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
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.
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.
- It could be blackmail. The children might be intimidated into concurring to perform evil acts with the blackmailers, like indulging in sexual activities.
- 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.
- 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.
- Children may be punished innocently.
- 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