Child upbringing is not an easy task. Both husband and wife have important role to play in the home front so as to raise good children that will be useful to the family and society at large.
Some parents have failed in their responsibilities to their children. As long as parents do not play their roles adequately, these children would continue to deviate enormously.
It is the role of parents to take proper care of the child’s home training by inculcating in him or her all the virtues that will put him on the right track.
In Psalm 127; 3 we understand that children are gifts from the Lord; they are real blessings, a unique blend of husband and wife.
From the moment a child arrives in this world, he or she begins to learn. Children will learn in their own unique way from everything you introduce to them.
Women play crucial roles in the training of the children and therefore should make their homes their priority career. Children imitate their mothers more than other people in the house and any mistake made by them is blamed on the mother. Mothers are the most important persons in the lives of the children. Their habits and behaviors are models for children. Whatever they observe from their mothers, like manners, habits and lifestyle must definitely affect them.
The book of Proverb 22; 6 charges parents to train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old, he would not depart from it. It is easy to bear children but very difficult to raise them well. This is where the challenges lies for all women.
St. Jerome made us to understand that as water follows the track made by a finger in the garden bed, so also the young and tender of age turn where you want them to and go where you lead. Parents have abandoned their role of providing guidance to their children in pursuit of wealth which cannot be a substitute for moral teaching. Morality means living to the best of oneself, one choosing to fulfill his potential.
The home is a component of the society and whatever happens in it is reflected in the society. Parents should educate their children in character and learning because when the foundation is right, they would be transformed when they come out.
According to Sidney Newton Bremer, ‘The minds of little children operate somewhat like the copying machines in our offices… they constantly record and tend to perpetuate every thought or suggestions to which they are exposed.
We cannot expect these children to grow decently if during their impressionable years, they were subjected to fears, worries, jealousies, quarrelling and hatred. Parents should realize that violence is not morally acceptable and should accept responsibility of keeping their children away from those games even internet, monitor the types of films their children watch and books they read so that they would grow into responsible and God-fearing youths.
If we never have headaches through rebuking our little children, we shall have plenty of headaches when they grow up. They are trained more by advice and good examples than by rod and criticism. Rod and reproof give wisdom but a child left to himself brings shame to his mother. Discipline is made up of behavior that is in conformity with the norms and rules of the society. Therefore discipline your child and he will give you rest and delight to your heart. Some mothers over pamper their children and by the time they realize it, they have become drug addicts, cultists, terrorists, armed robbers, kidnappers, wayward, their activities usually send their parents to untimely grave.
There should be a sense of responsibility and devotion to our children. Parents should invest enough time to their emotional and spiritual needs. Some parents do not have time always to their children’s needs. They are always busy with one activity or the other. If we invest enough time in our children, even when they leave home to another abode, the knowledge of what they are taught keeps guiding them. Some fathers travel a lot, leaving the training of their children in the hands of their mothers alone. Some leave the house before the children wake up and return when they have gone to bed. It is very unfortunate that some parents have to a very large extent abandoned their sacred duties towards their children and locked their brains out of their heads in search for material wealth. What is this amassing wealth for? Parents should police themselves properly so as not to soil the child’s virgin intellect with ugly behaviors.
Parents should prepare time table for their children, let them know that there is time to play, do home work or assignment and make themselves available to ask and answer questions and teach them the word of God.
They should assert authority to check a child’s deviance. Punishment is one of the practical steps in child’s training but should be the last resort. Proverb 23; 24 says that if you beat a child, he will not die. They should also forgive their children when they show remorse. Every child likes to do best if he is loved and guided to do the right thing.
Parents should keep track at all times of their children’s movements and the company they keep. They should involve them in discussions and be prepared to listen to their view points as well.
Before now, sex to youths could only be imagined, whispered or read about in books or films, but today, this secretly performed exercise is now a thing of shameless display at places, clubs, schools, hotels, gardens etc.., resulting in teenage pregnancy. They simply indulge in the act without knowing the consequences and fall into deep trouble.
The teenager in order to advert reproach at home by parents, may resort to ways of getting rid of the pregnancy, she may attempt self medication by taking some concoctions or abortion without parental support, she may be frustrated and may resort to dumping the baby in the dustbin, toilet or by the roadside. It is no longer news to hear about these dumping of babies leading to increase in orphanages and motherless babies homes.
These teenagers are surrounded by sexual images and messages which imply that sexual activity is a norm; they are exposed to all kind of permissive behavior. They lack knowledge about contraceptives, STD/HIV, they are uncertain of what to expect from a relationship but because they hire pornographic films and books they practice what they see.
Before now, virginity was a virtue and the norm was for a Nigerian girl to go to her husband’s house on a wedding day as a virgin.
Ever you may think that HIV/AIDS are only meant for people the sleep around. HIV is transmitted through sexual intercourse, through cuts, and sores on the penis, vagina, deep kissing with bites of cuts. Unscreened blood transmission, use of needles with others, barbing instruments, manicure/pedicure etc…
AIDS is caused by HIV. A person is diagnosed with AIDS when his immune system is weak to fight off infections. It can take up to 8 years to develop. So beware because those who do not look or feel sick can give you AIDS.
We must all realize that the seeming moral laxity of the youths is simply a reflection of the moral bankruptcy of our various homes. How come that our children would dress indecently from our homes and we keep quiet, they get themselves involved in smoking, drug abuse, cultism and we keep quiet.
Parents should rise up to the challenge to curb these ugly trends that have eaten deep into the fabrics of our children.
Teach them that abstinence is the best solution before marriage. Teenagers should abstain from sexual activities until they are married. They should ponder over the saying of the oldies that ’if a child eats untimely that for which he is not yet due, he will meet untimely death.’
Unless these children have access to the right information through sex education, they would not continue to explore and experiment with sex.
Parents should rise up to the challenge of sound character molding from day one because these children are special gifts from God, the joy and warmth of families. They should therefore be treasured, provided for and advanced.
By Lady Anizoba Vivian Ngozi, JP, LKSJI, UAC, ADA Okwukwe
National President of UAC of Saint Vincent Pallotti, Nigeria.
Administrative Office in Post Primary School Service Commission, Onitsha.