By Ene Adeka
Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child, but the rod of correction drives it far from him…
Of the many wonders we are blessed with in life, procreation is one of the most astounding and beautiful gifts mankind has been endowed it. It holds the key to continuity, fruitfulness, and legacy. It is also the chief means by which culture, tradition, and values are passed on to the next generation in every community.
Think of the suspense a pregnant woman has to go through for nine whole months before she hears the first cries of the tiny bundle of joy she has been housing inside of her. Life is beautiful and even more so when you are the reason another life comes into being, and this is where parenting skills are absolutely needed.
From birth until adulthood, how you parent your child is very important. Parenting style is often defined as “the way a parent(s) respond to the needs, interests, and abilities of their children and also how they supervise, oversee and discipline them.”
Parenting is one of the reasons why we are suffering from bad governance, different kinds of social ills and even recording a decline in the moral fabric of the African society. While it is good to accept western parenting styles, we must also remember that the environment plays a key role in the upbringing of a child and to adopt values or methods of parenting that may not necessarily fit into the “African way of parenting” is to spare the rod and spoil the child.
The African society has what I would love to call “collective parenting.” Here, every adult in the society is responsible for a child, and they teach, correct and inculcate core societal values whenever the need arises for such. Aunties, uncles, neighbours are most often tasked with this job.
Parents receive parenting advice from many places: family, friends, professionals, books and the internet. The way you parent your children may also be influenced by:
- how you were parented
- your culture and values
- your life experiences
- where you live
- your child’s age and temperament
As a parent, while it is good to allow some external input in the upbringing of your child or children, it is imperative that you understand that their first perception of love, discipline, and correction must absolutely come from you. You must:
- Teach your child to see discipline as an aspect of love.
- Help him or her understand why and what they are being disciplined for.
- Shape his opinion of you by being the perfect example of the good you need to see in them
- Supervise all friendships, games, and activities until they have reached the age of absolute discretion.
Finding Your Parenting Style.
Finding your own unique parenting style would require you to first study the behaviour (temperaments and habits) of your child and find a balanced style that suits your family’s values and your children’s need. Most experts agree that a balanced, flexible style that combines warmth and firmness is the most effective.
Here, you learn how to combine authority with leniency, love, affection, and supportiveness. Remember, children learn more by seeing and less by hearing, and so it is important you be “a teacher that practice what they teach.”