Don’t be too busy for your child

It is really important to be available for your children, not just catering for their needs, but also being there to understand their feelings, moods and be a companion. This is not to say that you overwhelm them with your presence, there should be moderation in all.

Nollywood actress and mother of two, Dakore Akande, while speaking at the Mums Parenting Conference in Lagos said: “I liken parenting to the relationship between Jesus and his Shepherd; you tend to your flock, which are your children, you want them to lie beside still waters, you want to make a way for them, but at the same time, there are no two children that are the same. You have to find out their personality.

“Every child has their own unique features; what works for one may not work for the other. This brings us to being present as a parent; I understand the struggle, I am a working mum. Sometimes I am on set for months and I am not there for my children all the time and there is a lot of guilt that comes with that. But what I do to make up is that once I have downtime, I am fully available. So I make sure that they know that mummy is there.”

Mrs. Akande stressed that for some who have domestic help, it is important to carry them along with your parenting technique, hence when you are not there, you are sure that they are impacting those values you really want your children to imbibe. That is your job as a parent, it is not in place to have anything go, because it may turn out you don’t even know who your children are at the end of the day and this is very delicate.

She noted that it is important we are present for our children, “if I wasn’t close to my children, I won’t know when they needed help, and because I understand their moods, it makes it easier for me to tell when there is a change. Also, when they are misbehaving in public and I give them an eye, they understand what message I am passing and they sit up.

“Take time to watch your children because there are so many sick and deranged people out there. And with the social media age, our children are growing up with Ipads, we have to also be aware of what they are watching. There are a lot of agendas out there that is putting our children in the way we would not want.

“For my kids, they use Ipads, and I will notice they watch cartoons on Youtube kids and once, I saw a cartoon of Barbie and Ken but in sexual terms, and I screamed. So imagine if I didn’t notice, then my children would have become used to habits their minds are not prepared for. But growing up, we didn’t have to deal with all of these sexualised worlds.

“We now live in a digital age where sex sells everything and so we have to be aware and be mindful of those we have around us. Even though I am a mum of girls, boys too are vulnerable; there have been incidences of sexual abuse in males. As a matter of policy, my daughters do not sit on any man’s lap- be it uncle, staff or driver.”

The parenting enthusiast said that we should also be mindful of our attitude towards people around us as our children are watching. “I was raised to be compassionate, my mum was very keen on that. So, we are having a milestone birthday very soon and I will be taking my children to the orphanage because I want them to understand that they are quite privileged to have good education and wellbeing but then they should be mindful of the sufferings of others.”

While noting that children do not respond to what we say as parents, but how we say and act, Mrs. Akande said that how we treat our staff, friends and people around us is very much important. “We cannot give what we don’t have. As parents, we should seek help, no one knows it all, and when we reach out to others we can learn and then infuse into our parenting style, so we can get the best out of our children.”

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