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
- Efforts should always be made to ensure that children are always under proper parenting care and support until they are matured.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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