Raising a rebellious child could be challenging to many parents. Most times the road is often lonely and becomes difficult to know where to start dealing with it.
A rebellious child is one that rejects truth, challenges authority, and refuses to take personal responsibility for attitudes or actions.
To avoid rebellion, parents set rules to provide the framework for children to understand what is expected of them at home but it’s often challenging to establish and maintain such rules.
Parents don’t need to overwork themselves so far what they are doing is in the best interest of the child. In the Child Rights Law, it was stated: “every action concerning a child, undertaken by any individual, Public, or Private Body, Institution, Court of Law, Administrative or Legislative Authority, the best interest of the child must be the primary consideration”.
Recently, on my way home from the office, I met my kid strolling on our street alone exercising his right as specified in the Child Rights Law.
The next thing that came to my mind was, “why is this boy out despite the news that the COVID-19 virus is spreading in communities, does he wants to kill me?”
When I eventually got to him, before I could utter a word, he simply told me “mum, I am sorry. I am tired of staying at home and I am just trying to stretch my leg. Welcome Mummy”. He greeted. I just held my peace because I know it is his right as a child to do so.
I couldn’t scold him despite violating the rules set together with his father which he and his sister agreed with us that no one would go out except us, the parents are around to be sure of their movement.
If I hadn’t come at that moment and saw him, he could have stretched his legs according to him, seized the opportunity to watch other children played football or rather joined them, returned home and relaxed like nothing happened.
It is a normal thing for parents to get worried about a child who is rebellious especially at this time of the deadly pandemic, COVID-19, but parents need to channel their worries in the right way. If it is not in the best interest of the child, but for personal satisfaction, it is violating their rights.
Rules may be successful in getting results but a number of times when it becomes boring, especially when they need to dispense energy already gathered through eating and snacking, it may lead them to rebellious acts and be disrespectful.
What then is the responsibility of parents to their children, especially in this Covid-19 lockdown?
Create rules together with your child.
Do not just tell them about already set rules, leave room for their suggestions after explaining the reason(s) behind such rule to them. Get them involved.
Take their suggestions
If there is a need to drop their suggestions, make them understand why such suggestions will not be taken
Use a gentle and sensitive tone
Make them to understand the rule(s) and not just impose rule on them. Some people misconstrue this to over-pampering the child. No. This is respecting their views as human as specified in the Child Right Law.
Review agreed rules
Review agreed on rules with them regularly to avoid boredom. If not, there is bound to be rebellion.
Why punishment is abuse of Child Rights
keep them busy with activities
Get them involved in activities that will keep them busy like introducing them to social skills they are interested in.
There should also be time for television,
Though they should be advised against staying gluing to television for long hours because of sight defect it results in, in the long run, let there be time for television. At times, watch with them.
Time should be allotted to exercise their body
This must be done together as a family to make it interesting and not boring. Children will always look forward to it. It may be a dance exercise, playing football, jogging, etc.
Since it is not all children that live in flats or detached houses, children living in commercial homes (single room or room and parlor apartment) are not left out of rules. In fact, Covid-19 may spread easily where it is crowded and that is why the World Health Organisation emphasizes social distancing. Parents in this environment can still set rules and involve their children but should avoid locking them inside to avoid dangerous activities which can make them expend their energy wrongly.
All these above is not a one size fits all for parents, but are just the basics to build on. Every parent needs to find the right balance for his or her family. As your child grows or develops, the challenges will change and your thinking may evolve, but your approach should be consistent, firm and also, loving after agreeing with your children. Do not be rigid in your dealings with them.
According to a UNICEF report, children are neither the property of their parents nor are they helpless objects of charity, they are human beings and are the subject of their own rights. The Convention on the Rights of the child recognizes the fundamental human dignity of all children and the urgency of ensuring their well-being and development. So, as parents, do your best, gain their trust as caretakers of your children, and leave the perfection side of it to God.