A Longevity Quest to Parenting

Mar 11 , 2023
By Kidist Yidnekachew ( Kidist Yidnekachew has degrees in psychology and journalism and communications. She can be reached at kidyyidnekachew@gmail.com. )

As an only child, I did not experience life with siblings and I do not remember arguing with my parents. Perhaps when I became a teenager I wanted independence and to do things my way but confronting parents was unthinkable then; whatever we were asked of, we did unquestionably for the most part. But children now are more strong-willed and stubborn.

The other day I visited one of my old friends that recently moved back to Ethiopia. I met her six and eight-year-old adorable children who were playing nicely at first but suddenly got up from the sofa throwing pillows at each other and all over the place.

My dear old friend remained unbothered. I was on edge since they started running in circles near the hot Jebena ( pottery flask used to brew coffee), so I raised my concern but she dismissed the matter with, let them be kids. She moved it further away from them with hopes of giving them more space but I was afraid they would not only spill it but also get burned from stumbling upon it if they went too far.

She noticed that I was worried and attempted to keep me calm with the famous phrase parents use when it all becomes too tedious “It's all in the hands of God”. I do not doubt that but at the same time, I feel it is parents' job to protect children from harm to the best of their ability.

Twenty minutes passed and the children were overwhelming their mom. She tried to reprimand them and even asked them to stop but they did not heed her. In fact, the older child disrespectfully told her to stop telling him what to do. She tried to ignore him but it did not work. Then calmly, she explained to him the consequences such as banning the use of toys, watching television, and going to the playground. The just boy nodded and started walking to his room.

My friend studied developmental psychology and was well-read about parenting styles, children’s cognitive development and milestones.

I was flabbergasted and asked if what she did always worked. Sometimes children throw temper tantrums and become difficult but her response was it is all part of being a child and as parents, we have to teach our children how to take charge of their emotions. If we lose our cool and snap, we are setting an example for them to do the same.

We cannot match their energy by yelling, screaming and getting involved in a power struggle which would result in hurting our children physically and psychologically.

Parenting is a true test of character. It is not about controlling kids, but more about learning self-control. A person is never good or bad until they become a parent, only then will they understand how yelling sometimes becomes a love language.

She told me to not expect children to behave the same way adults do as they are exploring the world and pushing boundaries to see how far they can go. They make mistakes and they learn. Although I disagreed with giving children that much freedom, as it would sometimes do more harm than good, I appreciated her calmness and the way she handled the situation with her son.

Disrespectful behavior should be a wake-up call to parents to be in control of the situation and set better limits. Changing how you respond to your kid’s disrespectful behavior, doesn’t mean that their behavior will change instantly. It takes time and patience since it is a process that happens over time.

Children exhibit behaviour in accordance with the environment they were raised in. As we were about to part, my friend told me if parents do not deal with children’s emotions properly, they will grow up to become adults with tantrums and anger bottled up inside.

Parenting is a serious job no one prepares us for but it is also a lifetime learning curve that gets better through the willingness to strive for better.

PUBLISHED ON Mar 11,2023 [ VOL 23 , NO 1193]

Kidist Yidnekachew has degrees in psychology and journalism and communications. She can be reached at kidyyidnekachew@gmail.com.

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