Scene one I was driving along a busy road when I saw a young woman angrily dragging along a boy of about five years who was screaming hysterically. I horridly packed my car when I observed that she was still giving him several strokes of her cane. I pleaded with her to tell me what the problem was. Her allegation was that the child was careless! The shoes he wore when they left home could no longer be found because he lost them as they trekked along that road! He was therefore careless and deserved to be severely punished! The thoughts of the possibility that the lost shoes were too big for his legs and the fact that the shoes might have been lost in his struggle to catch up with the pace at which his mum was moving flashed through my mind. Although I was new in that environment then, I understood that the incidence was a normal occurrence since the people around were all unperturbed.
Scene 2 (culled from the passion in parenting post of 26th Feb, 2017) I was with a class of children aged between three and nine years. I relocated newly to that environment at that time. The class was in progress and effectively controlled when my attention was suddenly taken away from the class by a pressing issue. Just in ten minutes, about one-third of the children in the class were hitting each other with angry fists!
I took time to ask some of them why they were fighting. They all had one flimsy excuse or the other to justify why the other person deserved to be beaten. I was initially confused and was not exactly sure of the sources of that pollution. It was obvious that the children learnt physical aggression as a method of conflict resolution from the environment they grew in. It became clearer when I later understood how much the children were exposed to very aggressive parenting processes. It was a free-for-all situation. Parents, school teachers, church teachers, neighbours, bigger siblings, other relations and in fact every adult was free to hit children at anytime for whatever reason.
Scene Three I could barely see through the mammoth crowd. The incidence which attracted the crowd was a common one. Two adults were engaging each other in a serious fight because one was provoked by a traffic offence committed by the other. One of the two fighters slumped and became unconscious.
One thing that is common to the three scenes above is the resort to violence as the only means of communication and conflict resolution. Terrorism is currently wiping out many communities. As Nigeria celebrates children this week, all lovers of children are still concerned with the protection of children against violence and other harmful practices which truncate proper and gradual development and etch violence and sadism in the hearts and minds of the future generation.
Effective parenting seminars should be organised for parents by churches, schools, communities, NGOs, other religious groups and everyone as Nigeria celebrates children’s day on the 27th May, 2017. Everyone should speak out and condemn violence against children whenever it is observed.
Violence and bullying undermine the proper personality growth process of children, and pollute their eventual interpersonal relationship skills, while effective and positive parenting develops them properly to withstand the ever evolving challenges of life.
Happy Children’s day in Advance Nigeria
-Uchenna N. Nduka