I often wonder how many of us parents actually talk to our children and hear the things they say to us. Living in Lagos or anywhere else in the world and juggling ten million other things with parenting is not an easy job. As a mother, from the time you’re up in the morning, it’s almost like you’re on a roller coaster till the children go to bed and even after that, you drop off to sleep yourself because you are exhausted.
In this rat race of life, a lot of things have suffered, especially family relationships and friendships. In the advent of the social media, real discussions have taken the back burner and have been replaced with bb messages and tweeting. While I welcome the introduction of technology, there are still something I hold sacrosanct like communication.
Children have so many gadgets to play with and it’s so easy to be caught up in their games or TV shows that they tend not to want to have conversations with their parents. The art of communication is something that has to be developed. You reap only what you sow; if you were a busy parent when your child was growing up, just sharing the basic formalities, either because they were still young or you thought they had nothing to say to you, how do you expect that when they are a bit older, they can confide in you about bigger issues. There hasn’t been any basis for real talk.
When I pick up my children after work, I’m fagged out. When I get into the house, I just want to hide away till dinner is ready. But my son, after taking a bath, instead of going down to play with his sister insists on staying with me. I have realised that this is an avenue for communication, so I ask him questions; who his friends are, what he likes to do, how he feels about different issues. I’ve learnt that there are moments called teachable moments. These are times when an avenue presents itself for a lesson to be taught. I try to seize those moments and pass a message across.
When children are young, it really seems like they say the silliest things and as they do. Sometimes, you are wondering if it’s not just a waste of time speaking to them and trying to bond. Their attention span is so short that it’s easy for them to bounce unto something else when you are still in Zone A. You’re not wasting time, what you’re doing is forging a bond. You are creating a safe haven for discussion. You are letting them know that you are involved in their world and they matter.
If this environment has been created, when the time comes to discuss real serious issues like sex, career or relationships, it becomes a bit easier. Like I stated earlier, communication is an art that has to be learned and developed over time. You cannot expect your children to open up to you about real issues if you have not invested the time and the art of conversation over the years.
So, start today. It doesn’t matter how old or young they are. It’s never too late to start building a bridge because if you want intimacy, you have to earn it.
Something about bad breath in the home