On a serious note, parenting and taking care of children is no joke, not always fun but never will it be found in the list of worst jobs ever. Comparing the past and present trends of child upbringing in Africa, each dispensation had its own ups and downs. But generally speaking, I think there are things that are unhealthy for efficient parenting in Africa. Things that have exceeded the borders of discipline, care and concern to something else. Sometimes it’s not just the disciplinary aspect but the pressure and confusion of not knowing what to do and how to address a certain situation.
For as long as parenting is concerned, there will be different strokes for different folks, there’s no formula, you just try studying and understanding the people you are working with, their temperaments and hopefully devise a means of communicating with them. For the 21st century, it will be nice to acknowledge and accept that time has changed and as such, there is the need to make adjustments in the method of bringing children up, rigidity might not go down well all the time while laxity in the guise of flexibility(convention) might even do more harm. More than giving them names they will be forced to change when they grow, there are things that you don’t want to do to an African child, here are some parenting tips for free:
1. Public Embarrassments
No one likes to be embarrassed, how much more in the public; and just because they are children doesn’t make it okay to publicly ridicule them. When parents call their children some mushy names in front of their friends, it doesn’t always go down well, imagine what the feeling now is when you call them derogatory names in front of their school mates, friends, family friends, external relatives or even core strangers. I don’t know what you heard but African children do have ego and emotions.
2. Cursing Your Children
Verbally abusing and cursing your children is one of the worst things you can do to your children. People have different temperaments, and as your children, you owe it them to know what each of them is, that will help you know how best to relate with them. What a sanguine takes lightly might not be the same for the choleric, therefore, it’s safer not to take up the habit in the first place. I mean if you consider it, there’s hardly any good that comes out of it. In extreme cases, these children grow to be the exact same way their parents were. With some sort of psychological bruise, they do not only become abusive, they battle with low self-esteem and struggle with the confidence to face life. Try not to curse your kids, bless them instead, tell them good stuff, it helps beyond compare.
3. Punishing Without A Reason
When children misbehave, they definitely need to be reprimanded and penalized for it. However, punishing them without a prior or later explanation is not a good pattern. You don’t want to be the breeder of angry children or your children seeing you as wicked; so just explain to them what it is they have done wrong. Tell them, they need to know before you met out disciplinary measures on them,that way the education is complete.
Expecting children to be more mature than nature permits, makes them grow diversely faster than you want them to; the outcome is not always so cool. Life takes time to complete its purpose on people. You don’t get perfect in just a day, it takes time, so when you are dealing with children of different ages, it is safe to do that with a lot of patience and love. They will make mistakes, they will fall and get it wrong more often than not, but it’s all a healthy part and parcel of the process of growing up. You know what they say, Patience is key.
4. Not Listening
Even the rule of law, permits a fair hearing for everyone. Children have a voice and even if you know what they are going to say, don’t shut them up indiscriminately, listen anyway, you might find a pattern that needs to be addressed. Life is so ironical that we assume we know people and all of a sudden all we really know about them are the things we assumed we knew about them. As the day goes by, change is taking place whether we know it or not. If you really love your kids, then you must know that it is unkind not to give them a listening ear; a chance to relay some things to you, no matter how trivial or nonsensical. You might not believe it but sometimes children just want to talk to you and if they can’t have your audience, then they are just going to find it somewhere else.
5. Giving Up On Your Child
To trust means to believe and respect your children and all they represent. In cases of doubt, why not let the first option be to give them the benefit of the doubt. Having belief in your children makes them feel great and unstoppable. Literally tell them you believe in them and act like you mean it and see if they would not want to do you proud. Your trust and belief in them is capable of pulling them back from the temptations of straying away from the good path. Even if they are not turning out as you wished, never stop believing and telling them they’ve got potentials, because in truth, they do, we all do, it’s only taking a longer time for things to fall into place. Never give up on your children or any one for that matter.
7. Fighting Before Them
Take your issues away from their presence, it is super wrong and in fact a crime of the highest order to fight, argue harshly and attack each other in the presence of the children. Early exposure to violence will do a lot of harm in their psyche, and just because the other party isn’t your spouse does not equally make it okay. Fighting is bad, let’s teach them that in practical terms.
9. Spare The Rod Syndrome
“Spare the rod…” expression is one of the most violated and misunderstood scripture that I have come across. Indiscipline is not negotiable at all, never should be spared. Nonetheless, it is not wise to flog children like wild animals because they are not. Parenting comes with a lot of bright sides and crazily dull sides. Sometimes you literally want to kill them but can you? Will you? Never throw the baby away with the bath water. Take your time, if you react more spontaneously to their misdeeds, maybe this is the time to first go into your room, shut your door, say a little prayer and plan a long-term punishment that will definitely show them the other side of being a smiling bugs bunny.
8. Not Celebrating Their Success
Every inch of their success could and should be celebrated; by this I don’t mean throwing a billion dollar party each time something good happens. It could be small, like super small as long as you show them that it is worth recognizing. Such practices are enough to encourage them to do more for the future. Please celebrate their birthdays as much as your pocket can carry, you must not pay a fortune to throw a mini party, with the knowledge of some food skills (which either saves or earns you money on the larger scale), you can have an affordable and memorable occasion. Improvisation meets love and wonders begin to happen.
10. Not Being Supportive
You have no idea how it hurts to have the title of being the last to leave the school premises on daily basis. It’s bad enough school fees might be delayed by unforeseen factors but when it extends into other similar occasions like missing their PTA meetings, school functions and worse of all missing out on their school performances, it becomes an issue to be taken seriously. Actually some children do better when they know mum and dad are in the audience clapping and cheering for them, or at least taking pictures and making videos of them. Showing regular support for your children in terms of talent discovery and development; and other activities of interest to them will only make them confident to pursue their goals with all confidence and proud to have you as a parent or a guardian. That’s a win-win situation if you ask me.