I took a stroll within my neighbourhood one evening and as I was approaching the playground, I heard ticking sounds. When I got close to where the sound was coming from, I saw a little pretty girl that can’t be more than six years old with a fistful of gravel in one hand while using her free hand to throw some at a car parked near the playground. I approached her and said,
“Could you please stop doing that,”
She stopped but she still held the gravel.
“Do you know you could have broken the wind-screen of that car?”
She still didn’t respond.
“Why are you throwing stones at the car?” I asked.
“I am just mad! I don’t want to be here,” she replied.
“What has the car done to upset you? Throwing stones at the poor car is not nice,” I said to her.
She let go off the fistful of gravel.
“Do you want to go home?” I asked her.
“Not really,” she answered.
“Then play carefully.” I told her and I continued my stroll.
On my way back, as I was passing by the playground again, she was already plucking and scattering leaves everywhere (with four other children) which was better than throwing stones anyway.
Also, some weeks ago, I saw a viral video of a girl that was raging and scattering her classroom. She unleashed her anger on the furniture, book shelf and some neatly stack class supplies. I am aware of ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder). Children with this condition may need medication and therapy which should not be overlooked. However, not all the children that throw ‘epic’ tantrums have ADHD.
I attended a public primary school and I must tell you that temper tantrums were at the barest minimum then. In fact, it was as if it never happened (at least not in any of my classes). Vile temper and rotten attitude always disappeared in the face of “pankere” (a well carved cane). Most of us had to rein our anger to avoid the rod of reproof which according to one of my teachers had been working wonders since the days of the Old Testament! Besides, Nigerian parents were famous for resounding, thunderous and brain resetting slaps that time. Therefore, we erred on the side of caution almost all the time.
I didn’t mention this so parent can batter their children nor am I implying that our generation turned out better, but the trend now is that many parents are over indulging children and are too permissive. We may be doing this to assuage our conscience because we rarely have time to be with our children, nonetheless, this is not the best. I just want to sensitise us to take the right steps at the right time. It is important to know when and how to curb children’s excesses. Different strokes, for different folks, but as parents, we must know what works and keeps children in check.
Most importantly, we must know what is frustrating or overwhelming our children and deal with them calmly. We shouldn’t wait till children get worked up before taking action. We also need to applaud what they do properly, and when they are wrong, we must let them know. Finally, let us keep talking to our children from time to time, even if they are well behaved. Buy them books that are full of social and moral values. Show them love, don’t ever let them feel they are the problem.