Proper Parenting: a Necessity for Every Child.

Parenting is as important to the child as the food he eats, the same way stalks are as important to the yam tendrils as the ingredients required for photosynthesis. Children who are lucky to be raised in healthy parenting relationships grow up with discipline that pervades all that they ever get involved with, while those who had failed or severed parenting relationships grow into adults who are consistently haunted by the harsh reality of their wrong decisions and actions.

A girl I met some years ago was a typical case. One very noticeable thing about her was the fact that every space on all the visible parts her body showed the deteriorating effects of stress. The deep emotional scars she had been through consistently showed on her countenance. One day I had a chat with her which was quite revealing. I was shocked when she disclosed that she was twenty one years old. She was looking ten year older! When I expressed concern about how old she was looking, she sighed.

“Madam, you will not understand the extent of poverty my family experienced. It was so much that my siblings and I were all given out as domestic helps before the age of twelve years,” was her pathetic disclosure.

She explained further that her horrifying experience with the first family she lived with was such that she made up her mind not to live with anyone else. She said she was about fourteen years old then. Her decision to fend for herself at such a tender age was taken without her parents’ knowledge. As expected, her experience was indeed comparable to that of a yam tendril, wading its way through a forest without a stalk. She said that she was lucky to have survived because she met many other children like her who lost their lives or got permanently disabled in their daily struggles for self survival.

The countless losses that resulted from her premature severance from a parenting relationship are most regrettable. They include the deep emotional scars, disrupted physical development and dysfunctional personality status all of which would likely continue to torment her except by the special mercy of God.

Parenting lessons/Action Points

  1. Efforts should always be made to ensure that children are always under proper parenting care and support until they are matured.
  2. All hands should be on deck to offer parenting training to every adult. Leaders of communities and villages, School managers, church leaders, operators of NGOs and the leadership of every organization should, as a matter of urgency, set up parenting counseling units. This will really help parents whose parenting skill begin and end with making children scream as a result of aggression without achieving any enduring result.
  3. Foster parents, including teachers owe a divine duty of love and care to children because children who are inadequately trained develop into adults who constitute potential threat to the life and property of everyone they come in contact with. Foster children should not be brutalized, even if they are domestic servants.
  4. Children counseling units should be formed by communities, schools, churches, NGOs and other organizations to counsel children properly and discourage them from severing from their parents or guardians prematurely.
  5. Little drops of water will make an ocean. So will our respective individual efforts work to liberate our society from the shackles of ignorance currently experienced in the area of parenting.
  6. More efforts should be made in the sponsorship of NGOs that assist street children. The efforts of the NGOs which currently perform this function are commendable.

 

  • Uchenna N duka

 

 

The Disciplinary Approach that Involves the Heart and Mind of the Child Endures.

The fact that the maintenance of discipline in children is as much of a concern in the schools as it is at home supports the perception of discipline as a personality attribute. A disciplined person has enough self-control to cope with any enticement to go contrary to prescribed standards, rules, laws, regulations, expectations or the demands of a particular situation. If discipline is measured on a scale, a person’s score indicates how much he can consistently restrain himself from wrongful acts on all issues of life at all times. If indeed a person applies the same measure of discipline on respective occasions, locations and issues, then discipline as a personality trait is not situational but pervasive.

A parent with a narrow perception of discipline as situational would usually present threats and violence, and commands the child into action without involving his brain and heart. No wonder such threats and acts of violence will be required in increasing measure because the child’s conscience and intellect, he would have relied on to guide future actions, are treated with disregard. Such parents usually present themselves to  children asmasquerades’ to be dreaded through threats of torture and actual acts of aggression.

I have previously described this situation as that which “reduces the human personality to a debased and pitiable level where love, conscience and rational reasoning go into recession, while sadism and coercion predominantly drive actions.” A parenting relationship where this is obtained is unhealthy and replete with negative emotions. The futility of this wrong disposition is evident in the fact that such parents are almost always seen complaining that their children are stubborn.

The children who are exposed to the belligerent child training approach would usually maintain uneasy calm as long as the aggressors are around, but revert to their true selves once they are out of physical parental control. I heard that a mother fainted on sighting her daughter whom she visited unexpectedly in her school hostel, because she did not consider it possible in her wildest imagination that her daughter would dress so indecently. It is possible that her parenting approach at home was such that her children were shackled into submission on issues they are not guided to have understanding on and belief in. The reality that parents are human beings, and so cannot be with the children at all times, should inform the desire for the discipline that endures.

Is it not therefore obvious that the illusory atmosphere of discipline, achieved with the belligerent parenting approach, would likely have difficulty aligning with the child’s enduring personality traits?      Is it then not vanity for one to toil for ‘discipline’ that would vanish when the child is a few steps away? Should we not rather adopt the better approach that achieves real discipline which the child is able to apply on all issues of life at all times as he gradually matures, irrespective of whether or not the parents are present?

Effective parenting is the preferred option for achieving enduring discipline in children because it focuses on properly guided and gradual cognitive development which is anchored on love, patience and good conscience. It should be learnt and adopted fully in all parenting methods and relationships.

 

  • Uchenna N. Nduka

 

The Power of Praise in Parenting.

At first it looked like the usual Sunday treat when our favourite uncle was taking me and my siblings with his own children out on an excursion to his poultry farm on the outskirt of Enugu Township. I was about eleven years old. The journey to the poultry was quite exciting with about nine children in the vehicle. Everything else seemed normal until this incidence that worked like magic to unlock the innate potential and drive in me for excellence.

My uncle took time to take us round the poultry farm, explaining the items, structures and processes at our own level. Then suddenly, I asked a question. I have forgotten exactly what the question was. He turned back swiftly and wanted to know who among us asked the question. I hesitated, because I was not sure what his reaction to my response would be. Then when I indicated that I was the person that asked the question, he made a statement that spoke to my whole being and essence.

“You are a very intelligent girl.”He said

In fact, he called out my name and said again that I was an intelligent girl and asked me to note it. I noted it indeed and believed him. Gradually, this attribute of mine that had been revealed took over my life, seeking for expression in everything I did. For instance, I was surprised at how much my ability to self-study improved with impressive scores and grades.The incidence has remained forever fresh in my memory, continually achieving its purpose. It achieved what anxiety, siblings’ comparison, flogging, constant criticism and condemnation could not achieve. A few words of praise excited the otherwise latent and dormant instinct in me for excellence, and staged me for the eventual achievements.

Parents should accordingly note that constant condemnation of a child is enervating while praise is a booster.

Great parents do not withhold praise when it is deserved.

  • Uchenna N. nduka

The Consummation of Love in Parenting.

In love, I imagine that the babies we curdle and protect today will grow out of the warmth of our hands to face life for what it really is.

The unquestionable reality of life is that wrong actions result in regretful consequences. Yes! People who take wrong actions inevitably contend with the rod of discipline!

I realize that the children we make choices and take actions for will grow to make their own choices and take their own actions. The real test of our parenting efforts will manifest in their adult lives if they are able to apply wisdom in their decisions and actions.

We should be moved to relate with our children more passionately if we imagine that many adults in the prison yard were once children in the care of their parents. They might have been involved in wrong course of events and the rod of discipline is now very weighty on them with avoidable regrets and sorrow.

We should love our children dearly. It will be condemnable that they grow into adults with regrets trailing every action of theirs when;

  • God is a ready help to keep their consciences alive.
  • We are their braces of endless love to help them learn from their daily experiences as children.
  • There are folk tales, bible stories, real life events and our life testimonies we can share with them to firm up godly virtues early.
  • We can devote our time and attention now to protect them, and influence them positively by our words, actions and reactions on all issues.

As parents, we should really be committed to protecting children from harm and danger so that they will gradually mature, but, sometimes, the imperatives of our responsibility towards them may require that we stand aside to allow them the right measure of exposure to the harsh reality of their choices and actions. It is for their good.

Love is indeed consummated in parenting when the child achieves a disciplined adult life, and is able to cope with the ever- evolving enticement into perversion.

Effective parenting approach is lovely. Everyone should embrace it.

Uchenna N. Nduka

Effective Parenting: the Preferred Option.

Corporal punishment attacks the main drivers of enduring discipline in children.

  • It distorts the proper cognitive, physical, social and spiritual development of conscientious and love-driven children.
  • It weakens the health of any parenting relationship through emotional and physical scars.
  • It introduces violence and aggression in the personality formation process of a child. The increasing spate of terrorism threatening humanity today may not be unconnected with this.
  • It reduces the human personality to a debased and pitiable level where love, conscience and rational reasoning go into recession, while sadism and coercion predominantly drive actions.

Regrettably, the culture of coercing and bullying children has etched deeply in the hearts and minds of many people.

Interestingly, genuine efforts at steady improvement in effective parenting skills would gradually reduce a person’s resort to aggression and bullying in child training.

Effective parenting skills produce great results.

Learn it!  Practise it!  Share it!

 

Uchenna N. Nduka

How to Cope with Incessant Crying by Children

The last time I witnessed this incidence was at a wedding ceremony. I saw a mother march out angrily with a boy of about six years who was weeping. When she was at a good distance away from the church auditorium, she started beating the boy with all her strength. As expected, the boy screamed uncontrollably. I then walked up to her and inquired why she was doing that.

“Since he wants to cry, let me beat him up so that he can cry very well,” was her reply.

I told her that the beating was very unnecessary and that the worst she could have done was to ignore him if she felt that his crying was unjustified. It was obvious she resorted to beating her son because she was at her wit’s end on how else to stop the crying that was about to drive her crazy. I am sure she was not alone in this challenge. That is why it is imperative that we deliberate on the right approach to cope with it.

It will be fine if parents can apply a good blend of love and firmness without exposing the child’s psyche to such unwarranted aggression. The crying pattern that would elicit this kind of reaction from a parent usually situate on the following familiar setting:

  1. The child has a feeling, discomfort or need he intends to communicate. Babies rely greatly on crying as a means of communication. In a healthy parenting relationship that is responsive to the needs of the child, crying as a means of communication should substantially reduce when the child achieves proficiency in verbal communication.
  2. Ideally, parents should genuinely consider the child’s request on each occasion and ensure that it is attended to as much as possible on its merit within the limitations of time and other factors.
  3. Where necessary, the parent should make a response to the child, on why a request cannot be attended to immediately. This response should be provided without anger and despair. Available alternatives may be persuasively discussed with the child if he is in real need.
  4. Parents should firmly make it clear early in parenting relationships that crying will never be allowed to stampede them into taking sub-optimal decisions and actions. It is in fact a weakness on any parent’s part to be coaxed into wrong decisions and actions just because the child will cry. Principled firmness is required to instill discipline in children. Children whose parents are quick to make compromises and yield to pressure from such crying tend to employ the strategy to bring their own childish will to bear on most issues.
  5. Children should be trained as soon as they start talking to appreciate that issues can always be clearly and effectively communicated between them and parents. Crying as a coaxing strategy by children should be tactically discouraged by parents over a period of time.
  6. Sometimes, if after efforts have been made to explain a situation to a child and he still feels like crying, parents should just leave the child to sort out his emotions. Children whose parents do not respond to unnecessary crying will perceive the futility of the strategy early and advise themselves properly. Really, a child may cry briefly if he genuinely misses a particular thing he desires, but will get himself back within a short while.

It is an indication of an unhealthy parenting relationship if a child has to cry each time he needs to be attended to. Such incidences will be reduced in a healthy parenting relationship because parents and their children would be enjoying the unique opportunities of communicating with each other with a lot of confidence and love. With the right approach, incessant crying in a child would be reduced gradually. In any case, attempting to stop it abruptly through beating is grossly ineffective.

  • Uchenna N. Nduka