Radar | Jul 29,2023
Sep 14 , 2019
By Eden Sahle
Many people feel worthless, insecure and of no value because of a condescending name they are called growing up. A large number of people in this society grow up being told they are up to no good by their own parents. In this country, it is no surprise to see children and adults being mistreated and beaten by their families at home and on the streets.
Words have a powerful influence: positive or negative. What we say and the words we choose to use on others and ourselves impact our thinking, emotions and behaviour. We live in a society where encouragement seems to be in short supply. Children are not protected and nurtured to dream big and believe in their natural ability to do anything they want to do in life.
Most parents in Ethiopia put so much blame on their children after raising them, feeding them so much negativity. Compassion and warmth are diminishing. These earliest experiences stick for years and continue to influence people well into adulthood. Sadly, sometimes callousness is found in the family. While doing so, parents are surprised why their children failed to grow up to be responsible and successful children. Just like in everything else in life, we reap what we sow. It is impossible to feed children discouragement and expect them to be contented adults.
It does not seem like some parents have a clear understanding of the power they have to influence their children profoundly. Parents have a powerful impact on the characteristics children develop and the direction their lives take. How well parents can monitor their children and how warm and responsive they are decides children’s positive adjustment to life. Psychologists say children raised in supportive and caring home environments tend to do great in education, social coexistence, romantic relationships and become great parents themselves.
Truly this goes beyond theory. I met two sisters sometime back who were abused and traumatised by their mother. They later became abusers too. Growing up, their mother used to tell them they were unwanted and unloved and that they could not do anything right. They say their mother used to threaten divorce if their father did not beat them daily. Though he did not want to beat them, he did so to keep his marriage. One of the girls said one time when her mother kicked her out of the house at night, she was raped. The mother did nothing to help her afterwards and did not report it to the police.
What is staggering is that their own parents were the ones committing these crimes against their children with neighbours watching and ignoring it. It breaks my heart to see them suffer, and their parents get away with these crimes. I had a chance to meet their mother. Not only does she not regret what she did to her children, she instead blames them for not being successful in life to support her financially. Let us face it, there are horrible people in this world.
Parents' greatest gift to their children is to encourage them to do good in life and inspire them to have academic curiosity. Encouraging words have a profound effect on every one of us. Kind words are vital. They allow an individual’s mind to brighten up and dream big.
My siblings and I grew up with my father, who loved and encouraged us daily. He always told us there is nothing that we cannot do in this world if we put our mind and time into it. He taught us about the importance of respecting and loving others no matter who they are. He taught us the importance of forgiveness and letting go of things that are not helpful. He taught us the importance of learning from our mistakes and trying never to repeat them.
My father was intentional and careful about his words. He never said anything bad and never used physical punishment. So many people were against his style of parenting, but he proved them wrong as his methods worked.
These are not difficult for anyone to do, rich or poor, literate or illiterate. Unlike what is preached, it is not wealth that makes children successful, although it makes it a lot easier as it opens up more opportunities. Rather, it is growing up in a loving home with supportive parents who speak blessings over their children and inspire them that makes all the difference.
It is impossible to expect love and respect from people who grow up in unloving and abusive households. Maybe this is our problem as a society. Bad things are as contagious as good things. The more abused individuals we have, the unhealthier societies we become.
Change must come from parents who are shaping a generation, feeding them either constructive or destructive things. Society needs to be educated not to poison their children with their negative perception.
Building up someone’s good character should start early in childhood. This can be rewarding for both children and parents. Parents' responsibility of taking care of their children leads to a properly functioning society. Relinquishing their responsibility will haunt them. It is beneficial for everyone to cater to their children's sensibilities. It is terrible for everyone when parents fail at their parental duties.
PUBLISHED ON Sep 14,2019 [ VOL 20 , NO 1011]
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