It is one thing for your child to answer you back rudely, and it is another for them to walk away from a conversation. I always want mine to be around as I talk, well, especially when I am speaking so much sense to her because of a mistake she has made. Of course with a hope that the conversation will end with her apologizing and saying she will not do it again. Occasionally it works that way, the other times;I am left asking ‘Have you heard? Have you understood? Then following her wherever she leads me, still making a point even when I know she doesn’t want to hear, basically because am the mother. Two times I have almost sold her (she is fine with this by the way, she says if I sell her, I should use the money to buy us a bigger house, then I wonder ‘there will not be ‘us ‘ anymore. I will have sold you!)
The first incident was in bedroom matters, there is no way I will collect dirty clothes, put in the basket, wash them, fold them and arrange for you (not after we made some recommendations in the beginning of the year) the only thing I should be doing is the washing, which you should enjoy while it lasts. So we had some drama, as I tried fixing this. I am busy explaining how she should be more responsible, and she is saying nothing, so mute, nodding often as I ask close ended questions. Then when she thinks I am done, she walks away; I listen keenly to confirm she has locked herself in her room. I am left wondering what my mother would do. Ooh, let’s not go there, I can’t try that, she screams when spanked, she screams so loud; neighbors call for the guard.
The second incident, we had another pencil circus. Teachers please tell us, where do pencils go? Three pencils in a week? What are they drawing? I am I being played here? Is she hawking pencils in class? Okay, I buy a pack of pencils, and because I trust you, I give you all of them, feeling so good that I have done some wholesale buying, I won’t hear of pencils till May, then after two weeks you need more? Do you know my mother used to divide one pencil into three pieces and I was given one piece which was replaced after coming with evidence that I can’t hold it anymore? So, I was there talking as she stared at the floor, wondering when I will finish and give her money to go buy her pencils. Then, she stood up, and left. This one I could not handle ‘Young lady, come back here!’ she came back, ‘where do you think you are going?’ Ok, she gave me more silence, and at the end I got the pencils because if I don’t, the school will call.
I keep learning this girl, she is transforming every day, growing so fast. I flash back, and realize my mum used to lecture me, it was so intense, especially on boyfriends, it was so irritating, I preferred being beaten up and left to cry myself to sleep. My dad gave me one ‘mathematics lecture’ every beginning of term, I stood there, panicking from head to toe, trying to think of something else to think about, with no success. So I absorbed all he said, how there is no life without mathematics. Bottom line, I also didn’t like being scolded, I preferred being talked to during fun times, like as we harvest maize, or air them every morning, as we cook, or wash dishes, talk to me, don’t call me for a meeting and let me stand before you. Come to think of it, those meetings left me scared and tormented.
Then I grow up and automatically do the same thing. Look at me! I know very well when I am scolding her she does not listen she walks away! (This one still has to stop) Every parent should know their child, know what is effective, know how to correct and what will build not destroy. It is a process, a step at a time, and I know mine takes my advice and correction very well, especially when I throw it between conversations. I also get to hear her side of the story, (I got to learn that I buy poor quality pencils).
Being authoritative and shouting at children does not work; it actually causes them to be distant. It is more effective to have conversations with them, and be ready to hear them out too. They are a blessing from the Lord, even when they make mistakes.Y