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