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.
21. Teach your kids the language: Some people call it a blessing, others call it a curse but the uniqueness of most African countries especially Nigeria is the multifaceted nature of languages/cultures. On the flip side, the Western culture is slowly out phasing ours. A worthy example is the Igbo culture. The Igbos have migrated from the South Eastern part of Nigeria in search of greener pastures especially in the South West (Lagos), North Central (Abuja) and South South (Rivers) parts of Nigeria. Their move has invariably and unconsciously downsized the amount of Igbo children that know and speak their language. More Igbo kids speak English and even foreign languages like Yoruba better than they speak their mother tongue. This is alu (abomination in Igbo language). Your kids should know your mother tongue and a few other additions languages. It will be helpful to them in the future. Trust me.
22. The names you call your children: Nigeria’s immediate past President is a testament to the impact a name can have on someone’s life. A man from no where
uses rides on good luck and becomes President of whole nation. Don’t give your kids names because they sound cool or a celebrity has the same name. Research on a name before you give it to your child because like it or not, names are very important. Remember the angel told Mary and Joseph to specifically name the Messiah “Jesus”, not any name they wished.
23. The names you call your partner: A colleague at work told me an adorable story of how his daughter calls him “my love” because his wife calls him that. The 2 year plus girl upon repeatedly hearing her dad being called “my love” by her mum, innocently assumes that’s daddy’s name and calls him “my love”. Some wives call their husbands “daddy” while some husbands call their wives “mummy” in front of the kids and that’s admirable. Don’t call your partner by their names or use names you won’t be proud of hearing from your children’s mouths.
24. Teach your kids to swim: I was at the pool some days back and saw this parent bring her less than a year old daughter to learn to swim. A lesson that child would value for the rest of her life. If you have ever visited the Southern region of Nigeria popularly called the Niger Delta, you will discover that most kids have their bath in the river and swimming has become a second nature. Swimming isn’t just a wonderful form of exercise but a major survival skill that could help save that child or help that child save someone in distress. Teach your kids how to swim.
25. The truth about the truth: My dad always told my siblings and I while growing up that “even if you kill someone, tell me the truth, don’t lie”. The Bible puts it in a subtle way “the truth sets you free”. Sometimes the truth gets you an ass whooping but bringing up a child afraid of the consequences of telling the truth would give rise to politicians. Try punishing your kids for telling lies and not telling the truth.
26. Stop the boxing matches: Most men that end up battering/slapping/beating their women saw their dads do it to their mums. Most women that end up disrespecting/talking rudely/insulting their men saw their mums do it to their dads. Remember
insults charity begins at home. Children learn by example, be that example. Treat your spouse like royalty and they will treat theirs like royalty. That simple.
27. Education isn’t restricted to school: Your children should be taught that going to school alone doesn’t mean one is educated. The mechanics, the shoe makers, the plumbers are not school educated but self educated. They know what they know better than the average person because they chose to learn. Teach your kids to learn new things with their spare time and praise them for every new skill learnt.
28. Eat the vegetable: This lesson reminds me of my mother and her vegetable cruelty. My mother knew vegetable was good for the body (in her words, vegetable gives you blood) but she also knew we hated eating veggies. So what she would do is to literally “force” us to eat it. She’ll say “so you finished eating the chicken and you don’t want to finish the vegetable shey?..oya sit down there and finish it osiso (fast in Igbo Language). Maturity has now taught me the importance of vegetable in balancing a diet. Some things aren’t always going to be convenient but tech your kids not to do what’s convenient but what’s important.
29. Cleanliness: Cleanliness is next to godliness was one of my teacher’s favorite “Bible” quotes. I have grown to understand that there isn’t anywhere in the Bible where it was quoted verbatim in that manner but I also appreciate the importance of that one quote. Teach your kids to be clean. Bathing and brushing their teeth twice a day isn’t negotiable. Keeping your room clean is mandatory and keeping your appearance neat is paramount.
30. Teach them to abhor waste and greed: It’s no secret that spoilt kids treat with levity what other kids would cut an arm to have. Children should be taught not to waste food, clothes or even water. Because you can always have it doesn’t mean you should take it for granted. Your children should also be taught to value everything they have and not selfishly desire what someone has. Such desire would make a girl crave for the designer shoe that her friend has, save up enough money to get it, finally get it and not even wear it more than once.