Monday, February 18, 2013

“Got time for that;” the truth about raising kids.

It's 'Family Day' in most Canadian provinces. I sort of want to laugh. The first province to make it a statutory holiday was Alberta, back in 1990. Premier Getty said it was important for all Albertans to take time for their families and this holiday would emphasize the importance of family values. And 'family values.' What does that even mean, I wonder? Still, like the next person, I appreciate a holiday and that my kids get to sleep in until noon. But the way I see it, assuming that by 'family' the emphasis is on parent-kid relationships, one day designated for the family, once a year grossly undermines the staggering effort that is raising a child well. Truth is, Family Day is every day. And that's the tough call we all have to deal with.
Notice how it’s popular to hate on kids these days; to say things like “I hate being a mom,” and “kids suck.” I take this as a positive sign; obviously not because I’m anti-children but because we are finally getting honest in this culture about how tough it is to raise a kid.
Being a parent/adult raising a child is very demanding because to do a really good job it requires your very best. It requires that you give it your all, almost all of the time. Half the time is not good enough. Being on call like this is exhausting. Nobody wants to/can be all that. “Ain’t nobody got time for that.” (Sweet Brown).
Because we shouldn’t be doing it alone. Raising a child takes a whole village so the clichéd (for good reason) African expression goes. What this translates into is that raising a child means you need to have a network of support.

The reality is, kids NEED. More than material things, kid’s emotional needs are ENORMOUS.  And as an adult with the care of children, you have to be putting out constantly for them;  you have to put them first; you need to be present to them. When they are little kids, they need to be with people who love them unconditionally and who are willing to hold them when they want you to- sometimes all day and even all night if that is what it takes. They need you to acknowledge them, not by ‘talking’ to them over your texting, but with eye to eye contact.  Kids learn self -worth by the way they are treated. If you are too busy, better to be honest and say, "I'm busy right now. I will give you my attention in five minutes." That's how we, as adults expect to be treated by other adults. Kids deserve the same respect.

Ask a two year old if he prefers to be at daycare or at home with a loving adult presence and I bet the kids says 'at home.' That home needs an adult who can cook healthy meals, who can read wonderful stories with the kid; who can help with projects and lessons, who is emotionally present to that kid.

I know what I say next will make a lot of people angry and upset. When it comes to the home, caring parents/adults need to spend more time in it.  A home needs the presence of a caring, loving adult within its walls for kids to thrive-even when the kids are teen-aged. As they grow into teens and young adults, they need a caring adult to continue to be available to them. I can not over-emphasis this.
The constant presence of a loving, supportive adult. That’s what it takes to raise children.
The young person needs even just one steadfast adult who is rooting for them; who believes in them unconditionally. That is how you grow a healthy adult. I believe it.

And even when the child has the support and loving attention of an adult, they still might not thrive. However, without emotional support in abundance, it is clear to me that kids will have to overcome struggles that are often at the expense of their mental health and sometimes, even their lives. As a culture, we need to be prepared to invest in the home environment because that is the root of society,where it all begins.


Selina Gough said...

Oh, I so agree. I believe it is where we must shift our focus to to provide answers to so many of our modern problems. Just discovered your blog - haven't read too much yet, but enjoying what's here so far. Selina

beatrice ekoko said...

@Selina-welcome! I hope you enjoy the content here. Look forward to yourcomments.

beatrice ekoko said...

@Selina-welcome! I hope you enjoy the content here. Look forward to yourcomments.

Anonymous said...

Wow! Love the words!

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