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Pandemic Vulnerable Child Care

Covid 19: an opportunity to become a better Parent

Covid 19; an opportunity to become a better Parent by Folashade Bamigboye

Parenting is one of the most important and challenging job any of us can have, yet only a few parents are intentional about acquiring skills to help them raise children that will become responsible adults.

Some people believe every family will have “the black sheep” that is, a child that gives the family trouble and heartaches. Sometimes, you could do all you know to be a good parent but the child still turns out bad. This lets you know that Parenting is a serious task but not an impossible one.

Parenting is not a short or medium term project, it is a lifelong process, that is why no matter how grown up your child is, you will still see him/her as a child and want to baby them but they will get to a stage where they will start saying “am no longer a child, leave me alone”

This is why, you must make use of the first 7years (0-7yrs) of your child to plant in him/her the seeds of greatness, responsibility, kindness, respect, hardwork, etc. If you were constructing a large building, you have to make sure that it has a solid foundation so that the rest of the building can stand tall and strong for many years to come. If the foundation is not strong, the building will have trouble standing on its own. Just like buildings, if the foundations of our children are not solid, they will find it more difficult to be successful in their relationships with others, work, health, etc The first 7years of a child’s life is when the child gathers all that he/she will use for the rest of life. Sow the seeds of everything you want your child to become within those years, that is the solid foundation that you can now begin to build other values on. But even if you have missed the opportunity of those vital years, don’t give up, you can start now!

We all know what Parenting is but do we know “What Parenting is not” Like I usually tell people, parenting is not just about giving birth to a child or adopting a child. No! its much more than that. As a parent, you need to get the right skills to help you in your parenting journey so you don’t just work based on assumptions. The term “parent” is not used for only someone that has given birth to a child but it applies to an array of individuals whose presence impacts the health and well-being of children, e’g grand parents, aunts, uncles, brothers, etc

There is no universally accepted principle that be prescribed for effective parenting because people are different and have different issues, but there is one style of parenting that never fails and that is POSITIVE PARENTING. In Parenting, your perception of the child is very important. How do you see your child? ; stubborn?, disobedient?, bad?, dullard? or how?

Recently, one parent said her 4year old daughter has a “hardened heart” because she does not do what she is told, she is strong willed……..do you know that this perception of “hardened heart” will be at the back of the parents’ mind anytime they are dealing with the child? They will judge her actions and even when she tries, her parents will always believe her heart is hard. It is very important how you see or describe your child; your WORDS are powerful in shaping your child’s life.

Be a Positive Parent! The idea behind positive parenting is that “… all children are born good, are altruistic and desire to do the right thing” So no matter what your child does, always believe the best and see the best in the child. LOVE THE CHILD BUT HATE THE ACTION

Generally, there are Four types of Parenting styles used by Parents. They are:

  1. Authoritarian or Disciplinarian, also called Helicopter Parenting
  2. Permissive or Indulgent
  3. Uninvolved
  4. Authoritative

Let us quickly look at each of them as described by Amy Morin, LCSW.  You can identify the one that describes you and consider how you can improve on your parenting:

Authoritarian Parenting

  • Do you believe kids should be seen and not heard?
  • When it comes to rules, you believe it’s “my way or the highway.”
  • You don’t take your child’s feelings into consideration.

If any of that ring true, you might be an authoritarian parent. Authoritarian parents believe kids should follow the rules without exception.

Authoritarian parents are famous for saying, “Because I said so,” when a child questions the reasons behind a rule. They are not interested in negotiating and their focus is on obedience.

They also don’t allow kids to get involved in problem-solving challenges or obstacles. Instead, they make the rules and enforce the consequences with little regard for a child’s opinion.

Authoritarian parents may use punishments instead of discipline. So rather than teach a child how to make better choices, they’re invested in making kids feel sorry for their mistakes.

Impact of the Authoritarian style on Children

  • Children who grow up with strict authoritarian parents tend to follow rules much of the time. But, their obedience comes at a price.
  • Children of authoritarian parents are at a higher risk of developing self-esteem problems because their opinions aren’t valued.
  • They may also become hostile or aggressive. Rather than think about how to do things better in the future, they often focus on the anger they feel toward their parents. Since authoritarian parents are often strict, their children may grow to become good liars in an effort to avoid punishment.

Permissive Parenting : Do any of these statements sound like you?

  • You set rules but rarely enforce them.
  • You don’t give out consequences very often.
  • You think your child will learn best with little interference from you.

If those statements sound familiar, you might be a permissive parent. Permissive parents are lenient. They often only step in when there’s a serious problem.

They’re quite forgiving and they adopt an attitude of “kids will be kids.” When they do use consequences, they may not make those consequences stick. They might give privileges back if a child begs or they may allow a child to get out of time-out early if he promises to be good.

Permissive parents usually take on more of a friend role than a parent role. They often encourage their children to talk with them about their problems, but they usually don’t put much effort into discouraging poor choices or bad behavior.

Impact of the Permissive style on Children

  • Kids who grow up with permissive parents are more likely to struggle academically.
  • They may exhibit more behavioral problems as they don’t appreciate authority and rules. They often have low self-esteem and may report a lot of sadness.
  • They’re also at a higher risk for health problems, like obesity, because permissive parents struggle to limit junk food intake. They are even more likely to have dental cavities because permissive parents often don’t enforce good habits, like ensuring a child brushes his teeth.

Uninvolved Parenting

  • You don’t ask your child about school or homework.
  • You rarely know where your child is or who she is with.
  • You don’t spend much time with your child.

If those statements sound familiar, you might be an uninvolved parent. Uninvolved parents tend to have little knowledge of what their children are doing. There tend to be few rules. Children may not receive much guidance, nurturing, and parental attention.

Uninvolved parents expect children to raise themselves. They don’t devote much time or energy into meeting children’s basic needs. Uninvolved parents may be neglectful but it’s not always intentional. A parent with mental health issues or substance abuse problems, for example, may not be able to care for a child’s physical or emotional needs on a consistent basis.

At other times, uninvolved parents lack knowledge about child development. And sometimes, they’re simply overwhelmed with other problems, like work, paying bills, and managing a household.

Impact of the Uninvolved style of parenting on Children

  • Children with uninvolved parents are likely to struggle with self-esteem issues.
  • They tend to perform poorly in school. They also exhibit frequent behavior problems and rank low in happiness.

Authoritative Parenting: Do any of these statements sound like you?

  • You put a lot of effort into creating and maintaining a positive relationship with your child.
  • You explain the reasons behind your rules.
  • You enforce rules and give consequences, but take your child’s feelings into consideration.

If those statements sound familiar, you may be an authoritative parent. Authoritative parents have rules and they use consequences, but they also take their children’s opinions into account. They validate their children’s feelings, while also making it clear that the adults are ultimately in charge.

Authoritative parents invest time and energy into preventing behavior problems before they start. They also use positive discipline strategies to reinforce good behavior, like praise and reward systems.

Impact of the Authoritative style on Children

  • Researchers have found kids who have authoritative parents are most likely to become responsible adults who feel comfortable expressing their opinions.
  • Children raised with authoritative discipline tend to be happy and successful. They’re also more likely to be good at making decisions and evaluating safety risks on their own.

Which style is best?

Few of us fit neatly into one single parenting style, but rather raise children using a combination of styles. Ideally, we should think about our children and what they need from us at specific points in time. For example, while a parent might not typically adopt an authoritarian parenting style, there might be times in a child’s life when that style is needed. Or you might know an authoritarian parent who is nurturing, contrary to the description above.

When it comes to parenting styles, we all know that one size doesn’t fit all. Whatever style you have to use at any point in time, kindly take note of the child’s temperament and ensure that your parenting style is helping your child to thrive.

COVID 19 ISSUES

Before Covid19, many parents were trying their best to raise their children right amidst several other responsibilities. For the working class, there would have been several times when you hardly had time for your kids. Covid 19 made government to mandate everyone to stay at home. Almost all Parents no longer rush out to work like before so you now have more time to observe and notice new things about your child.

The months of staying at home are gradually coming to an end and it might never happen again so it should not be spent on watching all your favorite movies or just chatting on phone. This period is like a ‘second chance” for most parents to bond with their kids and teach them good values. The remaining few days/months of the Covid-19 lockdown can be a good time to wrap our brains around the realities of this pandemic and we should all work towards making the most of this time at home.

THIS PANDEMIC HAS MADE MORE CHILDREN VULNERABLE IN THE HANDS OF PREDATORS

  • The kids that go to school and return later in the evening, and are usually busy with household chores on return are now home all day with family and friends who could abuse the kids
  • As soon as coronavirus locked down economic activities, some parents could no longer afford to fend for their children and wards, therefore many children are released to go and “play” with their friends till night thereby making them more vulnerable to abuse and lost of interest in school work
  • Many kids are being cajoled by men with biscuits, sweets, fake promises, food in the light of surviving this pandemic

Looking at these issues and many more not mentioned here, the question I want to ask you is, “what imprint will the Covid-19 era leave on the bodies and minds of your children?

As a parent, Covid19 era has provided another opportunity for you to spend time with your child or children. As a positive parent, you should do the following to ensure they have all-round development while at home:

  • Know Where Your Kid Is
  • Teach them about God, have prayer and bible study time
  • Make Sure That Your Kid Have A Healthy Diet and exercise: Children need healthy meals and exercise to have normal growth, including both the physical and mental development.
  • Show Your Love: show real interest in what they love, play with them, gist, etc
  • Minimize Pressure/Rules: you should not shout at your children and use force.
  • Accept Your Child: don’t label your child as it can encourage bad behavior in your child rather, nurture your child and help them overcome negative behavior or traits.
  • Correct Mistakes, Don’t Punish: Avoid using demeaning and disrespectful tone on your children. Plus, don’t reprimand your children in front of their friends or in public. He/She will get embarrassed and have esteem issues.
  • Be consistent when you enforce limits. Don’t say I will beat you and don’t do it. Ensure that rewards are lost when rules are broken. For example, you might say “After you read your books, you can play outside” (which means that a child who does not read, will not get to play outside. Period.)
  • Demonstrate Respect: Treat the child in the same respectful way you would like to be treated. Teach your child good communication and skills to have respect for you, family and others. Teach him/her how to handle or control anger so that they won’t physically or verbally abuse anyone
  • Limit Game Playing & TV Watching : Don’t use TV & Games to occupy them so they won’t disturb you. Too much of this is bad. For those that have older children, do not allow them to stay in their room all day watching movies or engrossed on their phones. Set a timer to help children make transitions. This helps kids to know what’s expected of them and may also involve giving them a choice in terms of the amount of time wasted on unproductive things
  • Belonging and Significance Principle: Ensure that your child feels important and as if he/she belongs. For example, remind your child that he/she is really good at washing plates and that the family needs this help in order to have their daily meals.
  • Give Kids options to choose from: Provide the child with two choices for positive behaviors so that he/she feels a sense of empowerment. For example, you might say “would you rather take your bath before or after you brush your teeth?”
  • Make a Big Deal about good acts: Use positive reinforcements as meaningful way to get desired behaviors. Reward such behaviors with praise, affection, appreciation, privileges, etc.
  • Set A Positive Example: Be consistent

In Conclusion:

Parents make all the difference in the lives of Children because the first relationship children develop is usually with their parents. Children want intimacy and the opportunity to communicate with someone about the most important things in life. Unfortunately, many parents hardly have time to talk, gist and get to know their children well. Parents should use this Covid 19 period to change and bond well with their kids.

There are so many things out there waiting to get their attention, hence you must invest quality time in training your child. If you don’t do it, the media, peer group and society at large will. Healthy children don’t just happen, they are usually created by healthy parents and it’s an intentional process of making up your mind to raise children in a way that empowers them to reach their full potential as resilient and fulfilled individuals.

You are the role model your child is looking at. If you gossip, lie, have anger issues, treat people with disrespect, etc your child will certainly notice. Children are sponges that soak up everything around them, and many times we forget that they are watching us. Your child will notice if you do behave in the same way that you expect of them. Your child watches your behaviors to gauge how to behave themselves. Set A Positive Example: Be consistent.

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