Bullying is as old as man and I remember that I hated boarding school because I was a victim of bullying by older students. I must say this – I believe that girls are the meanest bullies I have ever encountered. If you went to an all-girls school, am sure you will understand. I hated school so much that I became reclusive. For some reasons, I have always been born with a resolute, self-motivated mind so to cope with the bullying, I kept to myself but turned into writing. Just last week, I went through all my hand-written short stories and asked myself why I am yet to publish a single book 😀
That was me then and that was more than twenty years ago. And now, my daughter has become a victim of bullying. And I tried to get to the root of the problem by going to her school to find out why she was being a target. I realized that the girls had very silly reasons for picking on her – they didn’t like her athletic build because she’s an athlete so they were body shaming her. They also hated her for her shoes – shoes! I was shocked! They hated the fact that she was liked. As a parent, I was too puzzled to understand why these girls hated my daughter for being herself and even when the school tried to invite the parents of the bullies to school, they never showed up. So that got me thinking and a lot! Are the girls being neglected by their parents and transferring their frustrations on my daughter and other kids? Could there be something wrong with the home? I found out later too that the parents were very busy executives who had little time for their kids as such didn’t find the time to show up in school when the school invited them. As a parent, you would expect that I would be angry with the girls but rather, I felt sorry for them because all I saw were misguided girls who knew no better.
WHAT ROLE CAN PARENTS PLAY IN RAISING EMPATHIC HUMAN BEINGS?
Personally, I believe that if we as parents can dedicate enough time for our kids to teach them to show empathy towards other people and to teach them to be tolerant and accommodating of all regardless of our differences, I think we will have less bullying in school. For me, it is important that my kids respect and accommodate everyone regardless of race, religion or tribe. I am raising my kids to be global citizens, to be humans who are sensitive to other people around them. I teach them about the need to refrain from discriminating other people and I have taught them about the ills and harmful effects of body shaming or making mockery of other people. Perhaps if parents could spend time with their kids and not only teach them but show them how to be kind to people because words are not enough – perhaps this could help reduce bullying in schools. Our kids should learn from us and see how kind we are to others so they too can learn from us. In my house, my husband and I try to live exemplary for our kids because that’s the best way to teach kids.
I also taught my daughter not to hate her bullies but to pray for them. I don’t think we can completely root out bullying even with punitive measures set up by school administrators because the solution goes beyond punishment. I believe that we as parents have a role to play in teaching our kids to be kind to others and that schools need to dedicate time to teach kids about kindness as well and to build their curricula around character building as well.
What is your take on this? Has your child ever been bullied? What did you do? What do you think we can do to help the situation? Am happy to hear from you so please leave a comment.
I join the world to celebrate dads because I have an amazing dad and an amazing husband. When we have dads who are ever present in the lives of our kids and likewise in our lives, we are always happy and grateful for them.
Growing up, my dad was and still remains a buddy of mine. I was raised by open-minded parents who showered me with so much love. I remember that when I was an anti-social teenager at the university, my dad and my mum would turn up at the hostel and take me out to dine and have fun till late into the night because they wanted me to experience the fun and beauty of night life and not to be inhibited.
The best gift a father can ever give to a child, especially a daughter, is his presence in her life because it allows us to choose the right men to love and not to look for love in all the wrong places.
And so today, just like every other day, I toast to my dad and all the awesome dads around the world.
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My daughter is on Instagram as @motivational__lab but before I let her do this, I simply asked her, “what is your purpose?” Am not the kind of mum to say “No” outrightly because I like to explore my kids’ minds plus every moment is a teachable moment. I am also someone who believes in intentional living so am raising my kids to live with a purpose. So when I asked why she wanted to be on Instagram, she told me she was having a hard time adjusting to learning from home in the midst of the COVID-19 lockdown and knew that they were other teens like her who were struggling and some even depressed because of the impact of the pandemic and the challenges of online learning. I had seen my daughter go throw mood swings due to online learning and she had also felt choked up being stuck in the house. I really wanted her to have an outlet to release all that stress. So I sat her down and explained digital footprints to her. I think rather than say no outrightly to your kids, it’s best to educate them about their responsibilities. I told her that though social media gave us free speech, it isn’t actually free because whatever we express today sometimes resurfaces to hunt us in the future. So I explained that access to social media came with responsibilities which is to self. Free speech comes with a cost which is why “Cancel culture” has become a problem.
And now, I have to explain cancel culture to her as well. A lot of the time, we think our kids are too young to understand these real life challenges but the sooner you expose them to these realities, can they develop a voice and to fight for a just cause. So rather than ban your kids from social media, have a deep talk about their purpose and responsibilities with them first. From such conversation, even they will realize that they are not ready for the responsibilities.
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Melanin is an incomparable beauty. From the lightest to the darkest skin tone, Black women and Black girls are exquisite beauty in every shade. Yes, Black females have that special something that just can’t be ignored. We are Melanin Queens, beautifully created! Respect the complexion.
“It’s a beautiful day to remember we are not here forever… celebrate me now that I am living not when I die you go throw party, this life is for the living …. chop life, celebrate life… “
I work so hard and seldom have the time to rest or even celebrate myself. I am also constantly second-guessing myself even though am right on track. This song resonates with me fir these reasons.
If you think you are not good enough, then it’s time to stop and celebrate yourself. Celebrate your mistakes because you learnt from them and celebrate your achievements because they take you closer to your dreams.
Long before the corona virus outbreak, e-learning had always been available but for lots of parents in Africa, where I live, we had relied heavily on traditional schools and partly paid attention to e-learning opportunities for our kids. Personally, I had simply downloaded a few educational apps for my kids and that was that! But with the corona virus pandemic leading to global lock-down, schools were shut down and e-learning began. In Nigeria, our case is quite unique because we have a high proliferation of private schools offering various curriculum while the government simply plays the role of monitoring. What this means for us is that education in Nigeria is not balanced and very expensive. There is a high disparity between private owned schools and public schools as public schools in Nigeria are under-funded and poorly equipped, adding to the disparity in quality of education being offered. So comes the corona virus outbreak and while private owned schools are launching e-learning and taking advantage of Zoom classes and Google Classroom, amongst others, public schools were cut off from e-learning. To fill the gap, the government started tutorials on television and radio stations across the nation. So when I talk about e-learning in this post, I am referring to pupils in urban Nigeria.
So while parents are trying to make head of the corona virus pandemic, they also have to grapple with e-learning for their kids, which is tough by-the-way, coming from a country where we do not home-school our kids. To cope with the challenges to having our kids ready and eager to learn online, we had to provide computer devices for them and have internet access, which is not cheap down here and after that, we have to work really hard to get the kids involved and be interested in learning online. But the key to e-learning for kids is time management.
Time management is so essential to e-learning because you could spend an entire day lost in the fluster of home-schooling that your kids can miss out on actual learning so you have to be strategic, purposeful and deliberate with your time. Here are some tips on how to manage your time effectively for your benefit and that of your kids:
PREPARE AN ENABLING ENVIRONMENT FOR E-LEARNING: Start by providing comfortable work stations for your kids. Don’t encourage learning on the bed or learning done haphazardly; rather have a designated spot for e-learning that can accommodate a laptop or tablet, books and with room for the child to write.
STRICT ADHERENCE TO BED TIME AND WAKE UP: Kids need a minimum of eight hours of sleep so if they can go to bed on time, they will get ample rest and wake up energized the following morning. In my household, bed time is 8 pm and you could decide to extend it by an hour but do not go beyond 9 pm while waking up time should be 8 am this way they get more than twelve hours of sleep. Try this and you will find your child energized and ready to go! As for you the parent, please be in bed by 10 pm latest because you also require a good rest to avoid being grumpy and messy in the morning. Remember, you are now the teacher and your mood whether good or sour will affect your child’s performance.
NO VIDEO GAMES, NO TELEVISION: It may seem a bit harsh but kids get distracted easily and you need their concentration during e-learning so in my household, I do not allow video games on week days as the kids go on a break from e-learning on weekends. I also do not allow television until in the afternoon after learning is over.
STRUCTURE TIME AND CONTENT OF LEARNING: Creating a structure makes your time management even more feasible so start by fixing the commencement time and the termination time for e-learning. Because kids are most productive in the morning, my kids start learning at 9 am and end at 1 pm. I have structured their learning to be short and simple so that it is not too cumbersome or tiring so they do not lose interest in learning. For Nigerian schools, I am currently using www.schoolgate.ng for the kids’ academic tutorial so this is usually where my kids start their day from. They begin by learning one topic each in all 6 subjects offered on the website and then we move on to the more fun websites – https://www.e-learningforkids.org/, https://www.coolmath.com/ , https://classroommagazines.scholastic.com/support/learnathome.html , https://www.funbrain.com/ To make learning easy, bookmark these pages for easy reference and visit. So, in my structuring, I put into consideration core academic subjects and other fun activities like reading and fun educational games and videos so that by the time the class is winding down by 1 pm, my kids are ending their sessions with a fun game or video or some fun activity that they can do from home.
DON’T FORGET SNACK BREAKS! AND BREAKFAST IS IMPORTANT: Please make sure the kids get to eat breakfast before they commence learning because they can be cranky on empty stomach. And for much younger kids, give room for a ten to twenty minutes snack break so they can pop some juice or simply jump around while listening to educational songs.
And lastly, keep learning fun and interesting by blending fun learning with core academics.
This is how I have been able to cope with e-learning. I hope this helps.
How are you coping with e-learning? Are there any tips you could share with us? Please do leave a comment.