Here are Five Truths About Sexual Predators

Here are five truth about sexual predators we easily overlook

Dear Father on Radio,

I love how you love your little girl, enough to phone in on that radio program -to weigh in on a ‘controversial’ issue affecting another young girl in another school.

To be honest, the sexual harassment case that went round (the Nigerian) social media some weeks back had every parent’s antennae up and we could hardly resist the urge to see it through and find out what happened to who in the end.

She was a vulnerable JSS II student living in the school, away from home while he was a teacher in the school. A full grown adult and a young 10 / 11yr old girl he was meant to shield and protect.

I do appreciate the fact that you also have a young daughter (of about the same age) whom you would love to protect in your own ways but I beg to disagree with your views as aired that fateful evening.

You see, I do not have a little girl but I have little boys and I was once a young girl who has been in that little girl’s shoes before. Yes, I was in her shoes but I could not tell my mom or anyone else for that matter because the person in question was a (renowned) father-figure (not my dad), well respected.

Not even a whisper to my sister who was more like my Siamese twin at the time. She was but a few meters away from where the brief encounter occurred, oblivious of my struggles as she busied herself with chores.

Maybe I thought nobody would believe me or I simply did not know what good could come from speaking out. Or maybe I did not want to be the cause of a sour relationship between two very friendly families.

Maybe I simply thought it was my fault for being ‘available’ for him to touch in the first place. In retrospect, I sorted that out by taking myself out of ‘harm’s way’ anytime I was around him after that period.

I hated being touched in that manner and he failed to understand that due to his animalistic tendences.

Something tells me that even animals seek consent before trying or doing the act. But I’d never know for certain because I have never been an animal before and I know no one who was an animal (in a previous life).

This letter is not about MY past issues but about HER issue, about THEIR issues. Mine is gone with the past, I could do nothing about it as I bore the imprints in my heart and still went on to smile and curtsy like everything was okay.

But I can definitely do something about MY children and YOUR children.

I have a thing for young children, especially girls and I remain committed to helping raise a strong and stable generation -of boys and girls in my own little way.

I owe it to myself and to them. Because they are our future.

Now, let me tell you why I disagree with your views.

As ‘strange’ as it may sound, little children are being molested daily, under their parents’ noses, under our unwatchful eyes. Right under our very noses.

They are being molested regardless of their ages, orientation, backgrounds, etc.

I believe, from all I have seen and heard that 3 out of every 10 young children (you and I see) have been molested or inappropriately touched at some point, in some way.

Hard to believe, huh?

But this letter is also not about the statistics but about our attitude and mindset as parents.

On my way from work that evening when this particular topic came up, I had the opportunity of peeping into the minds of a couple of parents from their words.

The girl in question was an 11yr old JSS II girl attending a popular boarding school who reportedly ended up being (severally) inappropriately touched by a shameless male teacher.

She was sexually harassed while being at the right place, at the right time.

But she was brave enough to confide in her mother and her parents were smart enough to believe their child.

I really applaud her for being braver than I was and I believe this ugly incidence would soon be forgotten by her, hopefully. And I applaud her parents too.

They believed her enough to take actions to avoid the inevitable by engaging the school authorities and when nothing reasonable was done, they reportedly changed her school.

Smart move on their part. I really hope her new school is better than the old one.

Then you phoned in to contribute to this topic like every good parent out there wanted to do that fateful evening.

Forgive me for not remembering your exact words. I did not really want to carry those words around with me all evening as it left a very sour taste in my mouth, so bad that I struggled to resist the urge to pull over and phone in.

You said something along the line of finding the story (of how ‘that’ randy male school teacher kept touching that 10 or 11yr old girl) hard to believe.

You found it hard to believe because you had a 9 / 10yr year old daughter who was not ‘fully formed’ and you doubt whether any (sane) teacher could actually molest a girl that young!

Dear Father that called in to say these words on air (last month), may your little girl never be a victim of sexual molestation!

This is not to judge you but the more I think about this, the more I wished I had pulled over that evening to call in basically to say something on this. But I could not because I was on the Express / highway.

Let me take the liberty of bursting your bubble with a few home truths about sexual predators and child molesters you apparently did not know before now.

FIVE TRUTHS ABOUT CHILD / SEXUAL PREDATORS

  1. Sexual predators do not care about whether your girl is a 5yr old or a 15yr old, 10yr or 11yr old,
  2. Sexual predators do not care about whether your little girl is still flat chested or in a size 36 bra,
  3. Sexual predators do not care whether your little girl is wearing a Brazilian weave or a boyish (cropped) cut
  4. Sexual predators do not care about whether your girl is in a turtle neck blouse and ankle length skirt or exposed
  5. Sexual predators do not care whether your girl has a full face of make up on or not

They do not care about all of the above, they just do what they want to do because they are sick perverts!

I mean to assert that Sexual predators do not have a sense of what is right or wrong!

Let me give you a hint of some of the stories burdens I carry around. Earlier in the year, I heard about a 9 month old baby who was molested…no, she was raped by a teenager!

A 9-MONTH OLD BABY.

Penetrated!

I got horrible shivers when I heard this, from a friend.

This happened while the mother left briefly to get some stuffs from a nearby market and entrusted her baby into the care of a known and trusted neighbor.

The mother was none the wiser until she needed to change the baby’s diaper later in the evening and spotted blood!

That baby could not talk.

But now I wonder if she had been able to talk and reported that sick ‘uncle’, would she had been believed if you were her father?

These are the sort of heartbreaking stories you don’t want to keep remembering.

The case was reported to the authorities from what I heard and the sick pervert in human skin was arrested and detained. I hope he is made to suffer fully for what he did to that poor baby.

The height of sexual perversion in this land (and maybe every other land) is appalling and is definitely not a topic for today, it is for another day.

That was just one out of the three cases I heard, which happened near me (not to mention the numerous cases I read about).

How many more cases have been swept under the carpet since then?

How many more young ones are still suffering with this mindset of ours?

How many more can we possibly prevent?

Dear Father on the Radio, strange things happen and I need you to know this and take steps to protect your girl, your boy and any other little one around you.

Please take urgent steps to protect your girl child even as I try to protect my boys..and let us keep praying they never cross paths with these worse-than-animal creatures called sexual perverts.

After all being said and done, there is so little we can do…but that ‘little’, we have to diligently do and leave the big protecting acts to God. He alone is able to keep and preserve these little ones for they are His heritage…on loan to us.

From a concerned mom.

 

 

When unsure…Breathe

Breath

I watch you gleefully skip down the stairway

Unaware of the uncertainty in my eyes, you were

On this exciting path, yet untrod by you

Can you feel me hold my breath?

 

See how my heart follow your little steps

As I try to bravely cheer you on this lone journey

My voice yearns to be the loudest in your heart

Thunderous in the stillness of the day.

 

Today, you are released like a dove

To breathe as you flap in readiness to explore

The world beckons now to see you unfold

I fear no more for the WORD is with you.

 

*********************************************************

So today, we made a huge leap.

Yeah, it is a big leap…and an unrehearsed one at that.  I had wanted to do this for a while as part of teaching the lil men self-confidence.

I guess it is in order to be proud of such insignificant moments that defines the beginning of independence, even if such steps consists of going on errands, alone, for the first time.

A world breaking record, that one. Considering the high-fiving and dancing that attended the ‘coming home’ celebration.

The lofty achievement seriously consists of allowing D1 go on an errand, all by himself. And then I followed him all the way with my heart, holding my breath…watching anxiously from our second floor window, to ensure absolute ‘compliance’ to the instructions.

Okay, I knew he was going to be fine. But seriously, I could not but watch to ensure he was truly okay. Because I was unsure of my decision.

Mama is going to be anxiously breathing down your neck at every turn…watch out for that.

Down the stairs and out on to the road. Okay, not exactly onto the road.

By the road and on the road aren’t the same thing now, are they?

He went, happy to be doing a big something grown ups do. Glad to be set free to run ‘big-boy’ errands.

Parenting consists of such moments, so I am learning. Tiny baby steps turning to bigger toddler strides of insignificant but poignant achievements.

And regardless of the pep talks and self encouragement, the strands of colorful worrying chromosome isn’t going to just disappear from our Parent DNA.

I worried about so much even though the errand took all of 3 minutes.

Like, is it okay to send him all by himself out into the world?

I exaggerate. I know, considering that ‘the world’ here is just downstairs to hand over a key to someone by the side of the road.

But I worried, still. And he made it.

And we high-fived and sang and did our silly little dance.

Only then was I able to breathe more easily..so here is to more of such breathe – easy moments.

Th whole point of this silly little story is: whenever you are the main character in one of such earth-moving parenting movies, remember to stop ‘over-parenting’ or being ‘over-protective’ for a few seconds and BREATHE because…it would be fine.

Another point is…we cannot hold them in our arms forever but our hearts will keep following their little steps. And that is just fine.

One more point is…they would be fine without us breathing down their necks…so we can just relax knowing that we had brought them up to be able to hold their own (in this wild wild world)…to be strong and compliant…

…most importantly, they would be fine because God’s eyes are on them…EVERY second.

 

 

One Positive Parenting Tip (& more) That Can Save Your Child’s Life

Positive parenting tips guaranteed to save your child's life.

Positive parenting tips

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.

Positive parenting tips

Hey, what happened to my egg?

*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.

Positive parenting tips

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.

I kid.

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.

 

 

 

Momzilla: How To Get Better At It

This morning I yelled. In true momzilla fashion.

Hey! I'm Momzilla

Momzilla alert

 

‘How many years is it going to take you guys to finish up?’

You see, the time was 6.55am and I was half-dressed (for work)..shoes playing ‘hide & seek’ somewhere under the Pressing Board…as I swept the entire length of the corridor with my eyes, searching for my jacket…the wine/black colored hairnet still perched sloppily on my head and I bustled to pack my brunch while trying to simultaneously zip the already-packed school bags leaning lazily against the cream wall of my passage-way. How possible is it for all these to be accomplished at the same time?

Seriously???

Source

Again, I yelled.

‘I’m going to have to leave you guys at home today because it really doesn’t look like you are ready for school’

‘Now, who’s making that noise there?’

‘And I can see YOU playing with that cookie can while you’re meant to be eating your food’

‘Do you even know what the time is?’

‘Now, why on earth did I get up early only to be late for work, all because you decided to turn to snails with your food?’

The ‘guys’ were having their breakfast prior to leaving for school.

The ‘having breakfast’ in itself was alien considering that up-till last week, we always packed all the meals (2 ‘proper’ meals and a bowl of cereal) to be taken at school so that we can meet up with leaving the house by 7am.

We did that for 7yrs straight.

But then, they found a new way of playing ‘big’ by insisting on having breakfast at home, every morning.

That wasn’t completely true. They previously complained of being sometimes late for ‘assembly’ because they had to finish up their breakfast. Hardly my fault considering that they usually use mealtimes to ‘explore’ and do stuffs other than eating, thereby lengthening the supposed-to-be short meal exercises. So they suggested insisted on having breakfast at home.

This particular morning, they’ve (thankfully) had their bath (handled by DH before he left for work) and were sitting in their pants and singlets as they ‘battle’ to scrape the last bits off their plates of plantain and egg (they dare not waste ‘my’ food).

PS: It’s all of 5 minutes to 7am (our leaving-home deadline)

PPS: We can leave home 7.05 or 7.10 and I’d still get to work before 8am, barring traffic gridlocks.

PPPS: I’m a confirmed momzilla on Monday mornings.

A quick run-through on the word – momzilla:

She is that mom who is (lovingly) mean.

She is that mom who might have flames darting from her tongue and ears in anger but inwardly, she is all squishy soft and scared of what could go wrong with a particular situation.

A momzilla is that person who could scream, yell, bring the roof down, set the alarm button off just because of a harmless (not-threatening-world-peace) detail that is in danger of unraveling.

But I digress.

5 minutes later, ‘big guy’ is hurriedly fully dressed (leveraging on being ‘advanced’ in age), and the ‘lil’ (age-disadvantaged) guy still battling with the buttons on his less-than-crispy-by-now white shirt, shorts nowhere within sight.

I yanked the net off my hair, slipped on my shoes and picked my bag from where it was nestling and pretended made to leave with big bro (leaving lil bro).

‘Mummy, please..help me with my button’

‘And please..remind me how old you are again’

‘5 years’

‘Good, I’m not helping a 5yr old boy do his button when we are running late already’

Plain wickedness, I know.

‘Please wait for me..’

‘Nah, I’m not waiting…I’m leaving right now’.  (Of course I’m not leaving, yet..just needed to drive the point home some more)

‘I’m sorry’

‘Sorry about what?‘ (switching on my ‘I-don’t-have-time-for-this’ mode)

PS: Is there a contest going on somewhere to discover the meanest Momzilla ever liveth?

‘Please don’t leave me…mummy’

And my momzilla ice castle crumpled as I beheld the plain fear in his 5yr old eyes…fingers frantically fumbling with his shirt buttons, still shorts-less and shoe-less.

Down went the bag as I stooped before him.

Yes, I stooped…not to say I love you and I won’t / can’t leave you…

…but to finish doing the buttons (he missed one as usual) on his shirt, to help him fish out his pair of grey shorts and to pull on his white socks for him…and then, I left him to handle the easiest task of all – slipping on the black Clarks school shoes.

I cringe inwardly.

Even though I want these little guys to be grown and independent in order to ‘relieve’ me a bit, yet…I cringe at the thought that a day would come when these boys of mine would stop needing me and I’d have nothing to do and nobody to yell at.

It’s of an alien proportion but I still cringe at the thought of the day when I may have to say audibly or silently..

..please don’t leave me…stay back and talk to me some more..tell me what’s going on with you, your job / career, wife, child(ren), trips, etc

I cringe.

At the thought that a day might come when I may have to say..I’m sorry..for not having enough time to help do your buttons..pull out your shorts…tie your shoelace..listen to your tales of how the day went for you..help out with relationship issues, etc.

May those cringe-worthy days never come upon me.

Back to the present: Isn’t it amazing how we are able to swing modes and moods in true parent-fashion at the flick of a switch? Like how I was able to go from raging yelling in one second to being an all-mushy-emotional-internal-wreck the next minute. Isn’t that one of the perks of momhood / parenthood?

Maybe that is why there is a ‘mom‘ in ‘momzilla‘, who knows?

There's a mom in momzilla

Keep Calm!

However, I cannot promise that I won’t yell again but I can get better at this. We all can get better at this.

To become better, I promise..to try to KEEP CALM always and..

To always stoop to help, every single morning, noon and evening…

To always give a hand if and when needed…because I love to and because I have to.

To always pause in the midst of all my hurrying and savor the joy that comes from dependency a la doing buttons, straightening shorts, brushing hair while keeping an eye on the clock (and trying hard to not herald them down the stairs, half-clad)

To always try to-not yell where just stooping to help could help. (Pun intended)

To above all try to be more of a mom than a momzilla.

 

Who else has been ‘momzillious’ lately?

Tell me I’m alone (or not alone) and spill it out in the comment section, tell me how to get better at this…I’d really love to swap tales with you.

 

 

Effects of Inappropriate TV Programs On Our Children

 

Effects of inappropriate TV programs on our children

Effects of inappropriate TV programs on our children

Effects of inappropriate TV programs on our children has been lately bothering me so much that it became a lengthy post. Please accept my apology in advance and do try to endure till the last paragraph.

Last week Thursday, on our way to school, we got stopped -routinely by the FRSC and after all the paper checks…fire extinguisher..spare tire checks, we were naturally allowed to go.

Now, I always try to be law-abiding and provide whatever they request while trying hard to mask my impatience at the selective routine inspections. The criterion for ‘randomly’ picking vehicles on would never be known to unintrusive drivers and the reasons for turning blind eyes to the daredevil, rickety damfos (buses) with the conductors hanging onto the back in suicide-bond style would never be understood.

But these men in brown uniform and black hats / caps do their job damn well, spending more-than-a-reasonable amount of time on women rushing to work with a couple of kids strapped in at the back, wondering why we get stopped at the same spot every week.

‘Maybe they thought you killed somebody and put the body ‘inside’ the booth of our car’

I was ‘slapped’ out of my reverie by the voice of you-know-who (D1) from the back seat.

Where on earth did that line of thought come from.

‘I saw it on DSTV Africa Magic now’.

Another day. Another time.

I am really afraid of guns.

Where did you see guns and why would you be afraid?

I saw a man trying to kill a woman with a gun.

Yet another day. Another time.

Why are men always beating their wives on Africa Magic?

Okay, I get it.

It’s no longer about Africa Magic. Anymore.

it’s about me. About us.

Enough of allowing them ‘stumble’ on programs that are so morally unokay. Not that those programs are morally bad but the ‘morals’ are usually lost on their young minds and the bad ones linger with no filters in place.

Like they know it is wrong to hit another human but when it is consistently fed and reinforced through these channels / programs, they might get to a point where it is even cool to ‘harmlessly’ practice what they see.

Seriously, I am tempted to permanently ban watching Nollywood but even a mama needs her comic fixes. However,  it is time to pay more attention to ‘intentional’ censoring and encouraging something more uplifting / educating like NatGeoWild.

LIKELY EFFECTS OF INAPPROPRIATE TV PROGRAMS ON YOUNG CHILDREN

The likely effects of inappropriate TV programs on children varies from child to child but they cannot be overlooked or underestimated.

From my experience, the kids are in jeopardy of the following:

FEAR / WRONG VALUES

My little man -D2 is so scared that he wouldn’t venture down the lit-up corridor into the lit-up kitchen alone to get mummy some water, at night just because a ‘ghost’ dabbed in white talcum, draped in white bedsheet (as seen on Africa Magic Yoruba) is lurking somewhere there, waiting to spring on him.

Yeah, I agree…it’s all my fault.

My older boy is always hyper-alert after watching certain news on CNN, every time. Last time, he had a hard time understanding why God ‘decided’ to flood ‘America’ after His promises to Noah never to do so again!

Of course we explained and put it in perspective for him. Or we tried.

Now add that to the images of men drawing guns on each other to settled disputes, beating women, killings, hiding bodies to go bury somewhere in the thick of the night, and the list goes on and on. The mess is real.

Some of these violent scenes do not seriously show the moral side and the young ones are left hanging, left to fill in the gap without an adult explaining what just happened. I mean the real harm fails to shine through the story line whether by accident or design of the directors.

Sometimes, the storylines are muddled and executions of same leaves even grown-up me bewildered at best.

I. Don’t. Want. This. Ever. Again.

Enough said. Or not.

The problems that may occur as a result of allowing these programs are numerous and they may last a lifetime if care is not taken. Beyond the violent portrayal of relationships on the Screen, it also appears, lately, that we cannot turn on the TV without stumbling on some sort of intimate scenes or inappropriate scenes for young children. Except we start living and breathing football. Or NatGeoWild.

Studies have shown that violence on TV has adverse effects on children as well as adults. As an adult, you would never get me to watch scary scenes at night and most times, the way ghosts are depicted in Nigerian Film industry gives me nightmares so I shy away from such terrible movies / channels and try as much as possible to steer my children away from such.

Considering that children are highly impressionable and learn from things around them, experience and role modelling, thoughts need to be given to this crucial aspect. For most part, young children have difficulties differentiating or understanding what is real and make believe. Like my kids wanted to fly and emulate Spidey.

They believed superheroes are real, now can you beat that?

I know they are, but not in the fashion of the heroes portrayed on our screens.

UNDUE EXPOSURE TO VIOLENCE

This links back to point 1 as undue exposure to violence creates fear.

We know that mostly, children learn from what they see, experience and role modeling.

When children, especially the ‘young’ ones, see violence on television, they have a difficult time differentiating between what is real and what is make believe, and might end up trying to emulate or copy what they see.

A 1982 report by the National Institute of Mental Health further buttressed the fact that violence can impact our children negatively by creating fear such as mentioned earlier on in this post, becoming aggressive towards others among other effects.

Research also shows that there is a chemical change in the brain akin to that seen in post-traumatic stress disorder; if enough violence is viewed, the brain reacts as if the person doing the viewing has actually been abused.

Bear in mind that the brain of children who watch violence and inappropriate programs on television are still developing.

Summarily, violence on TV might lead to:

  • Children being psychologically impacted by having less empathy which is one of the characteristics of of bullies.
  • Children seeing problem solving through aggressive strategies as ‘the’ option instead of peaceful conflicts resolutions
  • Children becoming more reactive rather then proactive
  • Children appearing to be more fearful of social relationships
  • Children becoming argumentative, etc

I also read somewhere that young children who watch violent programs on TV are in great danger of becoming violent themselves as teenagers, and tend to have more encounters with the law as adults.

I know we all definitely do not want to raise monsters.

What can we (parents) do about it?

We have a number of measures we can take which include but not limited to:

MONITOR / MODERATE TV VIEWING

We wear the ‘big pants’ and that gives us the power to control and monitor whatever is on the screen or what they watch per time, as much as we can.

This is partly why I do not subscribe to the idea of having TVs in the children’s room.

SUPERVISE

Monitoring their screen activities does not stop at just allowing them sit in on appropriate programs, it extends to us sitting with them as much as we can in order to see part or all of what they are watching. This way, probabilities of ‘slip-ups’ occurring in between programs is reduced. Slip-ups such as erotic movie adverts, etc

This may be a tad ‘difficult’ due to circumstances but if it’s important, we’ll find a way round it. Gone are the days TVs are used to ‘baby-sit’ or ‘kid-sit’ while we hustle around doing chores.

We can and should set rules in place for TV watching, when, how and what.

PROGRAM SCHEDULING

As part of instilling discipline in the house, we allow the kids watch cartoons (some cartoons are also inappropriate as we’ve come to realize) only during the weekends and we have adhered to this for as long as I can remember. This can also be extended to scheduling what they watch on other channels during the week.

BE FIRM AND EXPLAIN CONTENTS

D2 loves watching wrestling and he got us to tune and watch it together a couple of nights ago. Not more than 2 minutes later, I felt enough was enough as I could not stomach the seeming violence anymore. Although hubby explained to them both that what they were watching was ‘make-believe’ and the wrestlers were actors acting out a script but we decided to firm up amidst the whinning. The channel was changed and we got to sit through news about Donald Trump, Hilary Clinton, the cacauses, etc etc.

Who else is monitoring the Elections with the attending dramas?

Repetitive violence can be entertaining as much as it is disturbing and we do not want this imprinted on our kids’ brains, we should learn to say no to inappropriate TV programs even in the face of the sweetest blackmail or the loudest whining and whinging.

ENCOURAGE

We should encourage our children to watch more inspiring channels (think NatGeoWild, Discovery Channel, etc) that educates and enlightens if they have to sit in front of the TV at all. And we should also try to encourage them to spend time away from the TV, time that could be put to good use such as crafting together, reading, writing, etc.

MODEL

We would also do well to model what we expect of them. That is why I would not want to sit all day watching two adults kissing on TV or two adults breaking their heads or doing crime or ghosts dabbed with talcum powder, draped in white curtains chasing people all around. Instead, we should lead the path to a healthier and interactive sessions bonding over appropriate contents.

These are by no means exhaustive and you are free to add or ‘unadd’..

Have you experienced any of the above or similar effects of inappropriate TV programs in your children?

How did you address them?

What steps are you taking to prevent these effects of inappropriate TV programs?

As a ‘fellow-work-in-progress’, I would really love to hear and learn from you in the comment section.

Finally, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things [are] honest, whatsoever things [are] just, whatsoever things [are] pure, whatsoever things [are] lovely, whatsoever things [are] of good report; if [there be] any virtue, and if [there be] any praise, think on these things.

 

Be Anxious..

I could not but be anxious as the fuel scarcity came back like a bad dream over the weekend and persisted.

 

Do not be anxious about anything, worrying solves no problem

Be anxious for nothing

Yesterday (Monday) evening, I reluctantly left work with an empty tank hoping to get some from any of the ‘at-least’ four fuel stations between my work place and the kids’ school.

Not minding my colleagues’ assurances of…’don’t worry, it’s a Toyota, it’ll take you home and back, even if there is traffic’…I kept darting worried glances at the fuel gauge as it snaked its way  towards the ‘E’ mark.

(May I ‘quickly’ add that you should never deliberately use up your car’s fuel reserve?)

The dreadful amber LED by the fuel gauge soon came on, willed into being by my worried glances halfway home..further reinforcing the state of my fuel tank, and my heart. The unusually long traffic did not help in the least and I could not but be anxious, still.

To compound my anxiety woes, there were painfully long queues at all the fuel stations, vehicle owners impatiently crowding the roadsides, waiting for the evasive and calculating pump attendants…we couldn’t join any of the long queues, so we got home beyond-empty, you know what I mean?

Needless to say that this morning, I was scared shitless that the car was going to stop halfway to work so much that I could not resist echoing my thoughts out loud. And I even contemplated dropping the car at home and making use of a cab to get us around.

‘Mummy, remember what I told you on Sunday?’
‘What’s that?’
‘Do not be anxious…about anything…and whatever you ask God, he’ll do it for you’

Be anxious for nothing, whatever you ask God, He’ll do for you

‘So what has that got to do with the empty state of the petrol tank, dear?’

I know. I know. I just wanted to get into his mind and maybe find a bit of familiar comfort for my anxious mind.

‘Pray to God now, and the car will get you to work before stopping.’

I must be going out of my mind or my faith simply needs a little bit of work…like getting the faith engine serviced with quarts of ‘fresh’ oil (pun intended) in the form of my boy’s grand faith in God’s ability to keep the car moving for another 30mins+ without fuel.

Be anxious…for nothing, not even for fuel. Or the next meal. Or clothing. Or shelter. Or the coming exam. Or children. Or the desired career change.  Or the impending medical test. Or job. Or food. Be anxious. Not.

Sounds cliche but it is as true as it is logical.

WHAT BEING ANXIOUS FAILS TO ACHIEVE

  • Fails to increase the fuel level in the car
  • Fails to put food in the fridge, clothes in the closet, etc
  • Fails to eliminate the stressor

What we are anxious about would not disappear by worrying…the problems won’t go away but it would invite more problems folks to come party with it and they would in turn come hand in hand with fear.

WHAT BEING ANXIOUS DOES TO THE BODY

  • Heightens our sense of awareness in an unhealthy manner
  • Stirs up feelings of dread or fear or even doom
  • Increases heartbeat, etc

While anxiety is normal and we all definitely experience this at one point or the other, allowing it get the better of us is detrimental to our well-being, all-round. Research says anxiety adversely affects our bodies, mind and brain. So it really does no good.

Knowing and accepting that worrying changes nothing would condition our mind to just let it go…squash it before it consumes us and LEARN to trust in Him who is able to make it all right even though it may be hard or seem impractical or unreasonable at times -depending on the situation…regardless of the situation.

And in case you want to know…no, the car/engine didn’t stall on me. God definitely hears the little words of faith of little ones even if the parents’ faith needs a little bit of servicing.

www.biolaleye.com

So, in D1’s voice…be anxious for nothing…have faith (and/that) whatever you ask of God this month of March, he’ll definitely do it for you.

 

FUN FACTS : POLAR BEARS

Fun facts about polar bear: polar bear day

POLAR BEAR FUN FACTS

So I got to hear some fun facts about polar bears recently (January to be precise) and decided to put off posting until today…which happens to be a day set aside for the beautiful carnivores.

Yes, they are beautiful even though I do not pray to come really close to any just for the purpose of verifying or validating this. Admiring them on my screens is more than enough for me. Thank you.

D1: ‘Mummy, do you ‘even’ know that Polar Bears that are pregnant do not eat?‘ (Out of the blues like most of his questions)

‘They also don’t move, drink, swim or do anything at all’

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