So at the moment i am on holidays and am actually having time to contemplate, experience and create, see my recent post on upcycling. However another issue has entered my arena. It has been festering for a while and has now hit my core, especially as my daughter is now 4 1/2 years old, very impressionable and eager to please. I thought it wouldn’t happen until she was a pre-teen (I hate that word – as if we don’t grow up fast enough already).
Here is my issue – Other People’s Children.
My greatest desire was to raise my daughter in Ghana until she was, at the very least, 5 years old. I wanted her to instinctually respect adults and understand that when you are told to do something, you do it whether it’s your mother telling you, your uncle, or your father’s second cousin-by-marriage on Aunty Ama’s side who lives in that village in the Upper West, outside of Lawra.
It couldn’t happen that way and we returned when she was two. I am now mourning our fate at having to come to Australia so early.
Here are a few scenarios of why my heart is crying for my daughter.
1. H and G. A brother and sister, 6 and 4 respectively, who are raised by married parents and whose mum is a friend in the fact we are both on the Pre-School committee and our stalls are next to each other at the community markets. He son was the first child to tell my daughter she could not do something because she was black and he and his sister could because they were white. When mum overheard this she looked at me and shrugged, saying ‘what can you do.’ That was last year.
Yesterday at the markets H and G came to chat with my daughter and began climbing on their mother’s trailer. They’re told every week not to do so. My daughter has caught her leg before and knows not to do it. Now I like mum but children do emulate their parents and her children are rude. My husband told them to get down and the response was, ‘We don’t have to listen to you. It’s our trailer.’ Where is the respect!!! A few minutes later mum comes around and tells them to get off at which they ever so slowly do. We turned around and said ‘Eh heh’ and told mum we’d warned them but they hadn’t listened. Mum ruffled her son’s head and said that wasn’t the best. That was it.
So from this my daughter is learning that you don’t have to listen to your elders OR mum and dad. If you get caught all you get is a smile and a pat on the head so hey, feel free to do that thing again.
2. C is a child who lives across the road. She and my daughter are great friends and I’ve always encouraged and enjoyed their friendship however now I am on holidays I don’t appreciate my doorbell being rung at 9am whilst I am engaging in scholarly activities with my daughter nor do I like it an hour later, and every other hour during the day. She’ll come for 5 minutes and traipse home because I suggest her attention span, aided by all the junk food she gets to eat, is about the same as my 4 month old chihuahua puppy. C is sweet but is going through a phase at the moment, or showing her true colours perhaps, by swearing a lot and telling lies.
I caught her yesterday saying ‘Bitch’ to my innocent child. When I looked at her and said, ‘C, we don’t talk like that in our house.’ She said, ‘I didn’t say that.’ Suggesting my ears are not as fine tuned as I think given I was only within 60 centimetres of her at the time. M daughter has cottoned onto this lying thing and I am having to work very hard to teach her the right thing. She is only 4!!!! She has never lied to me ever. Why would she when she is listened to and heard and supported to make good choices.
C’s mum, her cultural grandmother who is raising her, went to the shops the other day to lay-by all these gifts for Christmas as if her social welfare is for that purpose. C didn’t want to wait till Christmas so her mum said, ‘oh ok’, and they bought them all outright. I was standing in the loungeroom as she’d wanted to give me some old toys for my daughter (6 months is old???) and C was beginning to rip up the boxes of her new toys to get at them. She was like a starving dog. There was this materialistic hunger in her eyes. She was told not to do so but she just kept going hungry to open them up, play for 5 minutes, and then discard them – fun over. No matter what mum said she retorted with a negative and mum left it alone.
You have told your child to do something! See it through. Provide consequences. It could be a conversation about listening and 5 minutes thinking-time. It doesn’t have to be overt or violent.
So from this my daughter is learning about materialism, demanding we go to the shop and buy things for her cause she wants them. She is also learning that lying to your parents at age 4 is okay and that we can say swear words when we are cross with our friends and call them names. None of these are things we do in our household.
Motherhood is not easy-o.
If only we could live back in Ghana for a few years, Bolga to be precise. I firmly believe she’d be a much better child for it. I mourn the loss of her Ghanaian childhood.