Not even in the UK where 18 year olds traditionally pay weekly house rent, do post-teens/young adults, from decent homes, defy their parents. Notice I have said ‘decent homes’, I mean environments where parents are still accorded their due respects by their children. There are boundaries all parents must set for children if at all they must continue to function in that capacity (as parents).
Times and modus operandi in homes have greatly changed from how things were in my earliest recollections of life at home in the late 60s and 70s. The visual media of the internet has effected tremendous changes to how much sensory simulations that children now get. So you’d agree with me, if you’ve been parenting children, that it is difficult to get adolescents to always do things the way we want them to. Parents today are simply contending with the many nebulous things that the multimedia is telling their children.
My words on this are chiefly, “know what is online”, “know what is trending”, “know what the antidotes (help) are available”. Parenting children is an effortful task and there’s hardly a parent that hasn’t made at least one error at it. You set out to cater for your children’s food, clothes, shelter, formal and informal education. You do this to steer them towards greater independence, strength for the outside world, abilities to make right choices and an ability to replicate your own ability to make a home.
There are times however, when no matter how hard you try, children will become aware of and may begin to experiment with drugs, alcohol, sex and at times crime which may end them in deep trouble. A great deal of parents are shattered when these begin to happen and some cope with it by going into denial. You cannot afford to see the telltale signs of derailment and look the other way hoping for the best. You must question a concerning behavior, investigate it, apply well thought-through remedies and follow them through till desired behavior is achieved. However, be prepared for the stress involved in making changes.
Importantly, before things even get out of hands, as your children make the double figure – round about age 10, get a grip on yourself and consider applying the following tips:
1) Be interested in your child and what they have to say, even if you make them out to be ‘childish talk’.
2) Set boundaries for your children and set ground rules with your children.
3) Know who their friends are in school and which friends they hang out with (permission sought).
4) Brooch the topics of drugs, alcohol and peer pressure with your children.
5) Find out what behaviors are happening in school. They will tell you or you will get the gist, if you regularly ask them a question like, ‘How was school today?
6) Know where your child is at any point in time; do unannounced spot-checks on them from time to time.
7) Know your community and what’s going on there. Make friends with key-people on your street and bordering streets.
8) Know that there is nothing wrong with you being firm with your children. Sometimes you might even need to be stern in order to effect a correction.
9 Actively show your love to your children in your speaking to them and in accommodating their failings.
10) Actively seek out opportunities of constructive engagements for your children. Enroll them in classes where they can learn valuable life-skills.
Omoru writes from the UK