Last week, I had the honor of interacting with some fathers and their daughters at the US Consulate Lagos. This event was organized by the The Girls Aide initiative, founded by Dr. Abosede Lewu.
The objectives for the event as communicated by the organizers were:
- Setting a tone for conversations between fathers and daughters.
- Educate them on the bigger role and responsibilities they have to their Daughters.
- Enlighten them on the role of men in gender parity.
As we all know, parenting in the digital age is way different from parenting in our parents’ time. It’s become even more imperative that there needs to be a change in certain areas of parenting in this present times. For this change to happen, parents need to first understand the pros and the cons of the 21st century and how it affects our children.
I had a breakout session with the fathers and many of them had questions that needed answers. One major challenge with today’s parents especially fathers, is absenteeism. Work, social and other life challenges make fathers to not be there for their children as much as they should. We see many children picking up the habits and values of their nannies and their drivers because they spend the most time with them. Understand that when you let go of your right as a parent, you must deal with the implications that come with it. Note that like everything else, it is not just about how long you spend with your kids but the quality of time you spend. Many parents are physically with their children but are absent because they are on the phone or doing something else.
TIP: All you need is one quality hour a day with your child. Prepare and plan what it is you want your child to emulate and learn. Whatever it is you do not want them to copy from you, eliminate it out of your life. With children, it is not about what you say but what you do. Use yourself as an example, motivate and inspire your children to be all that they were created to be. Let them see you excel & live right and aspire to do just like you and even greater.
CULTURE & WESTERNIZATION:
It is crucial that as parents, we maintain a balance between our African culture and the ones we import from the western world. What part of our culture do we need to retain and what part do we need to do away with? How do we filter the western culture that violate our values and principles? How do you filter what your children consume on the internet – what internet security plans have you put in place? Some fathers shared that K9 and Net Nanny are some of the tools they use to protect their kids on the web. What are the governing values and beliefs of your family? Do you have family values? Do your children know, understand and live them? It’s not too late to create and communicate values that are true to your family at large and that will help serve them.
You can do the same with your daughter/son in your home today. In the next 5, 10, 20 years; what kind of relationship do you want to have with your child or parent? Write it down and work towards achieving it.
The Catalyst, Lanre Olusola