It Is Time To Go Back And Be A Responsible Parent To Your Child

Kids today are in a devastating emotional state! Most come to school emotionally unavailable for learning. There are many factors in our modern lifestyle that contribute to this.”

In her practice, my friend Victoria Prooday, OT is seeing something so widespread and alarming that I asked if I could share her thoughts. Due to the overwhelming interest and conversation on this topic, I am re-sharing her post.

I encourage every parent who cares about the future of their children to read it. I know that many would choose not to hear what she says in the article, but your children needs you to hear this message.

Victoria writes:

I am an occupational therapist with years of experience working with children, parents, and teachers. I completely agree with this teacher’s message that our children are getting worse and worse in many aspects.

I hear the same consistent message from every teacher I meet. Clearly, throughout my time as an Occupational Therapist, I have seen and continue to see a decline in children’s social, emotional, and academic functioning, as well as a sharp increase in learning disabilities and other diagnoses.

As we know, the brain is malleable. Through environment, we can make the brain “stronger” or make it “weaker”. I truly believe that, despite all our greatest intentions, we unfortunately remold our children’s brains in the wrong direction.

Here is why:

  1. KIDS GET EVERYTHING THEY WANT WHEN THEY WANT IT

“I am Hungry!!” “In a sec I will stop at the drive thru” “I am Thirsty!” “Here is a vending machine.” “I am bored!” “Use my phone!” The ability to delay gratification is one of the key factors for future success. We have the best intentions — to make our child happy — but unfortunately, we make them happy at the moment but miserable in the long term. To be able to delay gratification means to be able to function under stress. Our children are gradually becoming less equipped to deal with even minor stressors, which eventually become huge obstacles to their success in life.

The inability to delay gratification is often seen in classrooms, malls, restaurants, and toy stores the moment the child hears “No” because parents have taught their child’s brain to get what it wants right away.

  1. LIMITED SOCIAL INTERACTION
    We are all busy, so we give our children digital gadgets and make them “busy” too. Kids used to play outside, where, in unstructured natural environments, they learned and practiced their social skills. Unfortunately, technology replaced the outdoor time. Also, technology made the parents less available to socially interact with their child. Obviously, our kids fall behind… the babysitting gadget is not equipped to help kids develop social skills. Most successful people have great social skills. This is the priority!

The brain is just like a muscle that is trainable and re-trainable. If you want your child to be able to bike, you teach him biking skills. If you want your child to be able to wait, you need to teach that child patience. If you want your child to be able to socialize, you need to teach him social skills. The same applies to all the other skills. There is no difference!

  1. ENDLESS FUN
    We have created an artificial fun world for our children. There are no dull moments. The moment it becomes quiet, we run to entertain them again, because otherwise, we feel that we are not doing our parenting duty. We live in two separate worlds. They have their “fun“ world, and we have our “work” world. Why aren’t children helping us in the kitchen or with laundry? Why don’t they tidy up their toys? This is basic monotonous work that trains the brain to be workable and function under “boredom,” which is the same “muscle” that is required to be eventually teachable at school. When they come to school and it is time for handwriting their answer is “I can’t. It is too hard. Too boring.” Why? Because the workable “muscle” is not getting trained through endless fun. It gets trained through work.
  2. TECHNOLOGY
    Using technology as a “Free babysitting service” is, in fact, not free at all. The payment is waiting for you just around the corner. We pay with our kids’ nervous systems, with their attention, and with their ability for delayed gratification. Compared to virtual reality, everyday life is boring. When kids come to the classroom, they are exposed to human voices and adequate visual stimulation as opposed to being bombarded with the graphic explosions and special effects that they are used to seeing on the screens. After hours of virtual reality, processing information in a classroom becomes increasingly challenging for our kids because their brains are getting used to the high levels of stimulation that video games provide. The inability to process lower levels of stimulation leaves kids vulnerable to academic challenges. Technology also disconnects us emotionally from our children and our families. Parental emotional availability is the main nutrient for child’s brain. Unfortunately, we are gradually depriving our children of that nutrient.
  3. KIDS RULE THE WORLD
    “My son doesn’t like vegetables.” “She doesn’t like going to bed early.” “He doesn’t like to eat breakfast.” “She doesn’t like toys, but she is very good at her iPad” “He doesn’t want to get dressed on his own.” “She is too lazy to eat on her own.” This is what I hear from parents all the time. Since when do children dictate to us how to parent them? If we leave it all up to them, all they are going to do is eat macaroni and cheese and bagels with cream cheese, watch TV, play on their tablets, and never go to bed.

What good are we doing them by giving them what they WANT when we know that it is not GOOD for them? Without proper nutrition and a good night’s sleep, our kids come to school irritable, anxious, and inattentive. In addition, we send them the wrong message. They learn they can do what they want and not do what they don’t want.

The concept of “need to do” is absent. Unfortunately, in order to achieve our goals in our lives, we have to do what’s necessary, which may not always be what we want to do. For example, if a child wants to be an A student, he needs to study hard. If he wants to be a successful soccer player, he needs to practice every day. Our children know very well what they want, but have a very hard time doing what is necessary to achieve that goal. This results in unattainable goals and leaves the kids disappointed.

TRAIN THEIR BRAIN
You can make a difference in your child’s life by training your child’s brain so that your child will successfully function on social, emotional, and academic levels. Here is how:

  1. Don’t be afraid to set the limits. Kids need limits to grow happy and healthy!!

Make a schedule for meal times, sleep times, technology time
Think of what is GOOD for them- not what they WANT/DON’T WANT. They are going to thank you for that later on in life. Parenting is a hard job. You need to be creative to make them do what is good for them because, most of the time, that is the exact opposite of what they want.
Kids need breakfast and nutritious food. They need to spend time outdoor and go to bed at a consistent time in order to come to school available for learning the next day!
Convert things that they don’t like doing/trying into fun, emotionally stimulating games

  1. LIMIT TECHNOLOGY, AND RE-CONNECT WITH YOUR KIDS EMOTIONALLY
    Surprise them with flowers, share a smile, tickle them, put a love note in their backpack or under their pillow, surprise them by taking them out for lunch on a school day, dance together, crawl together, have pillow fights😊
    Have family dinners, board game nights (see the list of my favorite board games), go biking, go to outdoor walks with a flashlight in the evening.
  2. TRAIN DELAYED GRATIFICATION
    Make them wait!!! It is ok to have “I am bored“ time – this is the first step to creativity
    Gradually increase the waiting time between “I want” and “I get”
    Avoid technology use in cars and restaurants, and instead teach them waiting while talking and playing games
    Limit constant snacking
  3. TEACH YOUR CHILD TO DO MONOTONOUS WORK FROM EARLY YEARS AS IT IS THE FOUNDATION FOR FUTURE “WORKABILITY”
    Folding laundry, tidying up toys, hanging clothes, unpacking groceries, setting the table, making lunch, unpacking their lunch box, making their bed
    Be creative. Initially make it stimulating and fun so that their brain associates it with something positive.
  4. TEACH SOCIAL SKILLS
    Teach them turn taking, sharing, losing/winning, compromising, complimenting others , using “please and thank you”

From my experience as an occupational therapist, the kids changes the moment parents change their perspective on parenting. Help your kids succeed in life by training and strengthening their brain sooner rather than later!

I thought that, it will be useful message to parents at large to help our children become better adults in this beautiful world.

Je? Wewe ni Mbuzi Kati ya Kundi la Kondoo

Kitakuwa ni kitu cha kushangaza sana endapo mtu ataimbisha wimbo wa mbio za Mwenge kwenye shughuli ya msiba. Au mpishi kuweka sukari kwenye pishi la wali ati. Hii yote ni kwa sababu kila mazingira yana taratibu zake na zikikiukwa basi kunatokea mkanganyiko wa mfumo mzima wa tukio au jamii husika.

Kawaida ni kwamba binaadamu huwezi kuwa katika eneo zaidi ya moja kwa wakati mmoja, ndiyo uhalisia wa mambo. Na kila unapobadili eneo unavaa uhusika wa tabia za eneo hilo, na huu ndio utashi wa binaadamu unaotutofautisha na wanyama pamoja na viumbe wengine.

Ukiwa msibani, utakuwa na utulivu na kufuata taratibu za kuwepo majonzini, ukiwa uwanja wa soka basi utapiga bashasha na kushangilia ipasavyo, ukiingia nyumba ya ibada basi utavaa utulivu na unyenyekevu sawa sawa na mazingira ya ibada.  Vivyo hivyo ukiongea na watoto utakuwa na maneno ambayo yataeleweka kwa watoto hao, na ukibadili nafasi na kuongea na watu wazima zaidi yako utatumia lugha ya staha na kuonyesha heshima kwao. Lakini utakapo kuwa na wenzako, watani wako basi utafanya utani sawia na mazingira ya watu unaotaniana nao. Ukifanya kinyume na haya, basi hali nzima ya uwepo wako inakuwa na mtazamo tofauti na wa taharuki, na kuonekana hufai kwenye eneo la hiyo jamii.

Katika mitandao ya kijamii, tumeona jinsi ambavyo inawezekana kuwepo maeneo mengi kwa wakati mmoja kwa kutumia nguvu ya simu ya mkononi “smart phone”. Una uwezo wa kuwasiliana na makundi kadhaa kwa wakati mmoja, yakijumuisha watu toka nchi mbalimbali na watu wa rika na staha tofauti. Mambo haya yote ni muhimu sana na yana tija pale yanapotumika sawasawa na makusudio yake. Lakini utaratibu unapokiukwa, yanageuka kuwa karaha na kuondoa kabisa ile maana halisi ya lengo la kuundwa kwake.

Mfano, chukulia mtu yupo kwenye kundi la WhatSapp ama Facebook la Alumni wa chuo fulani, watu hawa wanatoka katika maeneo tofauti, wana nyadhifa tofauti, wana imani tofauti nakadhalika. Hapa ni lazima kila mwanakundi atumie utashi wake kuelewa ni mambo ya aina gani yanafaa kuongelewa kwa kundi hili, heshima na staha ikiwa ni kitu cha msingi, na sio heshima kwa wanakundi tu, bali hata wewe kujiheshimisha kwao kwa michango yako na maoni yako. Michango yako ya mawazo, maoni, picha nk Je ina mchango gani jengefu kwenye jamii husika ya hilo kundi? Maana muda ni mali na gharama, hivyo kuchangia mambo yasiyo na tija, ni kupoteza muda wa watu wengine wengi, kambo ambalo sio heshima pia.

Mfano mwingine, inatokea mtu ameingia kwenye kundi lenye madhumuni ya kupeana ushauri nasaha kuhusu kilimo, yeye anashusha picha 100 za biashara yake ya vitenge. Ama kundi la kwaya ya waimbaji fulani wa kidini, halafu mtu anatuma vibonzo vyenye mlengo tofauti kabisa na lengo la kundi.

Mambo haya ni mfano mdogo sana wa jinsi gani watu wengi tunashindwa kufahamu mipaka na malengo halisi ya makundi tunayohusika nayo. Na kwa kufanya hivi, tunapoteza sana tija na umuhimu wa hizi njia za mawasiliano, na kufanya wengine kuona ni upuuzi tu kuhusika na mitandao.

Wenzetu wenye kuelewa mipaka hii, wamekuwa wakitumia makundi haya kujijenga, kusimamia kazi, kuzalisha na hata kupeana ushauri mahsusi katika mambo yao ya msingi na kujijenga kila siku. Makundi na njia hizi za mawasiliano zinatumika kujenga jamii bora, yenye kujitambua na kujikwamua katika maswala mbali mbali yanayohusu maendeleo ya jamii husika. Lakini yote haya yanatokana na uelewa wa mahali, mazingira na maudhui ya kundi na mawasiliano husika.

Mwisho nitoe rai kwa jamii yetu, hasa sisi wageni wa mitandao na teknolojia ya mawasiliano ya kisasa. Kufahamu jinsi gani tunaweza kutumia haya mawasiliano kwa tija, kujijenga na kujikwamua katika maswala mbali mbali. Kufahamu kuwa kutoelewa jinsi ya kuzitumia njia hizi, kuna sababisha madhara makubwa sawia na faida zitokanazo na kufahamu matumizi bora za mawasiliano haya.

Tukijifunza na kuheshimu mipaka na mazingira ya mawasiliano yetu, tutajenga jamii bora, yenye kupanua mawazo, kufurahisha, kustawisha mawasiliano na matokeo yake kuendelea kuwa bora kila siku.

Do You Know what is Social Network?

Na, Je Wafahamu Mipaka ya Huduma za Mtandao?

I know a bit of Swahili so I will do my best to keep up with a few sentences here and there just to keep it live, especially when the message is for my fellows from Tanzania around the world.

There has been a buzz going around amongst Tanzanian political leaders whizzing about moral and what is supposed to be posted on the social network at large, and especially from a few celebrities on the rise.

Kumekuwa na matamshi ya picha za utupu, now this on its own is a very gray area, what does utupu really mean in Tanzanian context? Is a bikini considered utupu? a micro miniskirt? or just pure nude? well, I bet you will be confronted with a variety of definitions and answers from anybody you ask, this is mainly based on their understanding, and fueled by who they are talking about.

The latest was a statement from a minister of art who went ahead and said, “Tume mkamata msanii nyota wa Tanzania ‘Diamond’ kwa kosa la kutuma picha zisizo na maadili mtandaoni, pamoja na msanii mwingine Nandi, lazima wafahamu kuwa mtandaoni sio kokoro la kutupa uchafu wao”

Well here is where I see a problem with the whole fiasco and his or the ministerial office understanding on the matter.

Being on the internet does not mean OPEN, there are several services that are on the internet BUT they are Private.

Anything that has REGISTER then log in to use is not OPEN. Users of these services they have to agree on a set of rules, privacy policies and terms of use in order to qualify to use the services. ONLY if they violate these rules and terms they will be denied use of the system.

Anybody who will in one way or another consume content from these services, should have access to the said services and abide by the rules and regulations of the service. Reading content from Facebook, Instagram, Twitter etc is not open to non-members.

Even within the registered members, you have to FOLLOW or be friends with someone to consume their content.

Hivyo hakuna kitu kama kuvunja maadili mtandaoni tu kwa sababu hazija mpendeza mtu fulani ama muheshimiwa as they call them,  if I am posting content on my account, and the people who have agreed to follow me are using the content.

GOSSIP aka UMBEA

My fellow friends from Tanzania are notorious for gossiping online, they are the best when it comes to scrutinizing somebodies private matters online, they can spread news like wildfire as if they are on commission. This is where the problem begins. This problem has propagated to even the official in high offices, they act very confidently only based on gossip tips if it trends they will trend with it. Wanapiga umbeya kama wanalipwa kwa masaa

They are willing to share photos of dead people, people in an accident, even children doing a different kind of things, it is a pandemic in the society online. For many what matters is somebody gets trashed, taken down, humiliated and shamed. It is sad but that is the reality of things. BECAUSE the inverse if true that, they will not share or spread the news about somebody’s success, or some achievement, or an educative post or something of that nature.

When somebody who uses one system, get an interesting story or a photo of somebody having a good time with the significant other, then they will snap a screenshot, add some comments and then share on a different social network service. That on its own is a breach of privacy and rules of content sharing.

Follow me on these, You read something on Facebook (only registered users can read) you share on Instagram (Only your followers will read, or Instagram registered users) etc. All these services they share a common rule for information sharing. NO CHILD UNDER 13 IS ON THESE networks, or supposed to be. And these services have their international definition of what is considered nude.

When the minister tells the media that inappropriate content has been posted by somebody, the question should be HOW THE HELL DID THE MINISTER GET THE CONTENT? and who actually took the content from the boundaries of the service to the public?

Double Standars
When it comes to online content, it is an ocean to cover, only the trending issues will get condemned, but the rest will continue to soar, this is true even for this issue of maadili mitandaoni. The ministry is focusing only on some individuals and some trending gossip that goes with it, there is no really plan to combat and create an understandable ground rule to guide everybody whether small or big.