Sunday January 31 2016

Values every child needs

A well-behaved child is

A well-behaved child is reflection of values they learn. Net photo 

By Pauline Bangirana

Read your bible, pray every day if you want to grow. “I taught them a song Read your Bible and pray everyday...” and we read the bible and prayed together. While driving I would play Christian music so that my children could sing along to,” Jackie Asiimwe- Mwesige, a mother of two explains. This helped nurture her sons into God-fearing children.

Always say, “please” and “thank you”
Mwesige further notes that, “We taught them early and often to always say “please” when asking for something and “thank you” after receiving.

Any time they asked for or revived something without using the word we would remind them by asking “what do you say?” And they would have to repeat the sentence using the appropriate word.” Harriet Nampiima, a mother of four, says she just sends the children to church and encourages them to attend Sunday school.

“I guess it’s just luck because my children are prayerful and all thanks to the church teachers who encourage them to pray,” she says.

On what to do for a child to be honest, different parents have different styles of treating their children. “I never beat my children no matter how angry I am at them but rather I encourage them to always tell the truth,” Julie Mutesasira, a gospel artiste says.

This she says creates a bond between them and they know why it is important to tell the truth.

I always want my children to be mindful of their behaviour because it affects the people around them, Margaret Nakawooya, a vendor says.

“By three years old, a child is aware of her environment and people’s reactions towards what he or she does. When they irritate someone, I wear a sad face and tell them, “bad boy or girl” this makes them feel sad too and they get remorseful. Thereafter, we hug and they say, “sorry mummy.” As such, they avoid hurting others.”

Appreciate hard work
Winnie Namusobya, a trader, says appreciating hard work is one value she ensured that her children learnt by the time they were five years old.

“I work hard to ensure that I earn enough to support my children . I used to take my child with me to the shop so that he appreciates how hard I work to I earn the money I spend on him.”

She adds that by four years old, her first born knew that money is hard earned. “As such, he always handles his belongings cautiously and he is thrifty. He plans and accounts for how he is going to spend it.

This has enabled the other children to learn by example because their older brother always explains to them the importance of handling property carefully and knowing the hustle their mother goes through to bring the bread home.”

There are instances when siblings do not get along simply because there is no bond between them.

“My first born was four and a half years old when I gave birth to her brother. Earlier, I always explained to her that a new baby brother/ sister would arrive and they would play together,” says Sophie Neumbe, a businesswoman.

She adds that the daughter was always excited and looked forward to the new arrival. “From the time the baby was born, she was always ready and willing to care for him. This was impressive and lovely,” Neumbe explains.

Sheila Karungi, a vendor, narrates an experience where her parents caned her for a mistake she deemed uncalled for because she felt it was not her own doing.

“My parents caned me because I let my sister go to our neighbour’s home. She came back early and I thought my parents would not know. Later, our neighbour reported that my little sister had eaten sweets and my mother had to clear the bill.

Her mother beat her explaining that it was her responsibility to always take care of her siblings whenever her parents were not around.

“This influenced my thinking as a young girl and I always ensured that any decisions or actions that I made were always right and benefited all of us especially my parents,” Karungi says.

A child who can clean up after a meal or help out with chores every once in a while is a joy every parent would love to have. “At three years, I introduced my children to chores such as washing.

I encouraged them to wash with me or the maid but later, I would rewash what the children would have washed. They were not perfect but they appreciated the essence of washing and always kept their clothes clean especially their underwear,” Christine Sharon Nabafu, a mother of three notes.

She however highlights that she made washing fun for the children and did not use it as punishment, “then they would hate washing which I did not want to happen.”

Growing up, my parents always encouraged me to read story books. I remember at three, I had interesting story books and at every birthday, I received better books.

This helped me shape my imagination but also helped me improve my interpersonal skills because I was exposed to various characters. By five, I was more knowledgeable than most of my age mates. I uphold this value.

Values may differ but always consider why you need your child to learn certain values early: is it because of your own experiences and you want better for them or do you wish they be like you? Children are influenced more by what they see every day.

What if…
If a child stubbornly refuses to embrace values being taught to them, Jackie Asiimwe-Mwesige recommends, that for children, you just have to repeat time and again what you would like them to learn.

They eventually learn. You can patiently and gently explain why the value is important but also the consequences if the value is not upheld.

For example, if they asked for something without saying please, you would withhold until they learn that one must be polite towards others. But I think each parent has their own enforcement style. As a parent, you must also live as per the value. Monkey see, monkey do. You cannot teach a child a value you are not upholding