Children are the most precious, the most beautiful and the most valuable gifts in the lives of parents. Once they are birthed into life, everything can change for good and pure love like no other can truly be experienced by parents as they learn to pour themselves into their children and strive to create a perfect world for them. However, some hiccups in parenting may be experienced as the children grow older and begin to have a mind of their own as well as when parenting becomes less effective. Consequently, conflicts may rise between parents and children which can create a wide gap that may get worse and almost be impossible to bridge as the years go by.
No doubt, parenting can be quite a challenging experience but it can also be a fulfilling one when effectively done. In all aspects of our human endeavours, we acquire certain skills that enable us function effectively in various aspects of our lives right from childhood through adulthood, we learn skills at schools, at work as well as when it comes to relating with others in our environments and these skills are usually acquired for the purpose of improving our functioning in these aspects. Parenting is no different and should not be left out as the skills necessary for effective parenting are to be desired as much as we desire other important skills.
If we are to be effective in parenting, then our children which are our projects must take priority in our lives. It is quite worrisome that the roles of parents in child development appears to have been watered down in recent times probably because lots of parents have relented in their roles as parents and have substituted their roles with others. Many parents mistakenly relent in their responsibilities to their children during childhood and adolescence with the mindset of delegating most of the responsibilities to the school. They may consider that, after all, they pay the schools heavily for that. Asides being a very crucial period in the physical and intellectual development of children, the school years are also an important period in their psychological development. The roles of parents cuts across all aspects of their children’s functioning. Therefore, parents should be involved in their children’s;
- Physiological functioning/wellbeing
- Psychological/Mental/cognitive functioning
- Behavioural functioning
- Social functioning
As parents, it is our responsibility to set the right pace for our children to follow. Whenever we tend to substitute or delegate this responsibility, we miss out in the opportunity to be role models to them and sadly, this may never be regained.
Although most parents these days run full schedules, creating time for the children should never be misplaced however little or sacrificial it may be. The key word in successful parenting is ENGAGEMENT. Being engaged in the development of the children and getting them engaged all round is absolutely vital to their development.
Engaging children involves
- Parental involvements (monitoring class work, notes, assignments, academic performance, having good relationships with their teachers, tutors and friends)
- Effective communication between parents and children whereby children can be open and talk freely with their parents
- Reinforcement of appropriate behaviour with rewards or withdrawal of rewards when necessary
- Guiding them as they discover themselves
- Building their self-esteem and preparing them to excel in life
Remember that children are a REFLECTION of their parents as well as a REPRESENTATIVE of their parents. Therefore, let them reflect you appropriately and represent you very well wherever they find themselves. Don’t replace them with other things and don’t miss out in their lives as they grow! Never forget that your children are your projects and it is never too early or too late to get it right.
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