There are few situations where the discussion of who your child’s next of kin comes up. Few as they may seem, these situations are ultimately important. Usually, it is the adult who is laboured with thinking about who should be their next of kin; their spouse, child or relatives.
When I registered the births of my kids, no one asked me who they should list as the next of kin for my kids. I was the automatic candidate, as I initiated the process. Opening of accounts, it was a done deal that I would be the next of kin. In fact no one has ever asked me, or suggested otherwise, at least not while I was present.
But that was not to be recently, when a hospital record clerk automatically put my husband’s name, in the space provided for next of kin. His rationale was “You people (women) will still go and ask him for money.”
And then I remembered that my children’s former school also always issued the school fees receipts in Mister’s name. I never asked them, but then your guess is as good as mine, as to the reason behind it. Mister pays the school fees.
That is in spite of the fact that women are nowadays taking on more bread winning roles, than, say, ten years ago. There are women who pay part of (if not all) the house rent, pay school fees for at least a child and still sort out other household expenses.
Before, I get on my high horse, I decided to know, exactly what the term Next of Kin means. I discovered it refers to a person’s closest living blood relative or relatives. Someone you would want contacted in case of an emergency.
Well, that is the definition. However, there are different opinions on this matter and one of them is; Mummy is next of kin. The reasons given range from the fact that mothers are the go-to person in an emergency, with the further argument that even when fathers are called in case of emergency, they will likely call their wives to attend to the situation, as they could be busy working.
Mrs Nonye Idia agrees with this notion, as she narrated how her husband was once called from their child’s school and “He called me in my office and asked that I go to our daughter’s school to see what they wanted. Honestly, it would have been better if I had been called directly, but they only have his information. For instance, if it had been an emergency, that is how we would have wasted time trying to call each other to get there.”
However, for Mrs Aisha Stephen, there is no contention, “My husband is my children’s next of kin; in the bank, the hospital, I tell them not to write my name, and anywhere there is a need for such information. Besides, the children don’t bear my name nor my father’s name. They bear their daddy’s name, so he is their next of kin and that does not diminish me in any way, I still perform my role as their mother.”
On the other hand, the team proposing that Fathers should be next of kin has a staunch supporter in Mr. Lanre Adesina who argued that there is nothing that he cannot do for his children. “Why am I working? Is it not because of the children? I care about them as much as their mother does and she knows that too. We are so close that when I don’t get home on time, their mother keeps calling me, because they would not let her rest with the cries of daddy.”
And the fence huggers just say, what’s with the squabbles?! Settle it with a Mr and Mrs, and add phone numbers of both parents. But we all know that when it comes to this matter of next of kin, they need a first name and surname, not a Mr and Mrs.
When you really think about it, this next of kin issue relates to who you would like to care for your child if you are not there. That makes the person the legal guardian of your child, so it takes some thoughts.
So, who’s your child’s next of kin? You, your husband or both of you?