Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Parenting and Children is Going Interactive

No two people on earth are ever the same. It is therefore no surprise that every child is different. Even children that are born to the same parents are different. For example, one child might be an extrovert while the other child is a complete introvert.

Our survey shows that parents have different issues they need answers to concerning their children. And one parent’s issues at any point in time may not necessarily be another’s.

This is why Parenting and Children has decided to go interactive. By this, parents will be allowed to write, or call in to ask any questions or express any concerns they have about their children’s well being.

Whether your concerns for your child/ren are medical, psychological, behavioural or social in nature, we encourage parents to get across to the Parenting and Children column for solutions and answers to these problems. We on our part promise to always try to give you the best answer possible to the best of our ability.

Below are replies to questions posed by two parents last week:

“I’m on exclusive breastfeeding. I’m surprised that just after 4 months I got pregnant again. I was told that exclusive breastfeeding of a baby is a contraceptive on its own and the mother will not get pregnant. It actually worked for my sister who has two children. Why didn’t it work for me? (Yetunde, Lagos)

This is an issue which many mothers need to know about. First time mothers are especially prone to this mistake. It is true that exclusive breastfeeding is a kind of contraceptive for a nursing mother, but as in most things that has to do with the body, it depends on the type of body.

There are some women who are very fertile and such women might have to use some other form of family planning in other not to get pregnant. Even when a woman is just normally fertile, she can still be at risk of getting pregnant during exclusive breastfeeding.

There are nursing mothers who have been reported to get pregnant again as early as two months after the birth of a baby. My advise therefore is that any woman that is nursing a baby whether exclusive or not should get herself on family planning as soon as possible after birth to avoid any unforeseen circumstances. “

Dear columnist, I need advise on an issue. One of my children seems not to have interest in his studies. He hates reading, has a short attention span and can’t concentrate on reading or writing for long. His grades are always low and his position in class is average to low.

What makes it worse is that his sister is the exact opposite. She has very excellent grades in school and has always come out tops in her class. She is one of the stars in the school. This issue bothers me because my son is the first child. What can I do since he’ll be enrolling for WAEC and JAMB next year and I don’t want him to fail. (Mrs Igwe, Lagos)

I sympathise with you Mrs Igwe and understand your concerns for your child. Even though you did not tell me the age of the boy, I can guess he should be in his teens (probably between 15 – 17 years) since you said he’ll be writing WAEC next year.

At this age if you have not noticed any specific talents in him, you would have noticed that there are some things he particularly likes. For example is he very good with computer or music, or does he like to repair things in the house or do some engineering things?

Perhaps if you could make him see how his grades can help him to pursue his dream, then you may get better results from him. For example if he likes to repair electrical things in the house. Make him understand that for him to learn how to do this better he has to get into the university or polytechnic. And for him to achieve this, he needs to put more effort into his math and physics. Because without passing those two subjects and at least 3 others he will not be admitted.

However, I would like to implore you not to abuse, insult or underrate him. And above all never compare him to his sister. This is because, it has been proven over and over again, not only in Nigeria but all over the world that it is not always high grades in school that makes a child succeed as an adult. Just look at Bill Gates.

Your child may not have high grades but may be talented in other ways. Your job as a parent is to look for those talents, and encourage your child to harness it in other to locate his glorious destiny. Good Luck!

Please make comments or ask your questions below or call 08052037371.  Happy parenting.


  1. Dear parenting and children,
    i recently caught my 3 year old daughter spying on the alphabet chart hung on the wall of my living room to complete her homework. I bought the alphabet chart to teach her the alphabets. But i was shocked and disappointed when i found out that she was actually using it to cheat on her home work.
    When i told her that what she did was very wrong she just looked at me blankly. How do i communicate to a 3 year old the gravity of the offence of cheating?
    Mrs Okon, Lagos

    1. Dear mrs Okon,
      you must understand what motivates a child to do what he or she does in other to know how to address the situation.
      In the case of your 3 year old daughter, she might not even see this as cheating. Young children always look for the fastest and easiest way to get out of what they consider to be chores or work. Your daughter simply saw the chart as a way of 'outsmarting the homework' if you know what i mean.
      However, i believe you are underestimating your child. Telling her that what she did was wrong was a very good step to take. But don't think she didn't understand you. Just because she looked blank when you scolded her does not mean she didn't understand what you were saying.
      Another thing you should do is to always praise her for her effort at any task whether it is schoolwork or any other work.
      Rather than praise her for the result of the effort, praise her for making the effort itself. For example when she completes her homework, even before you check the homework to know whether it was correctly done, praise her for working so hard on the it. When children feel pressured into getting it right, they begin to cheat just to please their parents or teacher or any other role model.
      Don't forget to remove all charts that can tempt your child from your walls.

  2. Dear parenting and children,
    my children aged 12 and 10 years suddenly feel grown up. When they were younger, they were more receptive to me. But these days they feel reluctant to answer when i call them or send them on errands. And when i scold them they walk away or carry on as if no one is talking. I have scolded them, punished them and even beat them but it seems i'm not getting anywhere. All these started when the older boy entered into secondary school.
    I believe i'm losing a grip on my children. Please help!

  3. Dear parent,
    i can sense how anxious you are from the tone of your letter. This situation is clearly a case of insubordination. However the worst thing you can do is to allow your children to know how frazzled you are about their attitude. Despite the impression they give of being grown up, older children still want to know that someone is in charge.
    If they sense that you are no more in control, they get into more negative behaviours.
    The first thing to do is to find out the friends your older child is keeping at his new secondary school. Your child is in the pree teen age and may be looking for how to fit into his new school. Has he fallen into the company of unruly friends? You can find this out from friendly discussions with him or check what is going on at the school. Most likely he is picking some negative behaviours from peers at school and is passing them over to his younger one. If you find out that this is the case, then enlist the help of the school to help you monitor and make sure that your son is no more moving with those sets of friends.
    Be prepared to change his school if you don't see any positive outcomes to your child's behaviour.
    A direct method of forcing your children to obedience is to take away their favourite toys or gadgets as well as denying them of a favourite activity like going outside to play with friends or watching cartoons until they comply.
    Also, try to build a closer relationship with your children. Parents who have a close relationship with their children usually don't have much problems with insurbodination. Even during teen years, the closeness built in earlier years will eventually sustain the relationship between children and parents. Another advantage of being close to your children is that you get to hear what's going on in their lives and are able to advise them when going the wrong way before it's too late.

  4. Dear parenting and children,
    my son is still bedwetting at 6 years old. Is there cause for alarm? Mrs Kehinde

  5. Dear Mrs. Kehinde,
    there is no cause for alarm yet. However you can follow a few tips to assist your son in breaking the habit. One, make sure he doesn't eat drinner or drink water later than 6.00pm in the evening. If he must drink water later than that it should be very small quantity. Two, wake him up to ease himself once or twice in the middle of the night every day. Three, never punish or beat him because of his bedwetting habits. It only worsens the issue. With these few tips, you should see some improvement with your son.