Do you ever get the urge to lecture strangers or even people you know about their parenting skills? I do, many times even though I usually keep my opinions to myself because I know it’s not my place.
However I just feel like sometimes, someone has to speak up for the “aggrieved” children, after all, “it takes a village…” The other day, I was getting my hair braided and the hairdresser’s toddler was playing around the room, inserting his little fingers in every socket he could reach.
His mother said nothing and I desperately felt the need to offer some advice. I didn’t of course because I didn’t want her to think I was being critical and take it out on my hair! I’d like to think she was focused on the job at hand and so may not have noticed what her son was up to but that’s hard to believe because most Mums usually have an eye on their children.
I hope someone finds the courage to talk to her or the little boy before he gets shocked. If I sound dramatic, that’s probably because from a very young age, I remember my Mum cautioning us against touching anything electric with wet hands, including light switches so you have to understand why I felt nervous about that little boy. Something else that bothers me is when I find 3 or 4 year olds at the shops on their own.
I get that your average African Child must learn to fend for themselves at an early age, and at times that helps when parents or guardians aren’t around for whatever reason but I still feel that we need to be protective of our children. If they’re being sent off to buy supplies, let it be in the company of elder siblings or house helps.
Many times, the parents are just home watching TV or gossiping about their neighbours and at a time when abductions and child molestation are not uncommon, I would be worried about my kid going out alone, even to a shop a few meters away.
I know some children are curious and will sneak off without their parents’ knowledge but it’s the grownups’ responsibility to keep watch. I think how some parents raise their children has a lot to do with their finances. A well-to-do family will for instance have a car to pick the children from school where kids whose parents are struggling have to walk to school and back.
Experiences differ for families where the maids do all the chores and you don’t have cases of children running off to fetch water before they even do their homework. Before you know it, they’re involved in a fight with some other kids or are hit by a speeding car.
I know some of us went through the same and survived but shouldn’t the goal be to give our children what we didn’t have? So here’s my unsolicited advice to all parents out there. If you bring a child into this world, try your best to provide not just material things but safety and protection to your little ones too.