It’s time I let this volcano of thoughts eru-pt from my mind. Often times, we like turning our (the society) blind eyes to this issue because we fear being judged or criticized. But I really want to open our mind to how bad it is and the effect it has on the society.
Let me welcome “abuse” into the room.
Abuse is defined as:
• To treat (a person or animal) in a harsh or harmful way.
• To use or treat (something) in a way that causes it damage.
• Physical maltreatment.
The most amusing aspect is that abuse is factitious and it’s painted red all over the streets. And it’s most common amidst our parents especially in the western part of Nigeria (Yoruba tribe) and it’s pinned on our culture and trying to instil discipline into us (the children). Please don’t misquote me, I am not implying that discipline is bad or we should discard our culture but is their action not crossing the line?
What I hope to achieve is to undress this lady called Abuse and to unveil her effects on the the society and not lurk around what abuse is all about but would be walking us through its path and I would be taking my time at each stop to make sure we take a nice dive through it. There’s no particular chain through the levels of abuse but I would like to start from this thread (a term in constructing steps).
Parents abusing their children! Yeah, you heard me right, I want to talk about the people who act as our gods here on earth, our first role model in life (every kid looks up to his/her parent at a point in their life) and literally abuse their child: not only through improper beating but emotionally too. Though I might just be dwelling much more on the discipline (flogging, caning or any means of spanking their children)
Permit me to start by quoting the wisest person that has ever grazed the surface of the earth: “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it” and “Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him” – king Solomon. Now I know one of the main responsibilities of our parents is to train us in the right way (God’s way) and to correct us when we go wrong. But it didn’t say beat your children like animals (goats to be precise), or strip them naked like slaves and beat them or punish them like they are soldiers for heaven’s sake!
According to my tradition, after God the next gods in your life are your parents (totally true). I am of the opinion that because this is the belief, our parents tend to abuse their love for us and please don’t get me wrong. By default, parents are to love their children because this is the way God has wired all living things (animals too) but you see most of our parents these days forcing their children to live a kind of lifestyle or take decisions to please them (societal or religious wise), it’s totally wrong! This is mostly common between religious parents. Yes religious (e.g.Pastors, elders, deacons, imam or cleric people) because they feel their children must be like yard stick for correcting other children or probably a set of example for other kids. Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing bad about wanting to make your children lead the line in moral standards and setting examples, what’s bad is breaking and maltreating your children to achieve that. You (parents) are not lords over their lives but guardians to set them on the right path for God to make them shine to the world.
I know some parents don’t really beat their children like goats or treat them live slaves but some actually bully their children into doing their will. A perfect example is our parents dictating how we live out life: the cloth you wear, the friends you keep, the hair you make, the type of jewelries ,shoes or bags you buy and in some extreme cases, how you talk, walk or sit in the church, mosque or outing and even who we marry (tribe) else, you will have some of your rights taken from you e.g your allowance will be reduced or not given at all, no clothes or when your other siblings are enjoying one treat or the other you will miss out or your name omitted from the will (applicable to the rich people) . This has no other name than wrong and that it should be aborted or stopped.
Apart from the fact that we are to respect, obey and honour our parents in the *Lord*, I haven’t seen anywhere in the bible that says because I love my parents or because they love me, they must beat me like a goat or bully me to do their will for no just reason or I must live a certain lifestyle or take a decision so that i can paint good images of them for other people to respect them. We (children) are not puppets for crying out loud, we are people like you (parents) too and we are wired differently and can’t take same decisions exactly because we sprung from you. If you are child in this situation, I bet you can relate to how I feel now.
Now Permit me to quote Njoku Uchechi Emmanuel, who is a friend, teacher and a mentor to me and brought this topic into more light to me. He said “I see parents hinging on this verse to rain all type of discomfort on children.”
Ephesians 6 KJV
1 Children obey your parents in the Lord for this is right
2 Honor thy father and mother; (which is the first commandment with promise)
But see verse 4
4 and ye, Fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.
Again, Parents can get honor from their kids if they don’t always provoke them to wrath. No one gives honor freely and naturally to a person who makes life a living hell for them. You will be parents tomorrow, don’t lock the house and become a monitoring lizard to your kids. (Njoku, 2017)
That’s not training. Training is making your children so prepared that when the doors are opened, they know how to go and where to be.The difference between prison and training is the level of freedom.
Plus, training stops. If you are training your children well, at a point, you should be able to say *they can now make good decisions* (Njoku, 2017)
As a parent, if you are still afraid that your child at 20, 18 or 16 can not make a simple decision of where to go, when to come back or if to date or not, this is my interpretation: *YOU ARE A HORRIBLE TRAINER*. Scriptures say to train a child in the way he should go, so that *when he is old*..he will not depart from it. Training should be reflected at a time, it’s not forever. So if your child who has done maths for just 3years is a math wizard and you have been training them for 16 years and she can’t still make decisions… already we know, that’s terrible parenting. We would be parents soon, with intent, train up your children. If you keep making them angry, it won’t help anyone. Honor is lost, training is gotten from outside *Honor follows who teaches* more often than not. So when they start listening to their friends over you, it is because training has been handed over to the friends….Blame yourself. (Njoku, 2017)
What are the end results of parents abusing their children physically and emotionally?
1. Kids that have a double life; a saint in the house, a devil outside resulting into waywardness.
2. Kids that are not socially and emotionally balanced and exposed. Therefore, they are misfits in the society.
3. Kids that tend to not have a relationship with God or do not gain or unproductive in the church.
4. Kids that makes gross mistakes and most don’t recover and dents their life forever
5. Kids that tend to withdraw from people, never trust, go through physiological trauma due to years of severe beating and maltreatment.
This is a plead and not a confrontation to the parents, please learn to study and know the kind of the children you have. Also, learn to be appreciative of any little improvement the are making. A little thank you or well done will go a long way.
In conclusion, There’s a right and wrong way to train and correct a child. Train them in a right way and you will never be disappointed. Train them abusively and you will probably reap one if the five outcomes listed above.
Lastly, not all parents are like this, sometimes we children are the ones that pushes them to take extreme measures.
Disclaimer: Let me clarify that this are all my thoughts, observations,experience and findings. I stand to be corrected or proven otherwise, need I say that I am not a role model or a perfect example or in the right position to preach this but, I feel I can at least loony our attention to what we have overlooked in the society.