• Wednesday, June 19, 2024
businessday logo


Challenges in parenting and raising children for Nigerians

Challenges in parenting and raising children for Nigerians

Getting modern day heroes depends on parenting. Raising great kids in a troubled world is a big challenge. Many people who have climbed to the heights of loving parents in Nigeria are at this time getting confused, facing a risk or at the verge of falling out. R H. Headlee observed, ‘Most people think too small, aim too low, and quit too soon.’ You may find it difficult to get your child to submit and obey you which hinges on the style of parenting.

“Parenting styles are heavily influenced by cultural beliefs and values. In the Western world, some of the Nigerian parents have been imprisoned because of their son.”

Daddy, Mummy, Popsi, Momsi, Paapa, Ma’am, are all earned accolades. The task of parenting is one of the greatest responsibility facing a man. Many people are advised to marry earlier in order to shoulder the struggles when they still have strength. Some parents are gritting their teeth, slugging it out and trying to do better but they didn’t start on time.

Dr Maxwell Maltz says, ‘You are a champion in the art of living if you reach only 65 percent of your goals. The rank and status of parents poses a big challenge in a period of recession, inflation, hardship and suffering. If you have a placid, agreeable, and compliant child who enjoys school, homework, and doing household chores, then you are lucky. Many of us, however, are given assertive, strong-willed kids with their own agendas.

These kids know what they want, and when and how to get it. Parenting styles are heavily influenced by cultural beliefs and values. In the Western world, some of the Nigerian parents have been imprisoned because of their son. Still, some blacks in Uk and America have been killed trying to raise a great kid while some were forced to relocate because of their children.

In northern Nigeria, there’s a system of child rearing called Almajiri – not included as a model or conventional method of raising children. Investment in children is an investment in their future and well-being. Parents are like a leading horse from which the followers set their pace. Indecision, compromise, lack of courage to do what is right, giving in to pressure groups, fear of losing favour or position, too weak to stand for the truth have marred the parenting modules.

Right from the first day of birth, Jochebed saw something in Moses, hid him for three months against the decree of the pagan king. Parents especially mothers need to be sensitive, perceptive in order not to throw away a goodly child into the Nile river. The influence of a Christian mother in the molding of character in her children is enormous. Someone has said, “Like mother, like children.” Most of the noble characters and fine leaders of history have had good, God-fearing mothers. We are told that George Washington’s mother was pious, and that Sir Walter Scott’s mother was a lover of poetry and music.

On the other hand, we are told that Nero’s mother was a murderess and that the dissolute Lord Byron’s mother was a proud and violent woman. The influence of a mother upon the lives of her children cannot be measured. They know and absorb her example and attitudes when it comes to questions of honesty, temperance, kindness, and industry.

Parenting is both rewarding and guilt inducing. It’s rewarding because we love our children and they give us joy. It’s guilt inducing because we blame ourselves for their shortcomings and misfortunes. There is no perfect parent, and there’s no universal blueprint because every child is born unique.

Psychologists told us our children were born a ‘blank slate’, waiting for us to write life instructions on them. Telling the truth is hard for the kids of nowadays.

Great parents would rather hear the truth than be told a lie. Even though everyone is born into the world in serious trouble, some of our troubles have solution and some of our diseases are curable, treatable and manageable. In Nigeria today, great evils are being perpetuated because truth is at the mercy of political considerations.

Children are given to us to figure out as we try to mould them spiritually, morally, socially and intellectually. By age seven, they have learned about 75 percent of everything they will ever know. Even valid guidance offered negatively will damage self-worth, breed resentment, and destroy the possibility of building mutual respect.

When normal conflict arises – and it will – it’s tempting to become overbearing or frustrated. When you shout, insult, or humiliate the child, you lose sight of your parental goal of guiding and training. This leaves them feeling angry, disempowered, uncertain of themselves and you – an invitation to rebellion.

Although there is no one-size-fits-all formula for success, there are God-given principles that work whether you’re a new parent, or old grandparent, or someone who works with children. Evangelist John Wesley wrote, “I learnt more about Christianity from my mother than from all the theologians in England.” Toddlers learn better with pictures.

Older kids need us to use contemporary language. And if we know their personalities and abilities,we can always teach, tailor them to adopt and follow us. The decision of Mom and Grandma can affect generations. We must do our best to raise our kids in a healthy, loving and God-honouring environment but the outcome should be left for God.

We should not condemn ourselves as parents. Kids have a keen sense of fairness and equality. Obviously, God is the greatest parent. Use what God has given you to the best of your knowledge and stop whining, griping and complaining about what you do not have. The human race is about to take a fatal plunge but we have a key. The world is getting crazier and earthly powers are coming up with various inhuman policies meant to destroy the institution of marriage. A lot is happening out there but we must protect the family.

Obiotika Wilfred Toochukwu; St. Patrick’s Catholic Church, Awgbu.