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

my-phone-463

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

 

Anniversary Flashback: The Journey so Far

On the 12th of November last year, the burden I have always had became so heavy that I could no longer bear it. On many occasions, I have had reasons to stop on the road to intervene where children were being brutalised at the full glare of other adults who were usually unperturbed. It was no longer enough spotting and stabilising children who almost took to the streets instead of facing their parents/guardians because money realised from the sales of the day were incomplete. Although I was encouraged by the result of the little effort made on those occasions when I reached out to families with wrong parenting practices in my neighbourhood whose stories changed from resentment and stubbornness to mutual love and obedience, I always desired to reach out to more parents. I was no longer satisfied with counselling children in school and in the church on how to cope with and live positively with domestic violence. It was obvious that I needed to do more than just cry each time the ugly stories of brutalised children were told.

At the time that this blog commenced, I only desired improvement in our parenting skills, but was not sure of what I was going to write. I chose not to rely on my experience and qualification as a registered teacher in the school or my training and experience as a children worker in the church because I have seen many people with higher educational qualifications supporting the futile aggression towards children which has only helped to produce unstable personalities. I need to clarify that the educational principles I was exposed to were sound and did not support senseless use of corporal punishment on children. I am yet to come to terms with why teachers still cling to wrong cultural practices even with their professional certificates.   I was only persuaded that God was able to clarify parenting issues. I therefore relied on the inspiration and revelation that God would provide.

Isn’t it wonderful how much our parenting skills have improved over the past one year? Now the following issues have been clarified:

  1. It is not true that children should be flogged before they learn a lesson. Without legislative prohibition, flogging children is a personal choice and not a necessity. Passionate parents who have effective parenting skills have achieved great results without flogging their children.
  2. Every great parent should always remember to get closer to the child each time any parenting challenge gets tough. Parents should give no thought to separation from the child because it will definitely make the situation worse.
  3. Parents should firmly make it clear early in parenting relationships that crying will never be allowed to stampede them into taking sub-optimal decisions and actions. It is in fact a weakness on any parent’s part to be coaxed into wrong decisions and actions just because the child will cry. Principled firmness is required to instill discipline in children. Children whose parents are quick to make compromises and yield to pressure from such crying tend to employ the strategy to bring their own childish will to bear on most issues.
  4. Is it not therefore obvious that the illusory atmosphere of discipline, achieved with the belligerent parenting approach, would likely have difficulty aligning with the child’s enduring personality traits?      Is it then not vanity for one to toil for ‘discipline’ that would vanish when the child is a few steps away? Should we not rather adopt the better approach that achieves real discipline which the child is able to apply on all issues of life at all times as he gradually matures, irrespective of whether or not the parents are present?
  5. Effective parenting is the preferred option for achieving enduring discipline in children because it focuses on properly guided and gradual cognitive development which is anchored on love, patience and good conscience. It should be learnt and adopted fully in all parenting methods and relationships.
  6. 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.
  7. In a healthy parenting relationship, the flow of communication between parents and their children is filled with love, patience, empathy and sound logic. Here, children are raised to be lovely, intelligent and conscientious.
  8. As parents, we should really be committed to protecting children from harm and danger so that they will gradually mature, but, sometimes, the imperatives of our responsibility towards them may require that we allow the rod of discipline. That is, we would stand aside to allow them the right measure of exposure to the harsh reality of their choices and actions. The biblical ‘rod of correction’ does not necessarily mean a cane or whip. An example is to ensure that they repeat the class when they fail their exams.
  9. It should be recalled that the turning point is that point in the parenting process when the parenting efforts at correcting a child become obviously ineffective and generate feelings of resentment between the child and the parent. It is called a turning point because it is a point at which the need for re-strategising becomes very obvious for the desired target of achieving discipline to be realised.
  10. Parents achieve their parenting targets when their desires are right. It is wrong for parents to desire commendation from neighbours and relations on how much efforts they make through the physical and emotional abuse of their children in the name of disciplinary measure. Ironically, such parents struggle more with indiscipline in children!
  11. This is not implying that children are angels. No, they are not. But it is a parenting blunder to call or describe children by their faults, weaknesses or past mistakes. It will yield no positive result, but would rather worsen any parenting case since children usually develop into what they are called or how they are described. For instance, a child who is always called a dunce because he failed an examination would likely not make good grades as long as he is called this name.
  12. The first thing to do at the turning point is to discontinue with the approach that has been ineffective. It should be recalled, from our recent posts, that the next will be to prayerfully get closer, listen more and talk more with the child. This closer interaction will create a cordial atmosphere that would properly position the parent to get a clearer understanding of the child’s feelings and actions so that support can be provided in the right direction.
  13. Parents should be visibly positioned in the lives of their children to censor the closeness of any one with the children, especially those who have sorts of pet names for the children such as ‘my darling’,’ my wife’ and ‘my husband’
  14. Application of good correction skills:

When a child continues to err on a particular issue, parents should first meditate deeply and consider comprehensively all factors at play in the child’s situation that could have contributed to the child’s behaviour. Parents should always remember to prayerfully get closer, talk more and listen more to the child before deciding of the best approach to correcting him or her.

In correcting children, parents should communicate love, logical reasoning, fear of God and the avoidable negative consequences of wrong actions.

It really takes the redeeming power of God to deal effectively with the depravity of man. (Romans 7:24). My personal experiences have proved the efficacy of God’s word and prayer in the correction of wrong behaviour in children.

Parents should not be too hasty in expecting result when correcting a child. A skilled parent should follow up closely on the child, rewarding every little improvement with love, hope and faith.

  1. Avoidance of pollutants to the right atmosphere of discipline:

Efforts at correcting children would not yield the desired result and would excite sibling jealousy if children who manifest wrong behaviours are condemned, hated, resented, called names, debased, compared with their siblings and told they would never get anything right. These and other wrong and ineffective approaches parents apply in correcting children were discussed in our post of 7th January, 2016 in the Reflections category titled ‘Pollutants to the Right Atmosphere of Discipline’. They should all be avoided.

  1. Prayer works!

 

I was really refreshed during my search for these principles in the blog archive. It will be nice if we all go through the archive as part of the anniversary activity.

passioninparenting@wordpress.com                                                                                                       …improving parenting skills.

 

  • Admin