Someone once told me all this…., “Parents ought to be listened to by their children, no matter how old they’ve grown. Why is it that it’s not the case, the other way round?
In my native language Luganda, we have a wise saying that goes, “Omwana takadiiwa mu maaso ga’bazadde be”…literally meaning that a child doesn’t grow old before the eyes of their parents.
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In all honesty, this same principle and thinking should be applied the way round where a child gets some audience awarded to them, from their parent(s). Here’s my backing for this suggestion…
Imagine yourself in an argument with somebody close to you and during the course of this argument, you’re denied the rightful audience that you deserve to express yourself sufficiently. How would you feel? This is exactly how every child or young person feels whenever they aren’t listened to. All young people have something they’re screaming out to the world for a bit of attention…however meager it might be…provided they’re HEARD.
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Allow me speak as an adolescent, just for today. Growing up through my early years of adolescence, I was always denied audience by whoever qualified to be an adult, parent or even senior just because I was the young one. This wasn’t right at all because I’m human, just like they are or were and had a lot on my mind that I needed to put forward. As adolescents, we have our individual unique needs that can be addressed adequately by you, our parents, only if you gave us the audience we needed. Take for example, the boy-child adolescent, he feels the need to begin exploring the world of the opposite sex and once he’s not guided through what he’s going through at that moment, we are likely to have much more work to do, in the years after adolescence that may include among others: early pregnancy, abortions, rape, hate for the female sex.
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Even seemingly small actions like hugging your child can do communicate a lot more than presents that you could have bought them. All a child needs is love…un measureable and incomparable love from someone they trust and that person is always a parent.
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When it comes to policy-making for the adolescents or the young ones, as policy makers’ love calling it, it’s always best to have young people directly involved in the decision-making and policy-making processes respectively. A policy that shall directly affect the wellbeing of any adolescent doesn’t need only the elders on the shots-calling table because even we do know what’s best for us. The old might know us simply because we are together with them, every hour of the day…BUT, they surely don’t understand us as we do.
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But then again, hearing our cry of anguish doesn’t require one to have functioning ears per say. All it takes is a little active listening for the things we don’t say out loud, for reasons best known to us like preservation of customs of the young keeping silent before the elders, fear of being ridiculed, low – levels of self-esteem. Parents should stop complaining that they can’t seem to understand us and begin listening to us more with their eyes and ears, then react with their limbs in accordance.
The avoidance style of parenting ought to stop, be it at school or at home. The more a parent avoids their child, the wider a gap is created between the two and the bigger the secrecy between them. Don’t you agree this is the perfect recipe for trouble in this generation? Many of us wonder what all those little children are doing on our streets and the number doesn’t seem to be heading for the low, any time soon! The reason why they are there is very simple: somebody in-charge simply refused to their need of being heard and listened to.
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It’s just like being disappointed with someone you like a lot…for a few minutes, hours or even days, you just want to be away from them NOT because they aren’t ready to listen or hear you out but because you’ve failed to hear from your heart….what it’s telling you! That’s exactly how the street-child reacts to these situations. They look out for somebody that shall give them all the time and audience that they need and then, they will hit for the streets to go and vent out from there…I mean, a street doesn’t judge or talk, like you would, right?”