No To Rape, Yes To Autonomy

At such a time as this when the world suffers a lot of chaos, the challenges faced by parents in their chosen parenting styles have become evident. This evidence masked in the arrogance of ‘You can’t tell me how to raise my child’ has brought about adults who display low self-esteem, depression, frustration, mental ill-health, forceful and very violent behaviours. For a long time, parenting has been on the basis of learning-as-you-go, but with the inception of the internet, there has been enough information to guide on how to raise a wholesome child. With the bulk of the information available in psychology and philosophy, the challenge has now become being able to recondition the minds of parents to rethink the approach to parenting we have been conditioned into. One of the approaches being – the use of Physical Force in raising children and teenagers.

I was raised in an era when beating as a means of discipline was carried out by adults with so much relish. I was spanked as a child at home and in school. The ones that traumatized me more were the ones done in school for ‘bad behaviour’. I was such a quiet child and would cringe at the thoughts when they appeared in my head and at the sight, while the act was carried out. Among others, this style of parenting, I have seen to be a major initiator of low self-esteem in children and adolescents. Every child is a being. Every being has a soul wherein lies emotions, the mind and the will. It means as beings, children feel and think and want to do, but are caged in the enforced opinions of their parents. We know what happens when we apply force to a thing.

To force is to make a being do something against his will. To go against one’s will is to bring about resistance. Force creates resistance, and has the stronger force applier, win in the short run. In this case, the stronger force is the parent. Let us imagine a scene:

A five year old boy wants to climb a chair (five year olds are adventurous), we yell and ask him to come down. We don’t back it up with “…because you can fall and hit your mouth and break your teeth and blablabla…” He attempts the act of climbing again, we snap which causes him to come down. Unknown to us that there sure will be a day, we’d be away from the home when he’d go back to climb the chair or something even higher than the chair and may be very unlucky to fall or maybe not even fall, but then, his curiosity has been satisfied. Now, we ask “Should I have let him climb and fall?” The answer is No! Then what should I have done? The answer is, teach! To teach is far away from enforcing. When you teach, the five year old may at that point, be able to get some the questions he seeks from climbing the chair answered, and just may see no need to climb not just the chair, but any furniture again. So from the imagined story, who won in the short run? And in the long run?

One key point parents need to understand is that resistance would’ve been easier to manage at the time when we were raised. Such times that didn’t see a rise in children’s TV channels, social media platforms, increase in web visits, focus on individual achievements, etc. However, with these in existence, force cannot be the answer this generation seeks.

Rather than seek to apply force, parents can turn the leaf to building healthy relationships with their children by listening to the children, validating their feelings, spending quality time with them etc. These acts will bring about a seeming autonomous feeling in the child that allows for trust and MASSIVE parental influence, then at the same time, causing the child to be responsible, self-motivated and self-directed.

With this parenting approach, we will be raising a generation that will live a life that says #NoToRape

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