-The Travails of Parenthood – Your Child Your Crown (Part 2)-
Let your child be free to talk with you and express himself/herself about how he/she feels. This is more difficult to do when the kids are still young, as more patience is required on the part of the parent. A lot of us parents are impatient and would rather interrupt and pounce on the child the moment he or she begins expressing him or herself. Our socialization where a child is not supposed to speak much does not help matters in this regard. However, when we are conscious of our desire to bring out the best in the child, we behave differently.
We may ‘pump’ money and provide for them in abundance, however, material provision does not take the place of parental love and guidance. Hence, children should not be left alone to figure out the world around them, or leave them to bring up themselves, so to say. They will not get it right. Guidance is required.
The number of children also matters in all these. When children become many or get beyond your capacity to handle, this causes strain and stress on the parents/guardian. Of course, no number of children will be mentioned here because as parents, our hearts for children, our level of patience, resources and orientation differ. As a parent, I may have patience for two or three kids, but lack what it takes to follow up closely with five or six kids. Whereas, some other parent may do better with that much kid due to background, experience, orientation, with or without availability of enough resources. Nonetheless, the important thing is to acknowledge that irrespective of the number, you need to be able to accompany each of the kids emotionally, physically, academically, spiritually and otherwise.
Among other things, knowing your child psychologically means a lot. Has he/she had experiences that have weakened him/her mentally, emotionally and/or have had an impact on his/her self-esteem? Does your child have issues such as anxiety disorders, excessive shyness or intense feelings of insecurity? These are psychological scars that can mark a child for life if these are not detected early. With reading the right books and application of God’s wisdom, parents too can learn how to help their children develop self-confidence, good self-esteem and indeed help their kids feel secure.
In our modern education, so much academic pressure is put on young children to excel. This is particularly prevalent in many private nursery and primary schools. Doing well in studies is not a bad thing for our children, but it becomes a problem when class positions are used to taunt kids when results are issued by the school. In addition, do not force your child to follow a particular line of study, career or profession. Else they may, for example, get a certain degree and leave it for you. It may please you, but may not add to their sense of achievement and fulfillment.
Interact with and study your child closely. And this applies equally to fathers, mothers or guardians. How the teenage years go would depend a lot on what has been, largely, in the earlier formative years. The teenage years could be turbulent with the teenager rebelling or questioning what he/she may have been taught. Other times it may just be that they too now have their opinions and so want to explore what they think. A great way to accompany any age is speaking reasonably to them. Believe me, they get it in their own way. If you take the time and patience to sit a teenager down and engage in dialogue from time to time, such rapport does magic. Best still if they have grown up with this style of interaction, they quickly learn that their thoughts and what they do with it matter.
The important thing is to acknowledge that
irrespective of the number, you need to be able to
accompany each of the kids emotionally, physically,
academically, spiritually and otherwise.
Spend time with your child. Sometimes parents are so busy with work, business, and career to the detriment of their wards. Today when there is much talk about the empowerment of the girl child, it seem as though the boy child is being left behind. But the question is” “Who is doing the leaving behind?” If mothers and women in the society are taking the trouble to nurture, give domestic training to and mentoring girls, why are the men not doing the same?
Are fathers and brothers there to nurture and mentor their sons/brothers? Or do they leave the women to do what they should be doing – showing the boys what it entails to be a man in today’s society? Of course you can only give what you have. As a man, what values and legacy would you be passing on to your son(s). Would it be your absence from the home? Or your material provision without creating time for your family? Or even non-provision for the family? Is it beating their mother? Or engaging in fraudulent and corrupt practices? You may think the child is too little to see, but eventually, a child can tell who his/her father really is or really was.
Parenting is personal effort, but God’s grace
and wisdom is largely needed too.
(To be continued on – Part 3)
- Linda Ellah
See Related Posts: The Travails of Parenthood (Part 1)