Our parents, good as they were to us, were not perfect. As a parent, it is best to take care not to repeat the mistakes the adults in your life made. Parenting really is just winging it and would be much easier if the kids came with a manual. The one thing that parents agree on is that they want the best for their kids. If that much is true, here are five things African parents need to unlearn.
Looking down on kids who are not academically gifted
Most of us must recall the disdain with which our classmates who were not as gifted academically were treated with by teachers. They were often beaten up and ridiculed, only to go home and get the same treatment. Not being academically gifted is not something that can be healed with beatings. Encourage your child to do the best that they can, while at the same time find out what other things they are interested in. A child might not be good in Math but can dance circles around the whole school. Once you notice this, invest and encourage them to better their dancing.
Pushing kids to do the courses you want
Many are the instances when children have sat through medicine and engineering courses, then downed their certificates and went on to pursue the courses that they want. This is wasting both the kid’s time and yours. You must understand that the current generation would rather get paid less for doing what they love than be stifled in a career that they care zilch about. You had your life. Much as you want the best for them, allow your children to discover the world on their own and follow their passions.
Guilt-tripping your kids
Guilt-tripping is something African parents are fond of. While your children definitely owe you respect and care, using guilt as a weapon to twist their arms is an ancient tool that should be rid off. All the “you are here because of me”, “I suffered because of you”, “After all the sacrifices I have made for you…” in order to get your way is just manipulative and unfair.
Being a parent goes well beyond monetary providence for your family. Many African parents are so emotionally detached from their children, expecting them to read between their cryptic words and actions and decode the love from there. How many times do you tell your children you love them, for instance? Bet most people will find this too ‘un-African’. But if you do not tell them, who will?
Abuse does not have to be physical in order to be termed abuse. Jut because there are no scars does not mean your child is not wounded. African parents are famous for their snide comments and blistering comebacks. Being a parent does not give you the right to speak rudely to your children simply because they can do nothing about it. Children who are spoken to this way have very low self-esteem. That is the worst thing you can do to your child.