The lasting and greatest legacy any parent can bequeath to these precious children is the reinforcement of positive behavior in the child for the purpose of rendering quality and excellent service to humanity in any of the spheres they find themselves. Reinforcing positive behavior nonetheless is never achieved by mere intention to confess, teach, or train, but by being responsible enough to have the right mind to do so. Having the right mind to do is to have and engage the will power as primary caregivers to display exemplary lifestyles worthy of emulation for the kids.
Having said this, I believe one of the beautiful products of POSITIVE VALUES everyone desires in our society is RESPECT ! So what is RESPECT?
Google defines it as a feeling of deep admiration for someone or something elicited by their abilities, qualities, or achievements.
Immediately I was done in one of my parenting expeditions in a school in south west, Nigeria. A boy in his early teen ran after me and ensured he broke all known walls of résistance strategically placed to prevent him from seen me, on account of few engagements I had with some other facilitators after the teaching. This boy wouldn’t be budged as he was instructed to maintain a sizable distance from where I was, but insisted he needed to see me. I hurriedly excused myself from the team to attend to this teen who was visibly apprehensive, nervous, and restless. A clear indication he was eagerly and earnestly looking for a validation he has lost at home front.
This young teen was a cool dude who has been having issues with his parents. What is the problem? His parents grounded him from using his cell phone for weeks as a disciplinary measure against disobedience, and this is taking its toll on his relational and behavioral tendency and subsequently shut himself off the remaining siblings and parents. Now one would wonder why such mundaness will warrant any withdrawn syndrome from this guy
What came to my mind of this measure is that the parents have done well for such action but a critical look revealed they only focused on the rules at the grievous neglect of the system. Rules and regulations are superb, but a verifiable and simple system that supports them is greater. Rules and regulations without quality and intentional relationship will give birth to rebellion.
It didn’t take me more than two minutes into the discussion for me to know this guy is already sliding into depression aided by the cluelessness of his parents
Here’s a guy that was not given a voice of his own on any matter in the house even as it relates to his life. He’s been unjustly accused of exuberance ‘excesses’ and this culminated his decision to take solace and succor in a smart phone and subsequently found intimacy in it. This action of his angered the parents even without addressing what made him stuck to the phone 24/7. One wonders the next step he was going to take before our path crossed.
Today I speak to the human spirits of parents, therapists, teachers, guardians, counselors, and educators, with a heavy heart begging to be liberated by our concerted efforts. We have a huge responsibility to look after the glories committed into our hands; Teens, children and youth. May I remind us we hold them in trust for God. They do not belong to us.
This reality by now must have dawned on us; Teen suicide is real and is happening at a faster rate than we think.
It is no longer breaking news when it occurs; we must be much aware and help our Children, Teens and Youth to realize there are other ways to cope with being bullied, experiencing trauma at home or school and even being sexually assaulted.
It has been revealed the last stage to suicide attempt is depression, hence the need for all stake holders to keep watch of the immediate environment of the child.
A huge demand is placed on us to sensitize them on how to manage emotions through our involvement. They must know suicide is not a way out to settle scores with parents or any social infractions you think you cannot bear from your friends in school and around your neighborhood.
I want to urge us to trend watch their activities via the contents on social media they favor to see mostly as these will certainly have great influence on their pressing decisions. Children from ages eleven upward are naturally attracted to anything that requires initiatives and creativities. At this level , they are idealists. Please flow along as I state below areas to watch at this critical stage of theirs.
1. While some of them are passive viewers and listeners of subtly packaged media packaged media content of scene after scene depicting, rape, adolescent drinking, and drug use, sexual assault, sexual harassment , self-harming behavior (tantrum) and in most cases , some of these characters usually ends up their lives abruptly.
2. Equally the nuisance value in the entertainment they consumed which is the order of the day on most of the media episodes gives rise to something as devastating as suicide.
The custodians of our Teens and Youth must be seen to be competent in all endavours in child protecting; the only acceptable level of competence am talking here is being PROACTIVE at all the time such that our actions of care will not be seen as to as being betrayed our mental qualification and capability of caregivers we are.
WAYS OUT: Get familiar with their areas of social interest; video games, cartoon, movies etc. don’t just get to know, get involved.
1. If possible, watch it before they do; we need to do this diligently because excess media exposure heightens anxiety.
2. Get to know their feelings, thoughts and emotions. Awareness, Knowledge And Communication are the best tools in suicide prevention; it is your job to use these tools in your family relationship.
Look for evidence of self-harming behavior or promptly put thier temperament to test.
Be more tech savvy than your children; this could be tough but you can do it.
In my monthly parenting live class sometimes this year, we dealt with the issue of social media: “You The Media And The Child “. … Here were sublime expositions of how caregivers can be more proactive in the community of social media; getting more access into it, most importantly getting productively engaged in it to monitor effectively their social media profiles and calls/smart phones.
– Get to know how have they been able to cope with their emotions and feelings; it is better they know emotions and feelings are normal but it’s extremism leads to sadness which of course has a help ; parents are meant to be their child’s emotional regulator.
– Let us minimize the oversight function of correction. Too much correction make the child feel as though he/she does not measure up to parents’ standard. Resultant consequence is for the child to feel unloved , rejected, and unwanted, leading him/her into depression or forced temperament mode, mostly melancholic.
– Don’t sympathize but empathize with them; be present and allow them to be authentic, point out major mistakes and identify remedies in their vulnerability. This is most necessary here because as technology advances in age and transformation, empathy goes down. We must help them to see beyond now, but the bigger picture to envision the future, and act like leaders which they are.
Truth is teens get conscious of themselves and it will take an interesting adults or caregivers who’s ready to go into their world to know the in depth of the circumstances of their thinking. Not an easy task at this stage. They think deep. So intelligent, dynamic, and open to influences as long as such catches their fantasies. Extra care must be deployed as they get interested more and more assuredly in the activities that can satisfy their curiosity for knowledge. Such is the stuff they are made of
Our prompt accessing and further productive engaging them will reduce drastically the negative of emotional stress they might be going through in life. This and more we need by all means to search for peace and to have good sense of humor in every way of life even while connecting to them.