Analysis: SHIKANDA KAWANGA
IMAGINE your child exhibiting strange behaviours possibly necessitated by substance abuse but you as a parent only discover when your child is in police custody or maybe admitted to a mental hospital.Also imagine how many regrets you could have and also thoughts like I wish I had time for my children, may be this could have not happened.
Today, technology has taken centre stage in most households in Zambia and world over leaving children unattended to.
It is, therefore, not surprising that the Drug Enforcement Commission (DEC) recently disclosed that 136 juveniles, between the ages of 13 and 17, have from January to June this year been arrested for substance abuse.
And the root cause was discovered that it was lack of parenting.
It is worth noting that children that know they have a reasonable amount of their parents’ attention do not try to gain it in disruptive ways.
These findings could be true because it is a known fact that family bonding is not so common in many homes in Zambia and world over due to technological advancements.
It is very visible everywhere that people either interact with their phones and computers as they chat with people they don’t stay with, forgetting that the people they stay with, especially children, need time with them.
Family bonding is cardinal as it is a time the family spends together meaningfully. This is a designated time that a family plans to interact with each other over a group of activities.
Families should understand that there are a lot of benefits in bonding such as family members learning how to listen to each other and also work together.
And for children, they learn how to behave in society because of watching their parents interact with each other and with the world.
Family bonding times are a great way to model expected behaviours inside the family circle and with others in the community.
Modelling expected behaviours is also a great way for parents in the family to learn how to communicate to each other as well.
The move by parents to set aside some time, at least once a week, helps members in the family to gain a sense of self-worth.
Children that have guardians that take time with them learn to value their family time.
Children that do not have a sense of family values are more likely to be influenced by friends that do not necessarily have their best interests at heart.
Communication between family members should improve. Parents often admit frustration when it comes to communication.
Their children are not are not open because they lack understanding between talker and listener.
Bonding time can help eliminate some of the frustrations in all family members and parents can use this time to relate their childhood to an adolescent beginning, with childhood interactions.
As important as it is to impart wisdom, it is just as important to be an active listener as well. While everyone is together during family bonding time, sometimes it’s just as important to redirect attention towards your family and ask “What’s going on with you?”
This then makes children improve relationships and bond with their family members. Making a habit of displaying interest in the well-being of a spouse and children making them more likely to consult family members when there are personal problems occurring.
Actively strengthening family bonds reinforces mutual respect.
Adults will find authority is followed more willingly because a child wants to do their best for them. Children will use less talking back as their view of their family unit improves.
There are some partners that don’t understand why their spouses have so much to say to them. Women are verbal and if their husbands often skip opportunities for their wives to vent, it builds up.
Men have the same problem and often take out their need to vent through physical tasks. They tend to be more aggressive verbally and more avoidant until they believe they have resolved the matter bothering them.
Dominating a conversation or behaving aggressively is disrespectful in a familial relationship, of which designating time together will help eliminate these very bad ways of dealing with stress.
This does not mean your spouse can only talk during family time. The opportunity to discuss matters by both spouses will help release any emotional tensions that lead to bad behaviour.
Doing a creative project and discussing what is going on in each member’s life is a good way of encouragements.
Many couples have problems diffusing the stress that arises while on their jobs.
Talking about how to diffuse those problems, especially during bonding time, can help partners come home happier and have healthier emotional statuses.
Members learn to value one another and are less likely to hurt each other. Families that encourage bonding time, multiple times a week, often say their children have an easier time away from home.
However, families should start planning an outing to the park together and play games, go on a nature hike and make a picnic together.
Go to the museum and have everyone pick out a list of things they wish to see.
Plan a meal made from new recipes of another culture. Set the table according to the cultural traditions and share discussions.
Motivate your children to discuss how their subjects in school make contributing to the project easier. Encourage children to use their talents or abilities to making the project special.
It is not right for children to compete with a computer, television, phone or activity for parental attention.
Technological advancements should not affect the transformation of children into adulthood as family bonding helps children have an easier time conducting themselves when their parents are not around.
The author is a Zambia Daily Mail correspondent.
Analysis: SHIKANDA KAWANGA