By Funmi Ajumobi
My experience of the way parents train their children when I had opportunity of travelling to the United State of America was totally different from the way Africans train their children. I was always annoyed with my host when his small boy of six years will do something wrong and instead of spanking him or warning him in a serious manner, he would just call him and pamper him and tell him it is not good and will later show him the right thing to do. In my eyes, it is sparing the rod and spoiling the child. My host noticed my reaction and he called me to explain that, it is how they train their children and they are better for it. It didn’t go down with me but I had to just adjust and get along.
It is recently, that I began to wonder at the rate some parents abuse these little ones just because they want to discipline them. How can a mother burn the hands of her child on stove because she ate noodles? How will a hard hearted father or guardian pour hot water on his child just because the child decided to wear a particular uniform that his guardian did not consent to? How can we explain a case where a father will be using cutlass to beat his 5-year- old boy?
Most parents don’t believe there is another way to get their child’s attention. After all, it’s our job to teach them, and how else can we get them to listen? The truth is that abusing their rights scare kids. It makes them harden their hearts to us.
If your child doesn’t seem afraid of your anger, it’s an indication that he’s seen too much of it and has developed defenses against it and against you. The unfortunate result is, a child who is less likely to want to behave. Whether or not they show it, our anger pushes kids of all ages away from us and as kids harden their hearts to us, they become more open to the pressures of the peer group. We lose our influence with them just when we need it most.
But believe it or not, there are homes where parents don’t raise their voices in anger at the children even in Nigeria. I don’t mean these parents have perfect children or have perfect parents but they are aware enough of their own emotions to stop and calm themselves so they don’t take it out on their kids.
In fact, the only way to become the parent you want to be is to “parent” yourself compassionately. That means learning to coach ourselves lovingly through our own emotions, so we don’t t.