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Inculcating values that become a lifestyle

Everywhere and turn one takes, there is an obvious evidence of habits picked up by children from external influence. Children, nowadays, deem certain wrongs to…

Everywhere and turn one takes, there is an obvious evidence of habits picked up by children from external influence. Children, nowadays, deem certain wrongs to be right because in their opinion, it is normal and everybody else is doing it.

On the other hand, parents risk being referred to as old school and not up to date when they point out these errors. Some have resigned themselves to this fate, while others have decided to work their way around the ideologies of their children to ensure that they grow up in the right path.

Mr. Frank Igbokwue admits that, “It is increasingly difficult to teach our children values with the diverse media facilities available to them that broadcast disrespect and violence as an acceptable way of life. One thing that I have decided to do is to create family rituals that build values. My children are still under ten and their bedtime is a wonderful opportunity for endless discussions that will float in their dreams. Their mother and I ask them questions and read them books that encourage a discussion of values.

Also at meal times we make an effort to eat one meal a day together. At such times we engage in discussions on a variety of subjects. We don’t reserve discussion on values for only times when they make mistakes. Every now and again we use stories they are used to, to drive home the message and avoid sounding like we are giving them a lecture. We teach through our own life stories because children love to hear about their parents when they were their age and other experiences. We weave into the stories lessons and values that we learned so that they we are also learning and making mistakes too.

We are observant when they make changes and the right decisions bout things that concern them. We do not take it for granted that they are children and may not understand. Our belief as parents is to start teaching them these things from day one.”

As the saying goes, birds of the same feathers flock together. Children usually would go along with peers who share the same ideals with them. Parents ought to look out for the kind of people their children hang around says, Mrs. Hannah Gebo. “We should look at the values of the people in the lives of our children and how much influence they have over them. Get to know your child’s school teachers and friends as well as the parents of these friends where possible. Once you re sure your child has the right clout about him, you can go a step further by encouraging friendships with families of similar values.”

Some parents do not understand the necessity of monitoring programmes their children watch. With cartoons, they believe that as long as it is a cartoon it is okay for the child to watch it. But in case where like a movie has an age restriction for 16years and above and a cartoon follows soon after, much is left to be imagined of what the child is watching and absorbing.

Mary Gebo said, “A lot of programmes today do not reflect our values. You find children in television roles where they are disrespectful towards parents and authority and promote materialism and vanity. Many portray offensive language and violence. I do not allow my children access to video games. My thinking is that, parents should watch these things with their kids or before the kids watch them. That way you are sure what your child is seeing and be sure you approve of it.

Don’t just put a ban on their watching certain programmes but discuss the reasons you are saying they can or cannot watch it.”

Some child experts are of the opinion that, “advertising directed at children is wrong and promotes consumerism. Teach your child that it is wrong. The average family spends over four hours each day watching television. Use some of this extra time to create constructive family rituals.”

In all of these, parents should remember to live what they preach as Bayo Adebisi, points out. “Live your own life according to the values you are teaching your children. Remember you are their role model.”

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