A girl told her father she needed money to buy stuff for her brother’s seventeenth birthday. The man said there was nothing to celebrate because the boy didn’t make a good jamb score. Now, this boy is just seventeen years old and is done with secondary school but the father saw nothing to celebrate about his son because he made a poor score.
Take another case whereby a mother refused contributing a dime to her daughter’s tuition and welfare because the lady had an extra year in the higher institution. The mother said she paid for her daughter’s education for four years and that was what she bargained for, so wasn’t going to add another penny.
A large number of us are aware of the feeling we got as kids when we were deprived certain things for not taking the first position or whatever position our family considered “intelligent”..
I used examples of people with academic failures because in Nigeria, academic achievement is about the first achievement a child makes on an average. And a majority of individuals believe that withdrawing affection or love, what they call negative criticism, is the right approach to motivating children. But, it is NEVER a way of motivating a child (or anybody). Well, except we mean temporal motivation because as far as records have it, negative motivation can only yield short term results while in the long run, the child grows to become either an unhappy workaholic or an insecure, critical individual alongside other behavioral faults..
Negative motivation (ie withdrawing affection) gives an individual a sub conscious mindset that his value as a person is based on his achievements, that is exactly where exhausting expectations start for an individual.. It creates a lot of struggle to be valued and eventually sadness and brokenness.
Being positive is the way to raise children. ALWAYS. Positive criticism is not even acceptable because criticism is never constructive. It always points at faults and mistakes but staring at mistakes has never made anyone better. It has always been a thing to cause pain. That explains to a large extent why nobody ever wants to be blamed for anything. The guilt of doing something wrong or making mistakes is never easy and worse when we are reminded. It is in times of failure and weakness that we should open our arms wide to children.
Some people do not agree with this because they say it is a way of making the children strong, to be able to face the world. Of course, face the world that is already like that. I would agree with them only if they agree also that the kind of strength they are imbibing in the children by doing that is a false kind of strength: pseudo strength. It is insecurity masked as strength which is really no strength. Focusing on what these children can do, their strengths and appreciating them is enough. You don’t need to build more strength or make them any stronger. They become strong enough when they thrive on love and support. Pastor Harrison said, “Rebellious children come from insecure homes”. That I agree totally with.
Looking away from weakness works like looking away from physical injuries. They seem to heal faster and appear to not even exist while rubbing them or talking about them seem to increase our awareness of them and consequentially, the pain. I don’t know where we learn that from, I think intuition but it definitely works. Appreciation builds, criticism destroys. This does not in any way rule out working hard neither does it rule out correcting mistakes but it is simply saying. APPRECIATE STRENGTHS AND BUILD ON THEM. Make people feel loved and valued regardless of character exhibited. This post is focused on children. So, love your children regardless of faults or failures.
In the long run, what the children become is more important than the immediate problem you want out. Guide them in love that has nothing to do with their achievements. A lot of our parents never knew this and so raised us the way they thought best but the young people who read this can do better because we know better.