Most of us will agree with me that when we were growing up not many of us could ask our parents why we had to do certain things in a certain manner for that was considered rude. However, things have since changed nowadays we cannot just tell our children to do ABC, they will ask us why and we have to explain to them.
Of course we do have some parents who still believe in forcing things down their children’s throat and go about policing them like high school prefects to ensure that their instructions are followed to the dot.
This will simply translates into the children doing whatever they have been forced to do as long as the parents are in sight and doing whatever they want once the parents move out of sight or once they are sure that their parents will not get wind of their actions.
What we need to know as parents is that our children are human beings in their own rights and that instead of throwing things at them and forcing them to do certain things we need to sit down and discuss issues with them so that we come up with a decision that we have both arrived at. I am talking of involving our children in decision making especially in decisions that are most likely to affect them.
One good holiday my husband and I decided to delay our children by two days. We thought it didn’t really matter to be in school the first two days since teachers didn’t do much teachings on those days and we decided it would be better for our children two spend two more days with their parents than loitering in school.
As a result we postponed their flight by two days. We never consulted our children because we thought we were doing the best for them and we never thought it was necessary to consult them because they were children and we were the parents and therefore had the right to decide for them.
We got the shock of our lives and we were so embarrassed to say the least. The next holiday when they were about to close schools and we were discussing their travel arrangements; I was so ashamed when I overheard my two sons talking to my mother.
“Granny can you please talk to your child, we hate missing school last time they made us miss school for two days and we really didn’t like that. We really like going there for the holiday but we hate it when they make us miss school not even for a single day. They argue that there is not much learning going on people will just be playing but what’s the harm in letting us play with the others?”
The words cut like a hot knife into my heart and I will never repeat that. I quickly went away and pretended not to have heard anything but from that day onwards, I had learnt my lesson and I conveyed it to my husband.
Since then we have learnt to consult our children in decisions that affect them in any way. We also learnt that even if you do not want your children to hand around certain friends, you have to explain why and make them understand why you are against such friends.
Once they understand the reason behing your concern then you will rest assured that they will stop whatever you ask them to stop. If they do understand and you just force things down their throats, the danger is that they will just do exactly what you have told them not to.
Human beings have a natural propensity to do those things that they are forbidden to do and this dates back to the first people, Adam and Eve, I need not go through the whole story again.
If we think we can decide for our children because we are the ones who have the money and we are their parents, then we are heading for disaster. We will continue to struggle and this might even lead to running battles with them because we want them to dress in a certain way or befriend certain people.
We should discuss with our children why we do not want them to hand around certain people, why certain foods are not good for them, why certain television programmes are not good for them and why they should make certain choices instead of doing what we think is the best for them. Most of us make the mistake of writing up the rules and policing them like hell.
I am not saying that children must be left to do as they please, all I am saying is let us involve our children in the decision making process. Let them participate in making decisions that affect them.
Charity begins at home hence child participation in decision making should start at home before moving to national issues. Happy parenting!