Dinamico Consulting

Intentional Parenting: Counting the Cost

A popular Yoruba adage says, ‘it takes two people to produce a child, but it takes an entire community to nurture that child’. This was an undisputed truth in the days when the streets were safe, and our society had a greater dose of positive influences in its nook and crannies

It is sad that we can no longer confidently boast of the validity of this statement today as our streets are now bedeviled with such magnitude of wrongdoing and unacceptable behaviours that make the ears to tingle. Child trafficking, child prostitution, pedophilia and so many vices are plague our societies today. 

In the 21st century, a lot has changed and the exponential rate of technological advancement has shaped our lives significantly, including the way we do parenting. The availability of various social media platforms has both its advantages and the downside. As the days are changing, so must the way we do parenting keep evolving lest we find ourselves ineffective in our duty as parents. 
Intentional Parenting puts an obligation on would-be parents to give birth to just the number of children they can conveniently cater for. This involves planning the family size such that they can provide the necessities and luxuries to cater for the innocent kids who have been ‘summoned’ to be part of their lives. The advancements in medicine have also given a myriad options and methods to plan family size. 
Children undergo different physiological changes in the course of their growth and development. I would like to term them as ‘seasons’ and each of these seasons require specific approaches to them. 
Different growth seasons, different approaches. 
Season 1: Age 0-5
John Locke, the 18th century renowned philosopher opined that the mind of a child at birth can be described as ‘tabula raza’ or a blank slate. In order words, that our mind is empty when we were born, and what we expose ourselves to from birth till now is what constitutes our mindset. Our experiences have shaped us to become who we are in one way or the other. A child learns mostly by observation in the early years and simply by watching parents’ actions and mannerisms.
Great care must be taken during this period to portray a good example to the child at home as the parents relate with one another. As a parent, you should be deliberate about creating an atmosphere of love around your child. Love in action where everyone in the family, parents and siblings cares for one another and have one another’s back. Core family values including the spiritual values of the family will be impressed on the child during this age. These are the early formative years in a child, the impression made upon them during this season will last a life time. 
Season 2: Age 6-12
During this season in a child’s life, having successfully subjected to implantation of family values and other features, it is time to take it further. Parents should teach their wards during these years to take responsibility. Teaching a child to take responsibility for actions and understanding that life operates on cause and effect will go a long way to raise a child whom you can be proud of. This is also the season to teach a child to be submissive to authority. The Holy Bible says, ‘train up a child in the way he should go, he will not depart from it’. This is also the time for the child to learn to accept ‘no’ for an answer, when necessary, especially from the parents, and that they cannot always have their way. Most importantly, it is the time to lay the foundation of a lifelong friendship with your child as this is ultimately what parenting relationship should turn to eventually – mentorship and friendship. 
Season 3: Age 13-18 
This is obviously the toughest season of parenting. It is tough because your child will verify everything you have taught. It is tough because they can think for themselves now and decide what to do. Yes, it is tough because hormones are on the high side and they want to explore and try things out. If you have built friendship with your child between age 6-12, the ride will be easy. Most parents make this mistake of trying to be too authoritative at this age and then they lose their wards, not because of death but because the children will simply shut them out and seek for advice outside, which is always disastrous, more often than not.
Friendships and trust are the necessary ingredients to successfully navigate this season with your child as a parent. You will want them to trust you enough to tell you everything and make you a confidant. You will want to trust your child as well, enough to follow your counsels knowing you want the best for them. We must ensure our kids are vulnerable with us during this season; only then can we understand them, see through their eyes, feel their struggles, fears and hopes, and lead them victoriously through the storms of the teenage years. After this season, your child is now an adult; friendship and mentorship should continue, with mutual respect and trust. 
Conclusively, parenting cannot be delegated. You would do this at your own peril. You will need to give attention to your seeds before your seeds can become great on the earth. From helping with homework to listening to them telling you how the day went, it is a whole lot of work but the reward will be worth it. Amram and Yochabel raised Aaron, Moses and Miriam, three children who turned their generation around for good. There is nothing more fulfilling than looking back over the years and seeing the successes your children have become

About The Author

Ebenezer Adelaja is the founder of Coding Kids Africa, a movement dedicated to empowering children with in-demand tech skills. He is a team member of Dinamico Consulting’s Capacity Building & Development Team.

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