Dad-Of-13, Mr Ibu Talks His Parenting Style, Lessons, Gains And Challenges Of Fatherhood
Nigerian comic actor, John Okafor, better known as Mr Ibu, has shared about the lessons, gains and challenges of fatherhood with PUNCH.
Speaking about his parenting style, the TV personality and proud dad-of-13 said he’s not a believer in corporal punishment. According to him, he rather subscribes to dialogue in correcting his children rather than beating them.
The comic actor who has earned a cult figure in Nollywood with his incredibly hilarious demeanour and delivery in movies also disclosed that he asked God not to make any of his kids resemble him but rather take after their mother because…
What is your definition of fatherhood?
Fatherhood for me is simply one of the major responsibilities that come after marriage; catering for children and your family as a whole, being a role model to your children and guiding them towards the right path in their future.
What is the most challenging thing for you about being a dad?
One of the challenges about being a dad comes with the responsibilities of being a father and doing your duties. If care is not taken, one may fail in his role of being a father. As the head of the family, everyone looks up to you, so you can never afford to look weak, because you are the pillar of the family.
When did you decide to become a father and what was the motivation?
The motivation to become a father is natural; as you grow it gets to a certain stage that this thing comes to you. When you are able to make decisions for yourself, that is when you know you have become a man.
Fatherhood happens to every man and very mature man who knows what he is doing and has the feeling of humanity to raise children and have a wife. I train my children in the very best way and I make sure that they are always happy.
I take them to the best of schools, and they grew up to my taste, the way I want them to be. I have a high taste in life, and even some of my friends learnt from me because good things are easy to emulate. I have trained them in the right manner which gives them reasons to be able to think big and achieve great things in life.
When did you have your first child?
I had my first child in 1991.
How did you feel when your wife told you for the first time that she was carrying your baby?
I remember the night she told me, I was so excited and my show of love from that very night was something else. I wanted the baby to keep on growing and be healthy, as well as the mother.
When you held your child for the first time, what came to your mind at that moment?
I remember the joy in my heart; I was happy and grateful to God. I picked up my baby and said that he should look like his beautiful mother and not me, everyone laughed. They asked why I was saying that and I said that because I know I am not good looking, and they all laughed.
I am very truthful to myself; I know that I am not good looking, so I do not want any of my children to take after me in that aspect, they can take after me in every aspect but not in terms of beauty, and as God will have it, they look beautiful just like my wife.
SEE ALSO: Comedic Actor Mr Ibu Reveals Why he Flaunts his Wife on Social Media
Were you concerned about the gender of your first child?
People have preferences but I was never bothered about that. If you have a good hospital, they would let you know the gender (before the baby is born).
I was told that my child was a boy and I was happy. If it was a girl I would have also felt the same way. I have 11 sons and two daughters and they are all healthy. There were 12 boys but I lost one.
What has fatherhood changed about you?
When you are young and single it is a big difference from being a married man, and a bigger difference when you start to have children. When you have babies, you are becoming a man, and when you are becoming a man, you are thinking big.
There were certain things I wouldn’t do that I do now, because I am the head of my family and family comes first. Also, my children look up to me, learn from me and emulate me. I have to show them that I am responsible, so that they can be proud of who I am. God says you should nurture them, provide for them and that is what I do.
Fatherhood makes you a responsible person. We have fathers who are responsible and there are others who are irresponsible and careless. When I started my journey into fatherhood, I was a careless father, but by God’s grace I was able to retrace my steps, build up myself and today I am proudly a responsible father.
If you are a careless father, who doesn’t care for his children, who doesn’t have love for his and family, who doesn’t have love and passion for building a home, such a person is not a man. I have been able to live up to my responsibilities as a father by providing for my family and making sure they never lack.
Did you experience any fear before becoming a father?
I never had a fear of becoming a father; I have always been a man and I knew I want children. After my first child I was so happy and I was actually in a haste to have more.
What are the values you have instilled in yourself that have helped you as a dad?
First of all, you have to build confidence in yourself. You learn everyday as a father, and I never miss any opportunity to learn everyday and this makes me a better parent. I have people who learn from me and I teach them how to build a home even though I had some ups and downs in the course of trying to build a home.
My first and second marriages failed; they (my wives) left me after having a child each for me. I wondered what made them make such decisions and they made me know that it was because I didn’t have money.
This made me know that I have to be able to keep my family and provide for them and make sure that they are satisfied and not have any reason to look down on me.
What would you say fatherhood has helped you to accomplish in your career?
I never knew I was going to be a responsible person, from the look of things, growing up. The kind of friends I kept and the environment I was in, but I was blessed with a good wife who encouraged and ensured that I turned a new leaf.
Fatherhood has helped me improve in my career, and made me put more effort in my art. I work harder knowing full well that I have a family to care for.
What are the domestic chores you do as a father?
I assist in any way that I can; I do things to support my family to make things easier. I am always happy to do such, I am a happy man and I love my family so much.
How do you relax with your children?
Relaxing is one of the things I enjoy doing, it brings me closer to them and we share a special bond at that period. We talk about a lot of things while we relax, they open up to me, tell me about things that are bothering them, they ask for my advice and I give to them.
We share ideas about various things; we laugh a lot, we play, eat and do lots of things together. I joke a lot with my children; all of this makes us closer to another.
ALSO SEE: Comic Actor, Mr. Ibu, Shares His Ugly Experience With Ex Wife
Are any of your kids toeing your career path?
Yes, I have two of my children who are toeing my career path and I am very proud of that. They are proud of their father; they love my art and decided to follow in my path.
I never forced them, it was their choice and I am glad that they are doing what they love, and it also shows that they are proud of what I do and want to be like me.
How do you discipline your kids?
I do not believe in beating children, I am not saying others who do it are wrong, but it is not my style. In disciplining my children, I have a different method, I rather speak to them, I caution them a lot and they can easily see that I am not pleased with whatever they might have done wrong, they realise their wrongs and apologise to me, and believe me, they mean it and do not repeat such.
What do you teach your kids about good moral values?
Knowing full well that they are children of a popular person, so people would be looking at them and always want to find faults and castigate the family, I advise them to always do good things and remember the home they are coming from and never forget God and His words.
I also tell them that they need to spend a lot of time studying, be focused in life and achieve greater things.