Have an allowance of some tough love for your children

Min Atek

What you need to know:

Our children have a sense of self entitlement and are so content in the abundant provision that they normally have

Early morning, the first message came through. My son was asking for some extra pocket money, explaining that food at school was not enough and unpalatable.

I laughed out hard. I reminded him of the food we had at home and the times it has been wasted. I also reminded him of the times he had refused to eat and how I was enjoying a sumptuous breakfast.

He promised to be more mindful and pleaded that I send some money for a chapatti. Our children have a sense of self entitlement and are so  content in the abundant provision that they normally have.

When children are home, parents work tooth and nail to ensure sufficient provision for their families. In most cases, like my own mother did years ago, we sacrifice and go without the things we desire, just so our children are catered for.

The irony though, is that children do not appreciate those sacrifices because they tend to find everything ready for them.

When a child changes environment and is allowed to live in another space or home, this is when they discover that things are different. They find a place where resources are not only scarce and far in between, but no one really cares that much for the child’s specific and individual needs.

Then they remember what they have been taking for granted. They remember their warm bed at home and a warm shower on a cold night. This is why I believe that every child should go through boarding school to gain a level of independent living.

The world and everything in it might not always favour and be easy for everyone. We need wisdom, strength, tenacity, maturity and a sense of responsibility to navigate it. One of the biggest roles a parent has, is to build these values and critical mindset into their children.

To equip them with critical thinking skills that enable them to see opportunities in the challenges and realities that they will face as they grow. This ought to be an important and deliberate goal of every parent. To do this, we should learn to step aside and allow our children to work out individual solutions for every problem they face.

We should be willing to do this even for the smaller things such as the child having to go without their special meals because they are in boarding school and have to survive eating a basic meal of posho and beans heavily infested with weevils. Tough times and situations are designed to grow and mature us. Allow some of these for your children to experience.


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