As parents, we often find ourselves seeking advice, wise counsel, support and assistance in the course of this lifelong journey called raising children.
We are indeed lucky and blessed that in this fast paced world, there are still avenues, opportunities, institutions, communities, online and offline portals where one can obtain reliable information to help address a variety of issues. Personal experience and other people’s experiences are equally useful in this journey. It is worth mentioning that these issues are not always in relation to challenges that a parent may face. The quest or even cry for help could be purely in respect of situations where an intentional parent wishes to acquire more knowledge, practical steps and tool sets to increase their knowledge and experience as a parent and for personal development.
I am an advocate of self-development and a believer that no knowledge is ever wasted. The more you learn, the more knowledge and experience you acquire and become more confident in dealing with various facets of life not just parenting. I will therefore add that whenever an opportunity presents itself for self-development, you should jump at it, grab the bull by its horns and do it! Do not procrastinate, instead plan and make the most of opportunities. This is of course if it meets with your schedule, finances and other matters that would hamper your attendance or engagement in the course.
Let’s assume that as a parent, guardian or caregiver you believe that seeking help or finding solutions is the way forward to deal with challenges you may face in navigating the unpredictable waters of parenting. This is absolutely acceptable. As humans we should be open to seeking help. Seeking help is not a sign of weakness. The sooner you seek help the better. It is pointless hesitating when you already know what you should do. By failing to take action, you are deceiving yourself to think that in delaying the process the matter may magically go away. Sadly, it won’t! Seeking help can be from a higher being, God, professionals and so on. It is important to face the truth, treat the root cause of the problem and find ways to manage the issues. Do not wait until you or the young person in your care hits rock bottom before seeking ways to address the root problem. We all know the famous saying “early detection saves lives.” This equally applies to the problems that one faces in their parenting journey. Early action in many cases will save time, life, heartache and produce effective management of the issues.
There is nothing that cannot be addressed. Matters such as health, all manner of addiction, drugs, sex, pornography, excessive shopping, gambling, poor financial management, mental health, bereavement can all be managed effectively when appropriate help is sought. Help is usually at hand, ask, search and you will find the assistance required.
We all know the famous saying “It takes a village to raise a child.” What exactly does it mean? So, we need a village – this means that raising children is not the sole responsibility of their biological parents even if the parents spend more time and have more say in the children’s lives. It involves children being loved and cared for by a variety of people and developing healthy relationships with lots of different people such as grandparents, aunts, cousins, members of their church, mosques, religious institutions, community, schools, colleges and so on. It also means that there are people who feel a sense of shared responsibility for the welfare of young people they come into contact with. The “village” is there to help when a parent, caregiver or guardian is struggling or has questions to ask. There are experienced, trusted and responsible villagers that are available and willing to help parents’ et al when the need arises. This option should be utilised when needed.
Unfortunately many people wait too long before seeking help. We need to change our mindsets and avoid being reluctant to seek help in our parenting journey. The longer you leave a problem to fester the higher the likelihood of it becoming more difficult to address. Once you start noticing worrying signs, do not ignore them. Make enquiries, ask questions, communicate with the child, monitor the situation and seek help if you are unable to address the issues alone. It could be a simple matter like a child who refuses to go to school daily or who you drop off at school but he/ she truants. Speak to the child, ask questions, involve the school, and seek help from the school on how the problem can be better managed. Why wait until the child misses school for a month or more before taking action? Act as soon as you are aware of the child’s reluctance to attend school.
Work on challenges sooner rather than later. Avoid being in denial and don’t wait until it’s too late to act and then find yourself or your child undergoing unnecessary pain. Acknowledge the root of the problem and address it.