Be an authoritative parent rather than authoritarian
“Where do we draw the line?” Sally asked. She had just run from home, a few weeks before her introduction only to reappear a day to the ceremony. “Who would do that?” you may ask. Sally did and all she had ever wanted was her parents to accept her intended. Unfortunately, all she ever got was the disdain regarding her choice of a spouse. “Was there one prepared for me that I did not know of? Why aren’t you telling me where the point of discontentment arises? So you say that we pray about this decision for a month and yet even after the month has elapsed, you are as hardened as at the start of month,” she ponders.
The rage with which her mother lashes out at the sight of Cyrus makes Sally cringe. “Why would there be so much hatred for someone you are meeting for the first time?” she wondered. Hoping that her mother would tell her or at least give her a hint as to what was amiss with Cyrus, all Sally ever got was a drastic and negative change of personality.
Wanting to wait it out and do things right, Sally’s only escape from her angry mother was to seek refuge at her friend’s place. Luckily, all the arrangements that she needed to see to had been wrapped up. That allowed her the opportunity to vanish into thin air. While away, all phones were switched off.
“I do not know what mother thought during that time but I barely cared. No wonder, on that Friday night, I sauntered into the compound to a buzz of activity and did not care,” she said with a blank face. When her first cousin asked where she had been, Sally simply smiled and said at least she was here in time.
Such was the confusion of a bride-to-be and her mother that drew in many parties. These scenarios are common but in Sally’s case, it was fuelled by the fact that her father, her best friend, had just passed on. She believed he better understood her unlike her mother. “With him, we talked and reasoned out issues. However, mother thought that a waste of time,” Sally shared. She felt that her mother was simply against rather than for her. The best way to resolve such issues is by engaging fellow elders. It does not help matters trying to play cat and mouse with your child because in their mind, this is the best person there is and you are standing in the way.
These elders will help air out your worries and most certainly help your child make a well-informed decision.
For those with younger children, it helps to create a relationship with them. This is not a one-time effort because while some days are great, others are ugly but we should by no means give up on being relentless and intentional parents. Stepping out of the norm is also important because what works for your niece, nephew, or neighbour’s child may not work for your child.
In this era, children’s mouths should not be muffed if we are to raise a generation that is rebellious. It is called authoritative parenting.
Joan S, a journalist, blogger, and parenting coach