“Parents are teachers, guides, leaders, protectors and providers for their children” Iyanla Vanzant
A True Episode on Violent Parenting
I was born to a teenage mum and have a personal testimony of just why every parent should brand Iyanla’s words in their hearts. Growing up we lacked care and guidance as my Mum was still going through high school and college. My father had to raise three children single handed and work at the same time, which proved to be quite a challenging task. My parents’ busy lives contributed to my introverted personality that had me retreat into myself. We lacked parental guidance, care and affection as we were raised by domestic help or by our neighbours when we didn’t have a house help.
I have a vivid memory of being stuck on page 6 of the Primary Mathematics text book, when other pupils in my class were already many pages ahead. Reading out loud was an uphill task, not to mention reciting poems and singing in front of the class. I felt very stupid. This led to a lack of self-esteem and self-confidence.
When my mum completed college, my performance improved and I improved because she spent some time teaching us. I however remained shy and isolated. My father on the other hand also took up teaching us as a hobby given that he was a civil servant and had some time. He was quite the disciplinarian and used to beat sense into us if we forgot formulae or if we failed a sum that he had taught us. “Careless mistakes” as he called them, called for severe beating and punishment. The cane was the king in our house. I recognise that he wanted the best for us, but he went about it the wrong way.
After my fourth form exams, I got married to run away from the “torture” that I was going through at home, only to jump from the frying pan to the fire! At only 20 years of age, I got into a perpetually abusive relationship that almost left me dead in 2011. I remember the exact date – 4th Sept, 2011 that marked the turning point in my life, when I was physically assaulted and battered almost to the point of death. I had endured more than a decade of this abuse.
As I reflect up on my life, I realise that I made many wrong decisions from the time I was a teenager through to adulthood, due to the fact that I lacked life skills. As a teenager I was influenced negatively by peer pressure compromising my school grades and as an adult I put up with circumstances I should have walked away from. “If” I knew the value of respecting myself, I would have said NO to the abuse, “If” I had self-esteem and self-confidence, I would have made the right choices from the word go.
Two years after I escaped the abuse and my near death experience, I vowed to empower children with life skills so that they proactively deal with issues that may affect their lives such as peer pressure, alcoholism, drug abuse, bullying, teenage promiscuity, teenage dating and abuse. And so that they become self leaders who will be able to make good decisions and live happy and successful lives. It is a parent’s primary role to ensure that they impart life skills to their children and look for various ways to do this that will have impact on their children’s lives.
Putting my life together took a lot of hard work, resilience, focus and determination. I am convinced that if I had been coached on life skills and had the opportunity to hear then the things I know now, my life would have taken a different direction from the onset. Coaching kids on life skills really gets them to: overcome limiting beliefs that hinder them from thriving; have soaring self-esteem and powerful self-confidence; build resilience to face day to day challenges and stand up against peer pressure; dream big and live with purpose; coach themselves when faced with challenges; develop an abundance mentality and become self-leaders.
As Iyanla says, parents are the key that unlock the success of their children’s lives. If my parents had good parenting skills, I would have led a more meaningful and fulfilled life when I was growing up. Parenting is just about the most important role that we will ever have in this world. Good parenting skills strengthen relationships between the kids and their parents and empower the kids to handle anything thrown their way. As such I coach parents as well to complete the equation.
God gave me a second chance to live and it is my appeal to all parents out there to empower their children for life. It is really critical for parents to develop an open and honest communication line with their children, so that they may guide them through traumatic experiences and ensure these do not negatively influence what they think of themselves and how they see the world.
Raising confident, happy kids who know HOW to create and seize opportunities in life is a realistic goal and can be achieved. We all go through training to be competent at work and in our professions. Parenting is the most important duty that we have in the world and we need to accord it the same diligence. I urge every parent to constantly read a lot about parenting, network with other parents, research and go attend relevant training. Your children’s lives are in your hands…
Nancy is a seasoned Human Resource (HR) practitioner with vast experience in industry. She holds an MBA in Strategic and Human Resources Management, and is a certified Executive, Academic and Life Coach for Parents, Kids and Teens. firstname.lastname@example.org
“His energy is infectious. He oozes with conviction. He is the master of ‘It’s-never-that-serious’. He has perfected the art of retelling his pervious ordeals with wet humour. I would almost say I wish I had met him way earlier in my education…” READ MORE HERE