his or her bills, adding a child to his or her responsibility will be an extra financial burden. Some of the things you can consider for finances are, does the person currently own his or her house? Does the person have a job with a steady income? Does the person have other family members dependent on him/her? Some of these questions would help inform you on whether the person in consideration might be able to afford this. Make sure you choose someone who would be able to afford the role without having to make any unnecessary financial sacrifices that may affect other people or areas in his/her life.
4. Willingness to accept the role:
This is actually the most important point of all. A person might check all the necessary boxes but if the person is not willing to accept the role, you would have to look for someone else. This simply means that you need to consult with whoever you want to appoint as a guardian first and find out if the person would like to accept such responsibility. One thing you need to also realise is, if someone rejects the role to be a guardian for your children, the person isn’t a bad person or your enemy. The truth is the person might have other things or priorities that he/she is possibly dealing with, which may prevent him/her from looking after your children as well as they would love to. Make sure you ask them for permission in a way that feels like it’s a request rather than leaving them feeling they are being cajoled to accept the offer.
Appointing a guardian is something that requires careful consideration, appointing the wrong guardian might have a negative effect on your children in the event that you are no more. Even after appointing a guardian, make sure you subtly study whoever it is just incase (s)he begins to exhibit certain traits you aren’t comfortable with, around your children. If you have more questions around this issue, we are more than happy to provide you with free consultation, kindly reach us by sending us a mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or you can call or WhatsApp us on 01 – 2801420 or 08129997204.