What your child should know about EndSARS protests
In the past few days, the country has been shaken by youths and the #EndSARS protests. While all media platforms are talking about it, children have been directly or indirectly exposed to these protest scenes.
They must have perceived that there is an uproar or chaos happening and they are probably wondering what is going on, says parenting coach and founder, Viviann Okoye Parenting Academy, Vivian Okoye.
“If you have the very outspoken kids, they must have asked you what is going and for many parents this is a dilemma. Many are confused or at loss with words to adequately explain to a child exactly what is going on. Many are also afraid to teach their kids about activism because in this part of the world, activism can easily be defined as exposing yourself to danger.”
The convener of Parents Summit Africa noted that, as much these concerns are genuine, it is important to know that the generation Z and Alpha children are born very vocal and expressive. They have the natural inclination to expressly speak up for the things they want and believe in. As parents, it’s a duty to help them use these qualities for the right causes.
Continuing, Okoye said that every event that happens around us could be used as a moment to teach our kids skills, increase their knowledge and empower them.
“As parents, this protest is presenting us with an opportunity to teach our kids quite a number of things including patriotism, unity, love, empathy, lending a voice for a just cause, speaking for those who can’t and demanding for justice.”
This is a good time to teach our kids what patriotism is and what it means to love your country. Also, it’s a time to teach our kids how important it is to speak up against injustice. For instance, teach your child to speak up or report when a child is being bullied at school, instead of sitting at a corner laughing or doing nothing about it.
The mum of two stressed that the recent happenings has also presented us with the opportunity to teach our children about responsibility and accountability.
“Using the Nigerian government as a case study, we should teach kids how to handle responsibilities and positions of leadership with diligence and integrity.
“Another very important thing we can teach our kids is that their voice matters. In this part of the world we raise children with blind obedience and this has contributed to our inability to hold our leaders accountable because right from childhood, we were programmed not to question things.
As we explain the current situations to our kids, we should explain to them the need to speak up when something does not feel right but we must also make them understand that to speak up does not mean being rude or disrespectful. It means asking questions, opening up a dialogue, and asking for explanations.
“To explain the protest to your child in simple language, tell them that the protest is just a way citizens are speaking up and asking the government to do what is right and make Nigeria a better place. And this is what happens when a leader has refused to do things right or listen to the people they are leading.”
Okoye added that beyond just talking about these things, we must model them.
“Your children should see you as an example of a just person in your everyday life, they must see you speak up for those who don’t have a voice, they must see you treat everyone as human. We do all this bearing in mind that it is our collective effort to build the Nigeria of our dreams.”