Your obligations to your kids

Your obligations to your kids

I try to make Tuesday newsletters about you, the parents. It’s usually about your own care and pursuits. However with what I see on the internet lately about how mothers in Africa are taking their job as parents, I think we need to emphasise the responsibility that compelled you to sign up for this newsletter in the first place.

You already know that parenting is a daunting task that is filled with so much reward when it is done right. Everyday we wake up is an opportunity to do it better. And with so many information out there about parenting, it is easy to feel overwhelmed about what it is to do and what not to do.

Here are a few things that I want you to note:

You are the parent of your own kid. You know them, so do what’s best for your kids.

Your job is not to be a cool parent or a ‘woke’ parent. Your job is to be the parent that your child needs per time. This means, you do not need to convince people out there about your parenting styles. The only person who needs to agree with you is your partner to do the best for your child. I say this because I see so many parents trying too hard to be cool with their parenting styles while neglecting what the child actually needs. I see so many parents getting so relaxed about parenting leaving their children to be raised by the streets. This is the child that you have been given. You face that responsibility and deposit on good things to that child.

You will not be your child’s favourite all the time. And that’s okay. There are times that your attempts to gear your kids in the right direction will be met with resistance from them. It’s fine. Love your kids, be kind to them, be firm and do what’s right for them.

Now, what are your obligations to your kids?

Love and care for your kids. Be kind to your kids.

Teach them values that helps them to do well in their lives. Raise well mannered and well behaved kids. There’s nothing cool about raising badly behaved children. Raise children with good character.

Make sure that your kids are educated. As they learn from the books in school and at home, expose them to life skills that are essential to their growth and development through life.

Teach them to be independent and confident individuals. There’s no pride in having kids who still depend solely on you in their 20s or 30s. Let them be confident in your love and in their own abilities. Correct in love and validate their strengths.

Raise your children to have a belief system. Something other than you should motivate your kids. This is not about religion. It is about a belief in something; a driving force that keeps them grounded and focused when you are not there; something that makes them want to be or do good even when no one is looking. If it is God for you, great. If it is ethics, science or whatever it is for you, it’s good. Nature harbours a vacuum. If you do not raise them with a belief system, they will find one for themselves in the future. And what they find might go against all the nurture and trainings that you have given them so far.

Teach your kids to take responsibility. Let them have some responsibilities in the house and teach them to be responsible for their actions.

Nurture the talents and skills in your kids. Whatever you are not clear on, ask people who can help you decipher them. No talents of your kids should go to waste now. Pay attention to see the talents in your kids.

Whatever values, character, belief and love you teach your kids to possess, you demonstrate that to them and to everyone around you. Be your kids’ example of every good thing. When you are at your whim and you are thinking of acting out, think about your kids. Be the good that you want to see in them.

It’s very easy to write all these. It’s a lot harder to live by them. But I trust you to always try your best. I trust you to raise kids who are the best versions of themselves. I am rooting for you as I am sure you are rooting for me.