PARENTING IN THE NEW DISPENSATION
What is parenting?
This is the process of caring for your child or children. It can be good or bad parenting. There are parenting skills which we shall look into in this teaching. Prov. 22:6; Eph. 6:4; Prov. 22:15; Prov. 23:13-14; Deut. 6:7-9; Gen 18:17-19.
Who are our children?
They are products of marriage. Gen. 4:1-2. They are gifts from God Ps. 127:3. They should not be product of chance or accidents. They are leaders of tomorrow.
Who controls our children?
We have 5 basic controlling forces:
- Parents, the Church or Religion, Institutions (Nursery to University), the Government and the Society.
- Yes, the above forces exist, yet parents are still in absolute control if training/parenting starts early. Deut. 11:16-21.
There are 5 Basic steps/ ways of child training/parenting with the acronym ‘STUDY’.
S – SECURING THE STAGES AND PROCESSES OF PERSONALITY DEVELOPMENT OF THE CHILDREN/CHILD
We have about 5 stages from 0 year to 12 years/Adolescent age:
Oral Stage [0-1 year]
Everything goes to the mouth – Do you allow him/her to pick what drops on the ground and put into the mouth? Don’t under indulge or over indulge - he will become either selfish or too dependent.
Anal Stage [2-3 years]
Toilet training – there should be regulation of defecation & urination. Smack the child for any misbehavior e.g. when he defecates anyhow. The training here determines the child’s orderliness in future i.e. cleanliness.
Phallic Stage [4-5 years]
This is a manipulation stage. They fumble their sexual organs. They have an indelible memory line at this stage. Parents should be careful how they handle their sexual activities in the presence of their children. If not handled well, the children may end up living immoral lives.
Latency Stage [6-12 years]
This is a period of calm; period of asking too many questions, there should be readiness to answer their question. Don’t ever say “I don’t know” to them otherwise you will push them to believe their teachers more than you and they will stop asking you further questions. It is the time of talking/speaking out. You will see that communication works at this stage, both verbal & non-verbal. It is also a school age when they are occupied with school work.
Genital Stage [12-adolescent]
This is the advent of puberty time. There is physical & physiological development and changes. Their sexual tensions increases or heightens - the parent ability to manage the first four above, determines how the child will go. If the child has experienced peace, love and care in the family, he/she will expect that in his/her home. Study their temperament as well. It will also enable you to handle them as different individuals not as ‘my children’.
T – TEACHING & TRAINING DEUT. 6:7-10: WHAT DO YOU TEACH?
- Spiritual values – adhering to the family altar, Christian principles, importance of prayer and Bible study
- Moral values – Decency, honesty, obedience, value of life, civic objectives, perseverance etc.
- Economic values – Handling properties, being hard working, the art of saving and controlling money – what money is and what it is not. Giving to God and the needy
- Formation of good habit – The habit of greeting people, respect for seniors, constituted authorities, laws of the land, cleanliness, self-control and orderliness.
Instruments of teaching & training are as follows:
- Hands – to hold and discipline
- Mouth – to teach and to correct
- Eyes - to direct and teach
- Cane – to remove foolishness Prov. 23:13
- Word of God – to give direction to life
U – UNDERSTANDING AND NOT UNDERMINING THE PROBLEMS ENCOUNTERED DURING ADOLESCENCE
These problems or responses that are physical, emotional & social arise partly from heredity and partly from the environment and can give rise to the child’s personality
- Sex Problems – Adolescent girls wears a feminine look and longs to be admired and the adolescent boy feels a masculine touch – they are moved into establishing relationship with the opposite sex. The feeling is natural but the early good works done by the mother/parent will go a long way in forging godly response to this issue.
- Development Problem or somatic variations – The adolescent becomes more & more aware of his/her physique and differences in body development. The height, size, complexion of their body organs, some feel too short or too tall when compared with their mates. Parents are to do all to remove complex from the child. You can send the child to a good school, dress her neatly, and use more of complimentary words for her.
- The social/economic problems – The adolescent wants to be trusted with money. He/she would not like you to come and pay his/her school fees in the school. Parents should teach him how to be responsible with money. Don’t expose them to little or much money, either, may lead him/her into problems.
- Problem of Ego-centralism – This is about having self-identity, self-centeredness. He feels he is important now, since he can think, act, feel by himself – At this stage his feelings should be respected. Correction should be by love. You may discover that he may not be concerned about the family issues but insist on collecting his pocket money back to school.
- Problem of nervousness – In order to uphold good image, the adolescent gets nervous over any little thing e.g. exams, or any competitive activity - Here parents must have taught them the essence of adequate preparation to any assignment, i.e. time consciousness
- Intellectual Problem – This is a period of argument and debating over little issues. Because of his reasoning power he feels he can challenge and question adult rights at home, school, church, society etc. At this stage, they may not want to go to the parent church again, even when the father is the pastor there. They will prefer all these Churches where they dance and jump with uncontrolled instruments. Parents can encourage them to belong to literary and debating societies, essay writing activities in the school.
- Problem of aggression – This can come as a result of wanting to establish his own personality or it can be developed as early childhood environment experience. In this case, he needs guidance and the word of God.
- Day dreaming Problem – Adolescent by nature live in a world of fantasy. They think about wonderful future without hard work, thinking what is impracticable. Sometimes engage them in fasting, vigil programmes. Let them know that it is God that creates wealth, not by their power.
- Social Problem – They always ask this inner questions, “can I dance, talk or walk like A or B?” Sometimes they change their walking style - They should be advised to relate with people of the same interest and be cautious of whom they go with.
- Problem of Juvenile Delinquency – This is the problem of wrong doing by a young person – which is against the social norm e.g. stealing, vandalism, terrorism, drug addiction, truancy etc. The solution is to always be available and watchful.
D – DISCUSSION, DIALOGUE & DISCIPLE
This is all about dedicating a good number of hours with the children in talking, chatting, communicating. Discuss happening issues with your children. Assess their level of reasoning by throwing some issues to them. Ask them reasons for doing what they did some time ago. Ask them their best music, film. Friend and novel, their role model or mentor. Let them give you reasons for each. Your availability and closeness will make them open up to you. If there are areas you don’t agree with them, tell them your reason and allow them to understand it, if not allow them to make their own comments, then get substantial reason either in the Bible or circular reason why you think it is wrong.
Don’t divulge any information you gathered from them anyhow. Sometimes some girls or boys may not want a parent to discuss with their other parent what they discussed, but if you must, don’t let them know. If not, you lose their confidence, Discipline immediately the offence is still fresh, especially after investigation and you must have made them know your boundaries.
When you discipline defiant and disobedient behaviour, let them know why and show love after. Then watch their behaviour.
There are various ways to discipline a child - you can use denial of what he loves most, until you see a change. Flogging is not the right method for an adolescent, unless the mother has failed in the earlier stages.
Children between the ages of 1-10 years may be flogged, but flogging an adolescent does not solve the problem. They need dialogue. Sometimes, you may need to change their environment, especially, if you have a good relation that has well behaved children. Dialogue over their TV programmes, video tapes, types of friends they keep, how they dress, places they go on Sundays and Holidays. Prov. 22:15, Prov. 23:13-14.
Y – YOU AS THE PARENT GEN. 18:17-19
What type of parent are you? There is a saying that “A Snake must give birth to a long animal”. You are the epistle written and read by your children. The saying of nature/nurture controversy still holds today – Parents physiologically deposit in their children some physical traits or character through the gene. They also influence their children with environmental trait, physiological traits of behaviour, your dressings, height, shape, voice, weight while environmental trait are more of behaviour, your dressings, your reactions to issues. Etc. Do you smoke and drink alcohol as a father? Do you talk and nag at your husband as a mother. Do you flirt as a father or mother, yet you advise them not to do so. You are bringing more confusion on them and that is why when they decide to do the opposite, you as a parent can’t talk or convince them. Eph. 6:4, Col 3:21.
Lastly, you should pray for your children to remove evil labels from them which might have come as a result of an unguarded word from you against her or from neighbor or from any other person whom you may not know. Remember Jabesh in 1 Chron. 4:10.
Summarily, BECOME AND MAINTAIN THE LIFE YOU WANT YOUR CHILDREN TO LIVE.
Written by Mrs. Ijeoma Onwuakpa, Mama Yard – All Saint’s Church Surulere.