Recently, I saw a movie, Shit My Dad Says, in which a young man, a teenager asks his father, “Why do you love your plants more than you love me?” The father looks at his son and replies, “Because I know what to expect from them when they grow up.” This response of the father really got to me and I thought about the difficulties of raising kids especially in this 21st century. In an era that the explicit display of nudity on our televisions is the norm, you may not be the only model your kids have. Some people are scared of this possibility and still want to have children. I have heard people argue that it is more difficult to raise girls than it is to raise boys and another set of people argue vice versa.
In an era in which all sorts of information fly on the social media and the impossibility of fully tracking all of your child’s browsing history cripple some of the basic home training you have given to your kids, some say, “well, if you train your kids well, they will grow up well”, but as the dad in the movie mentioned earlier implies, a parent cannot be 100% sure of what to expect from his or her kids when they grow up. This change in character in the kids usually shows up when they turn teenagers. Your son is suddenly rude and your reprimanding seems not to get to him. Your daughter starts gaining weight so quick and your fears taunt you but you can’t talk to her about it.For some of you, this subject is foreign. Your children are perfectly normal, your marriage is highly productive, blah, blah, blah. Thumbs up! While for some others, they can easily relate. To turn it the other way round, even teenagers have sometimes wondered how they could do certain things that they did, seeing the kind of background they were raised. People do change and a lot of people change so drastically you know?
One effective way to raise kids is to teach them things verbally. Some things are just too risky for kids to learn from their peers. I know that in the African setting, it is difficult for some parents to bring up the issue of sex or drugs but it is better the kids learn from you than they learn from friends in school. Now I am not saying that you should go get some cocaine and stuff it up your child’s nostrils to make him realize the dangers of drugs neither am I saying you should go get some dildos or what have you. Hold your imagination. Feelings should be explained and well in fact gone are the days of “if you let a boy touch, you’ll get pregnant.” I assume no parent still does that. However, sex education is much more than teaching your kids how their reproductive organs work or letting them know the meaning of certain body changes due to puberty. Sex education also means to teach them to control (not repress) their desires. It involves teaching them the implications of pornography and how it affects the mind.
Raising kids is no child’s play but we can’t just throw in the towel and affirm that any child who was made to be good will be good and any child who was made to be bad will turn out bad. We have all got a part to play in determining the good or bad.
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