Switching from a Yelling Parent to a Chatting One: A Process and not an Event!

My interaction with Andrew, a disciple of the effective parenting approach is worth sharing. Andrew grew up in an environment in which bullying was the predominant parenting tool in the homes, schools and society. Expectedly, he commenced its application immediately his first child arrived. He believed that he had to necessarily drum instructions into a child’s ears in order to achieve results. He therefore started yelling at his first daughter even before she started talking.

“It was really frustrating because most times I had to scream my head off or use the whip to get my children to obey simple instructions” Andrew confessed.

“At first when my wife and I got tips on how to effectively raise disciplined children, we thought they weren’t going to work for our children. In fact, my first attempt at talking to my children with my ‘chatting’ voice was like a joke to them. I didn’t get the result I wanted because they thought I was not serious!” He further explained.

Andrew said that he explored more learning opportunities on effective parenting strategies and achieved improvement in his parenting skills. Eventually, he and his wife were able to gradually withdraw bullying and abusive parenting practices and replaced them with the preferred ones. Over a period of time, his children understood and embraced the improved parenting relationship he introduced. His children are becoming increasingly responsive to his chatting voice and instructions. It is a big relief to Andrew that the era of always talking harshly when relating with his children is over.

Parents should never yield to the discouraging thought or argument that a decent and effective parenting practice will not work in their homes. The reality is that children helplessly react or adjust to whatever approach parents adopt, and can always adapt to any change. How swiftly children will adapt to a change to improved parenting approach will depend on how much parenting skill and knowledge parents have acquired.

The window of learning should never be shut as far as parenting is concerned. Parents should keep learning, practising and sharing the preferred and more effective approach.

 

-Uchenna N. Nduka

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His life would have been happier and more fruitful if only…

I knew John as a worker in one of the primary schools my children attended a long time ago. He was always actively involved with musical events in that school.  He was the one who was always in charge of the musical equipment and public address system. The radiance and fulfilment on his face each time he worked with the children was what attracted me to him.

He told me that he was also performing that role in two other schools. He was working on a musical album with some children and had other albums in the pipeline which he was very passionate about. He said that his love and talent for music manifested in all that he did from his childhood days.  His regret was that he could not be employed by any of the schools as a music teacher because he had no academic qualification in Music. He said that he had a university degree in Engineering.

I told him that I was surprised that his talent for music and passion for teaching it to children were not given consideration in his choice of the course he studied in the university.He said that it was difficult to convince people around him when he made his career choice that music was a lucrative career. When I asked him this one question I always ask people with such talent/passion versus academic qualification inconsistency, I got the same answer I always get.

“If it were possible to turn back time so that you can have another opportunity to make your choice of a university course, which one will you choose engineering or music?” I asked.

“I will choose to study music” was his solemn and resolute reply.

Optimal career choices are made if people are developed along career paths that they are cut out for. Every career has unique opportunities, challenges and rewards. Without passion, unnecessary emphasis is placed on reward to the detriment of career fulfilment. For a person whose career is properly blended with his/her talent and passion,

  • Career opportunities are easily identified and harnessed.
  • Passion and competence provide the inner strength to cope with every career challenge.
  • Financial reward is achieved in addition to the higher reward of innate satisfaction for accomplishing the essence of life.

Parents should therefore be properly guided when providing support to their children in the area of career choices.

-Uchenna N. nduka

Common Scenes in Violence Endemic Environments: A Potential Challenge to World Peace

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

Increasing Accusation of Gang-up of the Children and Mums against the Dads: Are there Solutions?

I was in a discussion session on the role of mothers in the home. The mothers were vehemently criticised and admonished on areas that improvement was expected. Towards the end of the discussion, a question was asked on why mothers “gang up” with their children against their fathers. All the contributors ended up strongly expressing their feelings on what they termed evil deeds by the mothers. It was condemned in strong terms and the only solution they proffered was that mothers should repent from their sins.

Well, a comprehensive approach to any issue would always produce better results. Proper diagnoses would deeply analyse and give attention to every possibility. In interpersonal relationships generally, factors that determine whether a person will get close or avoid another person include the love and care he receives from that person, the availability of peaceful personal interaction and his/her perception of that person from the comments that others make about him.

I have had real-life experiences of the attitudes and feelings of fathers, mothers and children in families where such accusations were made and my observations are as follows:

  1. Children get closer to the parent who is more available and responsive to their needs. Mothers, especially the stay-at-home ones have all the time to care for their children. This is why most children tend to be closer to their mothers. This does not necessarily imply that they are not close to their dads. It is just that they are closer to their mums. Ordinarily, this is harmless to the dads. It does not imply a gang-up by the mothers!
  2. Children get closer to the parent who is more skilled in the parenting function. The traditional role of a father in our environment, as the police who receives reports of offences by the children, and metes out punishment, has worsened this situation. The little time the dads have with their children are spent in agony and pain. When children in this situation resent and avoid their dads, it is not a gang-up by the mums. Great dads can still correct and guide their children using effective parenting skills.
  3. Children get closer to parent whom they perceive as fair to the other parent, especially in situations where there are marital conflicts. The perceptions of the children concerning marital squabbles by their parents are influenced by what they see as well as the parent’s comments about each other. For instance, words of commendation and praise by a mother for her spouse will encourage the children to get closer to him, while negative comments will discourage them. Also wife-battering and lack of attention for a wife by her husband will create negative sentiments by the children towards their dads. In peaceful homes, children should ideally be close to both parents.

Fathers who are anxious about children getting closer to their wives should just translate their anxiety to action by creating time for their children. It is necessary that dads also partake in feeding the children, bathing them, taking them to school and bringing them back, assisting in their school homework, buying their books and clothes, visiting them in their schools, reading bed-time stories and so on. Dads that excite peaceful and purposeful relationship with their children will always enjoy enduring close relationship with them.

-Uchenna N. Nduka

Children Hitting Each Other Angrily at the Slightest Provocation is a Danger Sign for Posterity

My firm belief that I can be in control of my Sunday school class without holding a whip has always worked with children of different backgrounds. The efficacy of this belief has been severally tested especially when I visited or relocated to new environments. Therefore, my response to the caution that “You will need a whip to control the children in this environment” would always be that it is not necessary to do so. One would not need a whip if he/she prayerfully applies the right skill or approach.

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.

My explanation that the perceived offences could have been communicated without hitting the offender sounded strange to most of the children. In fact one of them told me that if he didn’t hit the one who offended him the person would not understand that what he did was wrong. I have had very similar explanation from parents when they justify aggressive parenting approaches.  It was really unfortunate that children at such tender ages had such wrong belief etched in their minds! What kind of personalities would such children develop when they became adults? Is it then a surprise that communities and nations are gradually being wiped out by terrorism?

There is really a very urgent need for everyone who is bothered by the spate of violence across the globe to be involved in promoting the purification of the parenting process by eliminating all aggressive practices. Peace is achievable in every human community through the effective and violent-free parenting approach.

  • Uchenna N. Nduka

Happy Anniversary with All Passionate Parents

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The Passion in Parenting blog celebrates one year of  engaging in the divine assignment of improving parenting skills. I believe we are gradually achieving the desired improvement. I am happy about the progress we are making.

Those who can’t still do without the cane and other forms of corporal punishments should first embrace the effective parenting skills and every other thing will fall into place. The reality is that the more resourceful and skilled a parent is, the less tendency for him or her to rely on threats and punishments in the parenting process.

I am grateful to all blog followers, friends and visitors. You are all important in the vision of improving parenting skills in your respective communities, states, religious groups and countries. We will soon get to know ourselves more.

Happy Anniversary! Parenting skills are indeed improving!

  • Uchenna N. Nduka