Positive parenting is fast becoming a core skill requirement for parents focused on raising healthy and balanced children; I believe you agree with me a tiny bit seeing that you’re on this page.
Truth is, where parenting is concerned, there is no one-size-fits-all approach considering that we all have our styles -each style distinct and special.
Last week, I read a story in the Punch Newspapers and it really set me thinking on how we take our job description as parents too seriously that we end up swiping (to the left) the smaller details that make up the big picture.
A certain young man (17yrs old) wanted to end his life by jumping off a bridge into the Lagoon (in Lagos State) because he lost some money (N6,000) and a mobile phone given him by his mom (for foodstuffs) to hoodlums. He was scared and would rather end his life than go home to meet his mom.
Too extreme a response to an incident that was not of his making but I was that parent whose boy would rather do something crazy than face her anger. I kid not.
Maybe nothing as scary as what that young man wanted to do but I’ll tell you my story in a bit.
Sometimes last year, I woke up to find out an egg was missing from the ‘new’ crate / carton I bought the previous evening.
*Apology for the poor (phone) image quality*
Nobody had anything to do with egg(s) between the time I brought it home and the morning of the great discovery, yet the empty space glared back at me – daring me to solve its mystery.
By ‘nobody’, I mean only two adults and two children were in the house at the time and one of the adults made the non-egg dinner of the previous night.
I stood there contemplating what strong wing could have blown away just one egg out of the group of 30 overnight until I perceived a stench coming from a certain direction -by the fridge, to be precise. A blue once-upon-a-bedsheet rag was ‘slumped’ between the refrigerator and the Sink.
And the mystery gradually unraveled itself as the stench grew stronger on moving closer; I gingerly drew the blue rag towards me and flipped it open with my toe.
There, staring back at me was my missing link- a squashed egg concealed
unintelligently in the poor blue once-upon-a-bedsheet rag.
The truth had to come out when everyone else woke up and I donned my detective garbs.
D1 ‘mistakenly’ broke the egg, probably while trying to conduct an ‘experiment’ on the crate. And because he was scared mummy would be angry (from past experiences..haha)…and wouldn’t believe it was a mistake and spank him, he had to do something about it by concealing the ‘crime’.
That was a moment of hard truth for me. I really planned on writing a post about it but forgot completely until I read that post in the Punch Newspaper online about the young man who would rather commit suicide than go home to tell mum he lost her money.
Now you may wonder what all the fuss is all about. I would wonder too if I were in your shoes.
D1 and that young man had something in common…They were scared of what the truth might bring and decided to do something about it rather than face the wrath of their strict parents.
Keyword: Strict Parents.
Thankfully, this young man (in the Punch Newspaper) was reportedly prevented from taking his own life but I still shudder at what could have happened had that angel in the form of the policeman on routine patrol not come at the right time to avert a near-tragedy.
And I re-learned my lesson all over again.
Positive parenting is neither a joke nor a walk in the park, friends.
One positive parenting tip we can all start trying today
Believe your kid(s)…and I typed that believing our little ones are being (have been) brought up to appreciate crucial, non-negotiable values such as honesty and integrity.
Or give them no reason to ‘believe’ you have little or no faith in them…
Or do not give them a reason to believe you do not trust them…
Or do not give them a reason to believe you disbelieve them on every count…
Do not give them a reason to want to bail out and conceal
(broken eggs or) facts or jump into the ‘Lagoon’ (rather than face you) any/every time something goes awry.
And here is one more positive parenting tip to go with Tip 1:
Develop a strong bond with your children.
No rocket science here but the truth is we can become so consumed with our quest to be the perfect no-nonsense parent(s) in our bid to raise ultra disciplined kids that we end up neglecting the crucial factors such as developing a water-tight bond with our little ones. Some of us live under the same roofs with our children / wards, yet so far from them. Just because. We are always very busy trying to eke out a living in order to keep them comfortable.
We become so far from them so much that they would rather confide in some other people instead of bringing their issues rightfully to us. Those ‘other people’ might turn out to be friends who do not possess the same values we are trying to instill in them…friends and confidants who might exploit the accidental lapses created by us.
So far from them that they would rather chuck out the option of facing us with the truth in favor of you-know-what.
The end result of such
strict parenting style is disaster. End of.
I want to evolve into some mom other than ‘that’ kind of mom. I want to become my children’s best friend in addition to being their mom.
I want to embark on intentional positive parenting.Positive parenting is the new black, it looks good on everyone. Click To Tweet
Sorry I misled you into reading this post to this point. If you are on this line, you apparently take parenting a little too seriously.
Parenting is very serious, more than I portray here in this post so I am taking the liberty of adding some more tips which I think would help us more on this journey. Pardon me.
Tackle parenting with love, do not overdo the ‘discipline’ thing
A better approach to using the strict parenting style is to mix discipline (which does not always equate punishment) with equal doses of warmth and several measures of love which I sometimes like to think of as ‘tough love’.
More often than not, discipline in our minds can only mean punishment but we have to tread softly while wielding the biblical rod lest we become a symbol of fear to our children. This can only be counter-productive at best.We can either be a tool of dread / fear or an instrument of love and peace to our children. Click To Tweet
I have been guilty of this at some point. I still am guilty but this is another wake up call for us all to start trying our hands at positive parenting, it just might save our kid(s)’ lives.
Let your kid(s) know it is okay to make mistakes
We are all humans, ain’t we? Sometimes, I tend to believe this stems from setting unrealistic expectations where our little ones are concerned. They have to be the best kid(s) on the block, the best behaved (don’t read: well behaved) when out and about, the one to receive all the accolades and awards at every competition in school (after-all the other children doing ‘well’ haven’t got two heads), they have to always be on point, every single time with the ‘sorry’, ‘excuse me’, ‘yes please’, ‘no thanks’.
Great. I love very well behaved kids too.
And I really really love the how-do-you-do-it-your-children-are-so-sweet pat on the back, every single time.
If your kids are that and more, all day long..ALL YEAR ROUND…you definitely deserve to be the ‘Face of Parenting’, the world over with a massive Gold Medal.
Mine are not. (another epic parenting fail, I know)
Do not get me wrong. Those ‘aspirations’ are good. They are even the hallmark of excellent parenting and a validation that we are doing everything right.
But when it becomes the very oxygen we breathe in and exhale for them to take in, it becomes a problem. Most times.
We could only succeed in setting them up for failure when we place too great a burden for perfection on their fragile shoulders.
Can we all just be gracious enough to take our feet off the pedal for a second to reminisce on how many gold medals and awards we got in our time?
And while we are at it, maybe we can also quickly jot down how many of our mother’s delicate Chinaware we smashed (and ‘escaped’, uncaught…hahaha). Of course we bore the consequences (when we were unfortunate enough to get caught).
Let them know owning up to their mistakes would not lead to a death sentence. from us.
I knew I was fast turning into something other than a loving mom when the boys started getting scared to tell me they made mistakes, and then when they summon(ed) courage enough to come near, it was usually with a bit of teary drama. Especially D1 (the egg-breaker).
That was not what I set out to achieve when I started out trying to ‘enforce discipline’.
D2 would stand at a ‘very reasonable’ distance chanting…’mummy, it was a mistake, I am sorry’…
Scratch that. They (almost) always say…I’m sorry mummy, it was an accident..
Yes, I am owning up to my mistakes and learning too. On this parenting journey.
I seriously started paying close attention after the egg saga. I mean I started believing them and the sincerity in their little eyes, what choice do I really have?
We’ve got to get this right.
We have since had several heart to heart discussions on the importance of being careful and being accountable…like when you break things by ‘accident’ (even if the consequences are not always going to be palatable), you own up immediately and mummy is not (always) going to get angry. Now they know covering up
accidents mistakes is definitely going to bring out the momzillious fangs more than owning up.
So, there you have it.
Positive parenting skills should be a course of study (not an elective) at all higher institutions of learning, seriously.
Do you agree or disagree with any of the above or you have more tips to add?
Maybe you have a little story to share with me on this topic…As you can see, I love story telling and I would really love to read from you in the comment section.