Communication with Children: A child’s reluctance should not be regarded as rebellious

This is our culture in this part of the world that when we speak to our children, they must respond immediately. The unwritten but very popular disposition is that child must obey the last order before they complain. Any form of complain or reluctance by the child does not make any sense to the primary and secondary custodians and it is in most cases wrongly tagged, rebellion. Permit me to submit that a child’s reluctance must encourage us to want to probe and not to insist on the child dancing to our tune. Reluctance, when investigated by the custodians may be a good trait in children. It means they are becoming conscious of the fact that they are capable of forming opinions and also have the ability to disagree. I am sure that we do not want to raise children, who say yes to everything from everyone. Therefore we must teach them to vary, exercise caution and think through before giving their response to a request. We must teach them to be quick to hear but slow to speak. Please not that the foregoing is not an advocacy that we should accept reluctance as a norm. I am not also saying that there are no instances where the reluctance of a child may be as a result of disobedience.  All I am saying is that it should be carefully probed before we come to a conclusion and decide on the next course of action.

The freedom of the child to be a child must not be subdued in the name of training. A child’s reluctance to a communicated instruction must be viewed and dealt with carefully. When a child shows reluctance to an instruction, I think the first question, we must ask is, have we as custodians, taken time to explain or teach the child, the best way we can, the values and benefits of the instruction.

Please note that when we talk about benefits, we must make it our primary duty to show the child the benefits of the instruction to him or her. That is, what does he/she stand to gain if he/she follows the instruction?

In most cases, custodians are too quick to tell children what they (custodians) stand to lose if the child does not follow their instruction. When this happens, there is a disconnection between the child and custodians. It means breakdown in communication. The Child feels that he/she is mainly living for the custodian. It is a settled fact that human beings are inherently selfish. Children are not exempted. There is every possibility that they will adhere to an instruction if they can see how it benefits them.

Are we now teaching children to be selfish? Not at all. We are not to stop at telling children the benefits of an instruction to themselves alone but also to the family, school and the nation. We also have a responsibility to teach children to respect the benefits to others enough to follow an instruction. When we do this, we teach the children to be responsible to their fellow human beings, beginning from their parents, siblings, school mates, teachers and others. One underlining factor in all these is that we must learn to be patient with children, respect their childhood and allow them the freedom that their individuality deserves.

I think I should sign out here. Thank you for visiting today. Sure you learnt one or two things on how to Think the CHILD…Think TODAY and Think the FUTURE.

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