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AWRIGHT DEN – Beauty and the Beast


Corey Worrell

AWRIGHT DEN – Beauty and the Beast

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Last Saturday while standing in the cafeteria line in Super Centre, I heard a little voice behind me say, “Gran-Gran, I want water.”
Immediately afterwards I heard a lady (the child’s mother, I believe) say, “You must learn to wait.” The grandmother looked at the mother and said, “Give the boy some water, nuh.” The mother repeated, “He must learn to wait.”
The little boy went back to his grandmother and said, “Gran-Gran, I want juice.” The grandmother looked at the little boy and told him, “Go and call for it.”
In the end the little boy succeeded and got the juice.
I stood in the line and shook my head. I am the type of person who would have opened my mouth and shared my opinion on the situation right there but decided to wait and do it in this column.
Here we have a mother who I thought was trying to teach her son patience, a grandmother who either didn’t recognize the lesson being taught or totally disregarded the mother’s position and a child who knew who was in charge.
Honestly, I was more upset with the mother than I was with the grandmother. I thought the mother was not persistent enough and allowed the grandmother’s kindness to get the better of her.
This situation caused me to reflect on the importance of teamwork in the raising of children. On reflection I recognized some challenges that could and probably do arise when parents and guardians do not function as a team.
Children need – and I emphasize need – consistency and repetition. I believe rules and guidelines need to be formed, recognized, agreed on and practised by all parties involved in the child’s life.
Children know when there are no set guidelines or codes of conduct established between their guardians and often use this to their advantage. They know what they can get away with in the presence of mummy that they wouldn’t risk in the presence of daddy, and in the situation above, the child knew what he could get away with in the presence of granny.
Single parent homes are more susceptible to children taking advantage of a situation where there is no teamwork through an established and practised code of conduct between their separated parents. More often than not, children who spend weekdays by one parent and weekends by another often see one as “Beauty” and the other as the “Beast”.
I taught a child who lived with his mother during the week and stayed with his dad on weekends. The mother allowed the child to do as he pleased. The child would frequently get to school late, never did homework, stayed on the block with the boys until late at night, had no chores or other responsibilities and the list went on. Basically, this child was out of control and mummy was seen as Beauty.
On weekends, it was a completely different story. Daddy was seen as the Beast. Daddy had set bedtimes, allotted television time, as well as set times by which to be in the house after recreation on evenings. The child had to attend church with the family and homework had to be completed and done properly before the weekend was up.
As a teacher, I now understood why this student’s behaviour, deportment and academic performance was below par. I am not saying that the lack of teamwork between the parents and inconsistency in relation to guidelines were the only contributing factors but without a shadow of a doubt they contributed hugely.
The Bible says that children are a blessing from God.
I believe any blessing that isn’t cared, loved and protected will eventually become a curse. The nature and culture of a country are defined by its people. Whether our country’s future will be cursed or blessed is up to us as parents. Let’s team up, even if it is only for the benefit of our children.
 
Corey Worrell is a former Commonwealth youth ambassador. Email [email protected]
 
 

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