False Allegation against Children: The Bane of Healthy Parenting Relationship.

I watched through the door as a small girl of about five years went to deliver a message from her mother to the girl outside. The girl was a relation of theirs living with them who was about fourteen years old.

“Mummy said that you should give me the plate on top of the cupboard” said the little girl.

The recipient looked aggressively at her and rolled her eyeballs. The little girl stood in confusion, obviously wondering what next to do.

Suddenly the big girl stood up, walked in angrily and reported to my host that the little girl did not talk to her with respect.

Since I saw and heard what transpired between the two of them clearly, I identified it as a case of emotional violence against children using false allegation.

This is really an endemic problem in my part of the world because many families live with people who are either extended family members or domestic servants. Many parents have been burdened with futile struggles to get their children to ‘respect’ such people. I have seen cases where this kind of issue got very confusing, defying all corrective measures and resulting in violence against children

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A friend of mine complained about how stubborn her son had turned and how he talked insultingly to her relations living with them. On further inquiry, we realized that almost all those incidences of the claims against her children occurred when she was not at home. Therefore, we could not rule out the possibility of willful provocation of her children by her relations.

I advised her to talk more to her children, listen more to them and above all, create time to stay with them instead of leaving them with her relations who were obviously not happy with the children for whatever reason.

The next time I visited her, I met a family that was much happier than they were the last time I came. She said that her children were no longer acting out in frustration, but were more obedient and peaceful. She said that after meditating on my advice, she decided to relocate her relations to a separate apartment since they were all adults.

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Parents need to be watchful and apply caution when stories of wrong actions are told of their children. Children in unhealthy parenting relationships are more exposed to this form of aggression and the associated negative implications.

  1. It could be blackmail. The children might be intimidated into concurring to perform evil acts with the blackmailers, like indulging in sexual activities.
  2. The complainants may actually be struggling with resistance from the children because they are manifesting behaviours which are morally wrong or inconsistent with laid-down family values.
  3. This may degenerate to a situation where the children and the complainants keep secrets from parents to offer each other complementary ‘protection’. This is very harmful to the children and damaging to sustainable family values.
  4. Children may be punished innocently.
  5. The greatest regret of this development is its gradual destruction of the love and confidence in healthy parenting relationships.

Effective parenting is still the key for uncovering all hidden issue in child upbringing! Passionate parents talk with their children in confidence, listen to them patiently and spend quality time with them.

-Uchenna N. Nduka

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Allowing the Rod of Correction in Parenting: The Proper Way.

This form of argument I got involved in was a familiar one and the topic was one I have resolved never get tired of discussing until I take my last breath. The discussants were as dogged in their cultural belief as I was in my apostolic revival mode of same.

Among the discussants was a man whose eloquence was quite admirable. He gave reasons why he would continue with his parents’ methodology which he claimed had biblical support. To clarify the point he was making, he gave an instance where one of his sons came home with poor scores in mathematics in his end of term report card.

“I gave him the flogging of his life that day. I did not allow any interference from my neighbours. In fact, I made sure that the marks were so deep that they still showed boldly on his skin at the beginning of the following term” he recounted with a sense of accomplishment.

He went ahead to recall that he would always quote a bible reference to his child each time he embarked on such an activity. He quickly gave examples of the supporting bible references. His response when I asked him if the treatment he gave his child produced the desired pass mark in mathematics in the following term got me confused.

“What I know is that I will continue to do my part. If he decides to be a failure, that’s his business.” he said evasively.

At this point, I shared with them how another parent coped with a similar parenting experience.

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The mother recounted that at the end of every term, she would always take a detailed and studied look at the respective report sheets of her children, noting carefully the areas where they improved or dropped. Improvements would be commended, while regression would be immediately frowned at. Over the first few days of the holiday period, she would dig deeper into the reasons for any failure before deciding on the best approach to dealing with it.

On one of such occasions, she noticed that one of her children performed poorly in a mathematics examination. Her inquiry revealed that the mathematics teacher for the session was poor both in content and delivery. She, therefore, engaged a mathematics lesson teacher who revised all that the child was supposed to learn in that subject for the term that just ended.

God blessed her effort! Her child picked up very well during the following term, and continued to produce excellent results in mathematics for many years.

*************************************************************************************At this point, one of the discussants asked what the next course of action would have been if the child had failed to respond positively to the mother’s frown and the lesson teacher’s support. My response was that

  1. Parents should prayerfully and exhaustively provide as much support and guidance as they can.
  2. Parents should be guided properly to allow the rod of correction if the child fails in any promotion examination. The rod of correction is the harsh reality of any wrong behavior. In this context, allowing a child to repeat the class he failed, would serve as an effective rod to provide the required discipline in his academic works.

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The regular readers of Passion In Parenting posts are already aware that the biblical ‘rod of correction’ does not necessarily mean a cane or whip. This was the misconception which got the man in the first part of this story into the wrong and ineffective parenting approach. Reference should be made to our devotional post of December 12th, 2015 titled ‘Getting it Right with Discipline in Children: The Right Approach’ for more understanding on this topic.

 

  • Uchenna N. Nduka

Parents achieve great results during tough periods by getting closer to the child prayerfully.Parents achieve great results during tough periods by getting closer to the child prayerfully.

For parents who place high premium on the bond of love and confidence that they share with their children, family life is a lot easier. The home environment is relatively peaceful with both parents and their children striving hard to sustain the treasured equilibrium that is anchored on the faith in the divine union. Those who are in healthy parenting relationships would attest to how rosy it can really get.

But then nothing rosy in life is without moments of trials and temptation. No one should lose sight of the fact that parents as well as their children are ‘flesh and blood’ with disposition to fluctuations in emotions under the weight of the ever-evolving vicissitudes of life.

It can be an unemployment-induced anxiety and depression on the part of the parent, but if not prayerfully managed, especially with teenagers and young adults, the parenting relationship may deteriorate so much that children would begin to look for love outside the home. This has obvious security and safety implications.

I was moved by a parent’s account of how she almost drove her undergraduate daughter out of the house because of the wrong attitude the child developed. This mother recounted how her daughter would utilize every opportunity to boldly state her stand on issues and treat parental guidance with disregard.

“Can you imagine where a child would make a mockery of my rebuke and let me know that I made her angry by the fact of my interference or the way I presented an issue?” She recounted.

She said that on several occasions she used harsh words, slapped and compared her with her siblings and even pronounced God’s punishment on her daughter without any result. She said it really was very frustrating for her family because of their family tradition of love and closeness.

“I was so disturbed by the last of such scenes I witnessed that I broke down and cried. In my sorrow, I took a decision to do nothing other than get closer to her, while avoiding arguments, and pray privately for her.” She continued.

According to her, that was indeed the last of such ugly incidences because the problem became clearer when she got closer to her daughter. She showed more interest in her daughter’s medical challenge and then discovered that the negative emotions her daughter developed were part of the side effects of her daily drugs in medication.

There are many events of life that throw children off balance emotionally. They include divorce or separation of parents, death of one or both parents, failure to secure admission into a school, medication, adjustments necessitated by dwindling finances of parents, and peer pressure. The worst thing that can happen is that a parenting relationship would give way as a result of a challenge which both parents and children should treat as a common enemy if there is proper communication and right parenting skills.

Parenting Lessons

  1. Every great parent should always remember to get closer to the child each time any parenting challenge gets tough. Parents should give no thought to separation from the child because it will definitely make the situation worse.
  2. Prayer works! (Phil. 4:6)

 

  •  Uchenna N. Nduka