There is a lot to learn from this parenting story.
This girl arrived in my house when she was about 12 years old. She was a child of an extended family member. Low self-esteem and inconsistency were palpable in her behavior. Her parents were known to be zealous on the use of verbal and physical aggression as disciplinary measures. So her background was such that her parents would usually make threats to coerce children into obedience.
She must have initially wondered at our assuring smiles and our mutual love which guided our actions and decisions. She was quite fast in adjusting to my home environment. She keyed in immediately into the relationship I had with my children. The children I had at that time were between four and six years.
Within a few weeks, her countenance became brighter. The anger and frustration in her communication became gradually reduced. She stopped expecting to be shackled into obedience with threats and aggression when she saw that no one was going to do that anymore. She really found a comfortable place in the atmosphere of discipline in my home.
Her father’s observation during a family reunion in our family house in the village a few months later was that she was no longer hot-tempered but was lovelier. Her father also observed that she was more malleable and happier. Her parents must have also wondered at how she could obey the instructions I humbly and calmly gave. The fact that my gentle disciplinary measures such as a frowning at a wrong behaviour or rebuke could work with her was beyond their comprehension.
The adoption of any parenting approach is a choice. The right and effective approach works well with children of all races, tribes, religion and background. It is never too late to embrace it.
-Uchenna N. Nduka