• Saturday, July 13, 2024
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BusinessDay

Parenting 101

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I am blessed with six of my own birth children including a set of twins. I am lucky to have them but I am even luckier to have many adopted children all over the world; people who look up to me, people who believe I have inspired them. Young persons who if they did not belong to others could quite easily have been mine.

Note must be made that when you mentor persons, they literally become part of your family. You look out for them, you encourage them, you are happy for them and you sorrow with them. When they achieve and become successful, you celebrate and feel a sense of accomplishment. Mentoring is as enjoyable as it is liberating. It is hard work but it is worth it. It’s pretty much like a parenting as well as a teaching role.

Parenting is a special place whether you are the one benefitting or you are the one looking after another.

I have been blessed to have the most awesome parenting myself and I am never tired of paying tribute to Mr and Mrs Alfred and Josephine Amodu for giving me everything I need to survive a world which is becoming increasingly difficult. They gave me tough love, loved me as all parents should, but also never lied to me about how harsh the world out there can be. They gave me everything but more than anything else, they allowed me to fly, opened up creative opportunities and gave me education.

On top of all of this, they gave me discipline. Without discipline, I may have ended up differently. It was from my mother I first heard the saying “Let her cry, it won’t kill her”. At the time, I thought it was mean and uncaring but she made us understand that if you cried as hard as you wanted it would not change the fact that she had said no to a request you made or a demand which to her was unreasonable. You could not want what her friend’s daughter had if she could not afford it. So my mother will tell you straight up she could not afford it. It did not matter if you cried. She would still tell you she could not afford it in a nice comforting way. But if you chose to continue crying, she would then ignore you and carry on with her life.

If you wanted something that your friend had and it was bought in China and was unavailable in Nigeria, even if she could afford it, she would advice that you asked for something else and if you did not take heed, she will leave you to your devices. As I always say, I grew quite close to my mother and understood her completely. Nobody loved us quite as much as she did, apart from my father that is, but we all knew when she was no longer playing. Witty, funny, loving, she was also one of the world’s tough disciplinarians. She would cook everything for you when you were sick and stay by your bedside in tears but she was also quick to scold you in times of no ill health if you did not greet properly.

Today I understand where she was coming from more than ever before. I see parenting on its head especially among young people and even with my contemporaries.

LET’S TAKE SAMPLES

What manner of parent allows their 16 year old child drive a car?

Why does that child have a stranglehold on his parents in a super market? I want Lollipop, the parents get it, bicycle- Sorry now, don’t cry, we will buy it next time, and then he falls on the ground and throws a tantrum.

What kind of parents allows a child cry down a shop until he/she gets what he/she wants?

What manner of parents allows their children to live in their house without lifting a finger?

What kind of parenting breeds children who do not ask about their parents and yet they live in their parents’ home rent free and eat free food?

What type of parent says embarrassingly when a child is misbehaving, “Don’t mind him, this is how he used to do?”

What parent allows a two year old drink alcohol? Oh my God!

What kind of mother sneaks girls into her 16 year olds room, smiling shyly and saying “I want him to be a man.”

What manner of parent gives a seven year old a gift of $10,000 on his birthday and expects the child to be normal?

What kind of parent is unable to rein his child in so much so that every teacher in the school recognises him as a thug and a bully?

Honestly parenting is part of our problem in Nigeria. Today’s parents are not inculcating discipline, selflessness or hard work. We are therefore grooming future thugs, armed robbers and advance fee fraudsters. I am not asking you to be mean to your kid just instil some discipline.

Thank you!

Eugenia Abu