I remember that the Children’s Sunday school of that day was particularly challenging. I was really bothered because I was going to teach children of ages between eight to eleven years a bible story in which a mother gave a nasty instruction to her daughter!
It was a story of how a child performed so excellently before her father’s guests that her father promised her a gift of her choice. Her father was ready to give her anything, even half of his kingdom. In her confusion, she went to her mother to guide her to choose rightly. Her mother utilised the opportunity to terminate the life of someone she was angry with. This woman told her daughter to request for the head of the person whose death she desperately wanted. Her daughter obeyed her and that person was beheaded.
The damages that are done to children through such vicious communication are quite enormous. It is usually difficult to correct an adult in respect of behaviour if he grew up believing that the wrong behaviour is right because he was introduced to it by parents or adults he looked up to for guidance. I believe that the spate of terrorism and communal clashes currently ravaging humanity may be connected to the indoctrination of children into evil by getting them involved in adult vendetta. This is a common channel of impurity that passionate parents should resist.
It is obvious that a healthy parenting relationship would achieve a good measure of purity in the parenting process because it has zero-tolerance for indiscipline and evil. In a healthy and pure parenting process, every interaction with the child is a practical learning activity. Also, every word a parent speaks should be a medium to communicate the virtues of love, hope, self-control, faith, humility, diligence and forgiveness. A resourceful parent ensures that godly virtues are packaged and expressed in every moment with children such as godly reactions to life challenges, bed-time stories, and instructions in righteousness.
Great and passionate parents should therefore utilise their position as instruments of positive personality formation in the lives of their children, to raise children who would give peace and not terror to humanity.
-Uchenna N. Nduka
I once observed a father who was very cantankerous with threats of aggression while he gave instructions to his ten-year-old boy. He was someone I could talk to, so when the child left, I engaged him in a discussion on the propriety of what he just did. I explained that over time, his child would be trained to respond only to the severity of such threats. I also mentioned that the development of his feelings, logical reasoning, conscience and communication skills would be stunted if he grows up to only respond to threats of violence. I went ahead to give him examples of how he could have given that boy the instructions firmly, peacefully and effectively. When he became convinced that what he did was wrong, he made a confessional statement.
“The problem I have is that I am too hot-tempered,” he said.
This statement opened up another dimension in our parenting discussion.
“Do you desire that your children would become hot-tempered?” I asked.
“No! You don’t have to ask. Of course I don’t!” was his instant response.
“Then you have to necessarily deal with issue of your temperament otherwise, your children will likely pick it, especially if you have a close parenting relationship with them,” I finally admonished.
Regular readers of the passion in parenting blog will recall that one of the hallmarks of a healthy parenting relationship is that parents are role-models of the discipline that they want to achieve in their children. Where a parent or any other person who plays prominent roles in a child’s parenting process portrays undesirable behavioural traits, he or she would become a channel of impurity into the parenting process. Purifying the parenting process will involve ensuring that the parenting environment and instruments are saturated with virtues that the child would feed on and are devoid of pollutants in the proper atmosphere of discipline.
All those who are involved in the divine parenting task should therefore prayerfully desire and work towards getting it right with themselves. The parenting process would become purer if parents would first do a sincere self-examination and be purged of all undesirable behaviour(s) so that they can truly model the right behavioural traits.
-Uchenna N. Nduka
Lucy had two daughters of ages five and seven years respectively. There were many other children in her neighbourhood. On a normal working day, she would wake up early enough to prepare breakfast for her family, get the children ready, drop them off at school and still strive to make it to her work place by 7.30am. Her official duties were so demanding that she would almost be exhausted as at the time she would arrive home in the evening with her children. Her children developed a regular pattern of always spending their leisure time either at the playground with their friends or in her neighbours’ houses.
Over time, Lucy relied on the fact that her children were engaged with their friends in the evenings and during weekends to utilise those periods to catch up with meetings and other social activities. She reasoned that the security man at the gate would ensure that the children would not wonder off while playing.
The children may gradually avoid Lucy and prefer the company of their friends and neighbours, while Lucy would unconsciously not devote time to her children in her daily routine in her bid to cope with work and other activities outside the home. This may be referred to as avoidance syndrome.This has become common in the face of increasing struggles by parents to make ends meet. There are parents in this category who prefer children to be in the boarding houses and at the same time move them to their relations’ houses during the holidays. It is a worrisome development to those who appreciate the rudiments of effective parenting.
A parenting relationship in such a situation will not be close and pure enough to achieve desired results. Lucy would likely not be in charge of the parenting process of her children. This inadequacy of parenting support from her would expose her children to acquiring whatever behavioural values that were available at the playground or in the homes they visit. There is also the tendency for her children’s faults and weaknesses to be exploited, mismanaged, exaggerated and reported to her. The children would also be exposed to physical and emotional abuse, especially, sexual abuse.
Parents in such a situation would be grappling with a lot of infiltration of undesirable values and norms. They, therefore, need to urgently purify the parenting process by taking full charge. They need to cut down on the activities that eat into the time available for the children. Children cherish the company of their parents.Passionate parents should schedule their leave periods when their children are on holidays. There should be time for play, rest, home work and other domestic work. Play time should be regulated. Parental presence is really needed in order to raise disciplined and balanced children.
Great parents relish each moment they spend with their children and make good use of it to establish desirable qualities in their character-formation processes.
-Uchenna N. Nduka
Some parents in my environment usually make this comment. “My children cannot obey instructions unless they see the cane.” The negative impact of this development would usually hit harder on posterity than the present generation. It implies that a generation of people who would only respond to force and not to give consideration to dialogue and conscience-driven communication processes in interpersonal relationships would be raised to take over governance and other sensitive leadership positions. This is a really pathetic situation.
It is note-worthy that individuals in parenting relationships are all human beings who may manifest depravity in various degrees and dimensions. On the other hand, wrong actions usually result in unfavourable consequences to all humans, both young and old. However, the wider experiences of parents, in logic and exposure to different life scenarios, position them better to think and act correctly. Children in healthy parenting relationships therefore have the opportunity, through imitational learning, guided practical life experiences and trust in God, to prefer and acquire positive attributes of love, hard work, honesty, discipline, moderation, self-control, godliness and selfless service to humanity. The consciences of children are alive and pure if they are guided quite early to understand the right and ubiquitous perspective of the reward of obedience and the rod of correction.
Ignorance has been the bane that has polluted the parenting processes with a lot of retrogressive practices. No wonder children are getting increasingly uncooperative and most parents are disillusioned that they are not getting the results they desire. The right time to purify the parenting process is therefore now. This will be the focus of our blog posts this year. Let’s keep reading!
Happy New Year!
Uchenna N. Nduka
The ability of a person to handle an offence by another person depends on the wisdom and maturity he or she is able to apply. Many relationships that would have flourished have been truncated by perceived wrongs that have been wrongly handled. Examples of such cases are found in failed marriages where a wrong reaction is given to an occurrence as a result of misunderstanding. This analogy is even truer in a parenting relationship where the parent who is the brace is expected to provide endless support to the weak child in all areas of the child’s development. A failed parenting relationship would leave the child without support, sometimes on the streets. Two wrongs indeed will not make right!
Sometimes, the zeal and haste to achieve the parenting targets would becloud parents’ perception of the extent of children’s respective abilities at performing different tasks. This issue may even be worsened by the fact that parents in families who associate closely have the tendency to approach parenting as if there is a competition on whose child is the best-behaved. These developments relegate further into oblivion the proper consideration of the respective unique personality dispositions and abilities of each child in the parenting process. This would, unfortunately, result in unrealistic expectations from children and set the stage for blunder-filled performances by them.
A child’s blunder is therefore a reminder that:
- Children are weak and still need physical, spiritual, emotional, social, and mental support.
- Parents should come closer, love more, talk more and listen more to their children to determine the exact nature and to what extent appropriate support should be provided.
- In the right atmosphere, the child would learn from the effects of his blunder. Our regular readers have understood that this is the ‘rod of correction’ and does not mean whip or corporal punishment.
- As the brace of endless love, parents should devote more time providing and allowing enabling environments and age-appropriate learning experiences. They should also guide, explain, pray and counsel children in order to gradually develop and improve on their abilities for rational judgement.
Happy new year to all passionate parents!
-Uchenna N. Nduka