Here is the first and possibly the singular most important parenting rule you’ll find on the internet: take every parenting advice you get with a pinch of salt, and try to find out what works best for your child(ren) and you.
This parenting rule becomes even more imperative if you are a cyber dweller – more likely to be found online and all over social media, than dwelling in (and dealing with) real life.
Pinch of salt.
Matter of fact, make that a barrel of salt.
There was a time when I would gush about mine and my daughter’s activities online – like 24/7. Everybody knew “small madam” and all the antics we were getting up to and it was all good and fine, until I began to get a lot of private messages asking me for parenting tips and praising me for being such a “perfect mom”.
Maybe if I had had the hustling Naija sense, I would have not only wallowed in the accolades; but also quickly set up a WhatsApp group where I charge parents a little bit of money to come and tap from my “wealth of knowledge and experience”, Facebook group, the works.
Sadly, my conscience would have none of that nonsense and I kept apologizing to everyone gushing about my parenting skills: do not be deceived by the updates I share, parenting is tough.
It is not all about the glamour and the successes we strike every so often. There are days of temper tantrums and mischief and misguided actions which you have to decide how you want to correct, etc etc.
Indeed, there is no single parent in this world, that has successfully raised “model” children.
Permit me that generalization, but events have proven that when butter wouldn’t melt in your child’s mouth, then they have a whole lot they are keeping from you that you need to urgently look into.
Each of us “well brought up” children, were actually straining at the leashes our parents had us on, praying for a chance to jail break and explore the world – a lot actually got an opportunity to do that. The rest progressed into adulthood stuck in one Freudian developmental stage or the other, simply because they were unable to confront the crises at that stage and overcome it.
Do not raise your child according to the standards of others – just do your best to instill the right principles in them. Teach them what is right from what is wrong, and then allow them to explore the world and if you have done a good job of it, you will have earned enough of their trust to have confidences safely deposited with you.
A 20-year-old girl decided to go and paint the town red with her fiancé and on their way back, were pursued and shot at by trigger-happy police men. The young girl dies on the spot, her fiancé is battling for his life in the hospital.
Yet, some humans felt it was necessary to blast the young lady’s mother for “failed parenting”.
Apparently, if the mother had done the proper thing by chaining her daughter up and putting her in a cage, then the police man would not have been stupid enough to shoot at her. He would have chosen his target wisely and maybe shot at another young girl coming back from a vigil instead – as has been known to happen.
And parents are to be blamed for every single scrap their adult children get into.
Sadly, the woman who led the charge of heaping opprobrium on the head of the late Adaobi’s mother, had a high-achieving 9-year-old by whose standards she was measuring the intentional actions of a 20-year-old.
Who will help us tell her?
Who will help us break the devastating news that by the time that 9-year-old crosses into her teens, you’d be lucky if you ever heard half of the escapades they got up to.
As a matter of fact, those that were held in an impossibly tight leash, are the very same species that suddenly turn up pregnant and blame the bathing water they used after their fathers had bathed, for the immaculate conception.
How would you doubt that?
Since you hardly let her out of your sight and believe that the only way is to insulate your child from the world, what other plausible explanation could there ever be for how a child under lock and key “fell pregnant”?
Please, let us all exhale and take a deep breath.
Every parent has a right to raise their child however they feel right – some closeted children turned out to be rascals and never-do-wells; while some who were left to run free and wild, got some valuable lessons from the school of hard knocks that helped smoothen out their rough edges and rounded them out into well grown adults.
To each his own.
The ONLY villains in the death of that poor 20-year-old girl, are the trigger-happy cops that opened fire on them.
Not the parents.