1. You are two strangers in the house.
Well, you as a parent think that you know your child too well but you have no idea that time and distance have changed your son/daughter so much that they are no longer the persons you knew before they joined boarding school. It gets worse when you do not make effort to get to understand your child.
Boarding school changes a child. They meet children of different calibre who could easily influence their way of thinking. The prison like life there alters their attitude too. Loneliness and ‘home sickness’ also contributes to their change.
Dropping your child off boarding school and expecting that they behave as you would expect is too much to expect.
Fill the gaps, communicate to your child often when you have the chance to.
Stop oversinging the lyrics of “Study hard” For what good is a child who passes with flying colours but lacks good morals?
2. You are the child and the child is the parent
Are you afraid of annoying your teenage child? Then you have reversed the roles in that house.
You often call him “Daddy” or “Mummy” even when you are reprimanding them.
You sigh when the child walks out on you as you speak and just keep silent when the child screams “I hate you!”
You are not even allowed to touch their phone yet you are the buyer. His/Her bedroom is out of bounds for you!
Take back your role and show who the parent is in that house.
Be strict in your rules and ensure they are followed to the letter.
Keep track of how they use their phones. Ask for them randomly and check what they have been upto. Some parents choose to take the phones away at night and return them to the teenager in the morning.
Spare the rod and spoil the child. Leave the Western dogma of soothing an indisciplined child, it does not work on all African children.
3. You are absent
Someone else is doing the parenting work for you because you are too busy.
You even do not attend the academic clinics because of work.
While they are at home, the househelp is supposed to watch over them and you think she will keep watching over big kids.
Even when you are around, they are always in the bedroom and you only meet in the corridors when they go to pee.
You have no idea who the friends of your children are or even where they go during the day while you are not around.
You don’t know what they watch in your TV and with who.
You come home late and they pretend to be asleep because they too are tired to start talking about how their day was.
Spare some time and be there with them, go out for a walk, watch a movie together, play a game.
Call them from their bedrooms and ask them to help with your chores and try to start conversations that might interest them.
Allow them to invite their friends over while you are around and be friendly. Avoid asking the friends too many questions. Your goal is to know your child’s friends.
Back at school, when you are needed to be in school, let you be there.
4. You rarely communicate with your son/daughter’s teacher.
Truth is many parents have no clue who their teenage son or daughter is.
One person who knows your child’s true colours is the teacher.
Ever heard of that mother whose daughter was suspended and she vehemently accused the school principal of lying about her innocent girl sneaking to see a man in the local town centre, until the daughter confessed that she was indeed sneaking out to go and have sex with him?
The mother had to take a break from the principal’s office to recover from the shock and embarrassment.
When schools resume, ensure you have the teacher’s number, their class teacher. Let them keep you updated about your son/daughter’s progress.
Work with the teacher to make a better person of your child.
5. You are a bad example
The apple does not fall far from the tree yet you want to preach water and you are the drunkard.
You think that your child does not know about your philandering but it’s no secret out there that you are very generous with your sexual fluids.
Let’s see you get angry when you find out that your daughter has a sponsor and you are also a sugardaddy. How hypocritical of you!
You steal from your employer and you preach to your teenage son how you do not condone theft in the house.
You force the children to attend church services but you have never set foot in a church.
You tell your teenage child to choose their friends wisely but all your friends are drunkards, reckless speakers and people with dysfunctional families.
Do not expect too much from your child if you are a bad example. It’s your fault.
Before you scold that teenage again for their indiscipline, call yourself a meeting and let the agenda be about you first. See whether you are playing a role in contributing to your teenage child’s bad behaviour then take the necessary steps.