Adolescents have their personal issues all together as documented in the article “Adolescents and Their Challenges“. These problems could be elevated or for lack of a better word “softened” if these adolescents have been guided through life with certain parental guiding principles. As the good Book says “Train up a child the way he should go and when he is old, he will not depart from it” (Proverbs 22:6).
Therefore I present to you a few of the principles either used by my parents, the parents of a few friends, researched online or read in books.
Remember there is no set-in-stone rules/tactics/techniques/formula to raising a child but at least these could be used as pointers in the right direction.
30 Parental Principles For Bringing Up A Child (Part 1 of 3)
11. Teach your kids sex education as early as possible: As early as 2 years, a child should be taught which parts of his/her body are private and should be kept out of the sight/reach of others (including cousins/uncles/aunties/neighbors). About 80% of children are molested by people they know and 90% of them don’t even know what’s right or wrong. Teach them that anytime someone touches them wrongly, they should report to you and you can take appropriate action to avoid stories that touch.
12. Right hand or nothing: There is nothing more disrespectful than giving or receiving things from anyone (a senior or a junior) with your left hand. The only time anyone is allowed to use their left hand (left handed or not) is if the left hand has been cut off or occupied. Teach your kids NEVER to use their left hands when interacting with people.
13. Courtesy is inexcusable: I’m sure this has happened to you before, when you give a child a gift and she/he takes it without showing gratitude. Then the guardian/parent has to thank you on the child’s behalf or say “Junior, say thank you”. Your child should never be caught been ungrateful. Taboo.
14. Never fight/quarrel in front of your kids: There is something psychologically damaging about parents constantly fighting/shouting/calling eachother names in front of their kids. This is inexcusable for a parent. You have issues with your spouse, take it outside.
15. Never lie for/with/in the presence of your kids: I’m sure as an African you would remember this popular lie told by our parents. It goes thus:
*knock knock knock*
Papa: Angela, go and check who’s knocking on the gate.
*Angela goes to the gate and returns*
Angela: Papa, its Uncle Timothy.
*Papa remembers he’s owing Uncle Timothy and replies to Angela.
Papa: Tell him I am not at home.
Angela: Uncle Timothy, papa said I should tell you he is not at home.
…and this parent wants truthful kids when he’s already training them to be liars. Don’t lie for your kids and don’t lie to your kids.
16. Raise Spiritual kids: As a Christian family, early morning and late night devotion are not optional but mandatory. Pray and study the Word of God with you children on a daily basis, give them assignments, let them lead Praise and Worship, make sure they attend Sunday School and acquire Bible cartoons/movies/books for them. Help them grow spiritually.
17. Keep them fit: The issue I have with elderly people is the fact that they begin exercising when they start ageing. Exercising should be a habit and parents should teach their children to keep fit from an early age. As soon as they can walk, they should start exercises appropriate to your age. tis builds stamina, speed, healthy bodies and good self esteem in them.
18. Teach your kids how to love/support/help each other: Sibling rivalry could be beneficial to the development of children but when sibling rivalry takes a dangerous turn is when kids start competing for everything on the home front without little or no regard for each other.
19. Teach your kids to overcome stage freight: A survey conducted by a research institute in the United States found out that people were more afraid of standing in front of a crowd than death. Stage freight is paralytic in nature. Even celebrities still battle with a bout of stage freight once in a while. No one fully overcomes it but people have learnt to manage it and make the most of it.
Children should be taught how to stand in front of a crowd and not be afraid. From an early age, they should stand in front of their classmates/schoolmates/family/church members to recite poems/read books/teach etc and as they grow older, it becomes a part of them.
20. Teach your kids to cook: “Cooking, by the way is a very useful skill for anyone to have. I’ve never thought it made sense to leave such a crucial thing, the ability to nourish one’s self, in the hands of others.” – Chimamanda Adichie. Girls have been taught how to cook by their mums while the boys watch TV with dad. These young boys grow up depending on girls to cook and these girls have spent more time making themselves look better than cook better. What if from childhood, the boys and the girls were taught to cook for themselves?
30 Parental Principles For Bringing Up A Child (Part 3 of 3)