Train a child the way he should go and make sure you also go the same way – African proverb
“Set a good example. Like it or not, you’re a role model for your child. If you want to teach your child that being inflexible won’t help resolve conflicts or problems, then don’t be rigid yourself. Remember, yelling is nothing more than a grown-up temper tantrum. Is that really the kind of example you want to set for your child? Is that the way you want your child to remember you?”
Setting a good example is definitely a powerful parenting tool. The point I am trying to make is what parenting style used to be when I was growing up.
Parenting has changed tremendously from when I was growing up to now that I have kids.
Those days parents were parents first and friends later, your action determines what they are at a given moment. They had a certain degree of control over the child.
An angry or mischievous look from your mother or a strict NO from your father means NO. Anything the child wants or utters is not automatically given but earned.
Let me paint you a scenario;
Child: father i want a bicycle.
Father: i will think about it for now face your studies and pass your exams
Child: OK sir (and immediately returns to whatever he was doing)
Now fast forward to a home today, with both parents engrossed on their phones or laptops and children glued to the television.
Child: Daddy i want a new tablet.
Father: you already have one why do you need another?
Child: (child begins to grumble, some role on the floor, some throw stuffs at the parents and so on)
Father: OK. OK let me see what i can do.
At this point you might think am visualizing a movie scene, but it’s the reality of most homes today.
The truth is while we were growing up everything you get you EARN IT, so such second scene might be frightening.
If the child is asked to get a cup of water from the fridge or buy something from the kiosk downstairs, he dares not refuse nor complain. When it was time for PTA parents scolded their wards for bad performance, not teachers. The child had a sense of fear and respect for both his parents and elders.
In my opinion, parenting is not giving a child everything they want, it is not being your child’s friend, it is about preparing them to become responsible, useful, and respectful to themselves and society.
Ironically these days parents try to develop friendship relationships more than that a parent. Am not insinuating it’s a wrong thing to do, but here should be a proper time for both.
These days the moment the child utters his needs the parents are in a rush to fulfill his needs, all for the fear of losing their “friendship” what we don’t realize is that more harm we are causing than good. There is a proper time for everything.
A time when the child is big enough to understand what is right and what is wrong. I remember growing up I had assigned chores that had rewards and punishments. I was responsible for sweeping the compound, refilling water bottles, making my bed folding clothes, and so on. Everything was in order, I get praises and prayers sometimes gifts, and get punished for failure without good excuses when they fail.
This was how we learned the values of hard work. Now parents are scared of their children, the order is given by the children for the parents to follow.
How do we expect the child to learn to value things when everything is served to him on a platter of gold?
How will he respect others if he has no respect for his parents?
How does he become responsible if he fusses and makes faces every time he is told to do little house chores and doesn’t get scolded for that?
How does he, is the question I want us to answer. “Children should have enough freedom to themselves-once they have learned the rules” Anna Quindlen.
So, ask yourselves in the process of becoming that ‘trendy, down-to-earth, modern, cool parent, what damage are you causing your child’s personality?
The time to become that friend and give them all the freedom they need will come once they grow and mature, but now is the time to teach them values of hard work, responsibilities, self-reliance, respect, earning rewards, and above all love and kindness.
Do not forget as your child grows through the path called life, they will encounter many who will expose them to something good and something bad, as parents it is your responsibility to make a good human out of your child.