• September 26th, 2020

Raising Naneni - ‘Emma is deputy minister at 23 while you are playing with your life!’

Apparently, parents are now interrogating their children as to why Emma Theophilus, who is merely 23 years old, is now a deputy minister. Despite this being a joke among the youth, there is a lot of truth behind their laughter.

My friend Uaripi has requested that ‘Raising Naneni’ addresses the issue of how parents continuously compare their children to their peers. Of course, it is not always done with malicious intent, sometimes parents merely want to give their child a little push to perform better. After all, the world is demanding and as a parent, you want to make sure your child has the right tools to enable them to survive.

There is a lot of pressure in the world and from as early as kindergarten, children are already pressurised to be exceptional – academically, to be an exceptional sportsperson and pressured to be orderly.
Comparing your children to others makes them feel less than their peers, which can lead them to automatically achieve their abilities. Have you ever noticed how, even some of the least smart people have so much confidence to publicly say the silliest of things, yet, at times, the most intelligent child is always second-guessing themselves?

As parents, we need to be our children’s loudest cheerleaders. We need to be their morale boosters, simultaneously encouraging them to improve on some aspects of their lives because every human being is a work in progress, including parents.

Despite the fact that your child may not be studying as much as you want them to, your constant yelling and pressure do not make them study harder but merely cause them more stress and disorientation.   
When your child develops feelings of inadequacy, they are at risk of a range of negative outcomes, such as anxiety, depression, lack of self-esteem and even substance abuse or having trouble with law and order.

Most of us believe that stress is an adult condition, but the truth is, even young children experience stress. When you compare your child to others, you are bound to stress them out and at times, they may feel the need to overwork themselves to gain your approval. And whenever someone jumps through hoops to please another person, it is always damaging to that person’s well-being.

I have two nephews: one failed grade 12 and the other, grade 12. The latter is currently improving his grades, while the former seems more interested in making money through other means. However, they are both certain that education is not for them. The former’s name is Madi. He is very persistent, self-reliant and a go-getter. He has the mentally of a winner; he has the vision of a millionaire and I believe in him. He is waiting for his breakthrough and I pray to God it happens for him.

When it comes to underachieving, we need to be able to differentiate between children who are struggling because of special circumstances in their lives from those who simply have different or rather unorthodox dreams.

Sometimes, children – even the most intelligent of them all – perform poorly in life, e.g. academically because their home environment is toxic (parents fight often, one is an alcoholic or they are abused by caregivers) or perhaps poverty has demoralised them. 

At other times, children just have different goals. They may be performing poorly because they are not following their life’s path and should they find the path to their destiny, these children would surprise you. When you encourage your child to follow their dreams, you boost their confidence and make them goal achievers. A child who is following their passion is happier, independent, determined and doesn’t give up easily.

The challenge for parents is their ability to encourage their children to pursue their dreams, simultaneously ensuring they are aware of how the world’s system operates. While following their dreams, they should be aware of the cost of life and be ready to face the consequences of their decisions.
Congratulations to Emma Theophilus, but not everyone needs to be a minister. 

*My name is Paulina N. Moses (PRP), mother to my four-year-old daughter, Naneni. This column hopes to create momentum for positive parenting by candidly discussing everything about parenting, while a network of millennial parents who support and cheer one another on. – soljett@gmail.com

Staff Reporter
2020-03-27 07:53:03 | 5 months ago

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