Dr. Otiko Afisah Djaba, a former Minister, Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection, has advised mothers not to be afraid of disciplining their children to prevent them from going wayward.
She said being a good and loving mother did not mean one should not discipline her child, adding: “Spare the rod and spoil your child and you will cry buckets of tears.”
Dr. Djabah gave the advice at a programme organised for the GBC Ladies Association to commemorate this year’s “Mothers’ Day” in Accra.
She asked them to be loving and fair but firm with their children, saying mothers were to have a “hard head and soft heart,”
“However, disciplining your children is not a license to go overboard or to abuse your children. When a child does something wrong, offends you, lies or steals and you punish them by putting their hand in boiling soup or oil, or a child wets the bed and you pour boiling hot water on the child, a child goes out without your permission and you cane the child mercilessly or to death, that is child abuse and criminal.
“Protect your children from all forms of abuses. Extreme discipline can push some children to do worse or misbehave even more. Mothers must find the balance in disciplining children and training them to be responsible. Strive for a balance where you are not too strict or too lenient,” Dr Djabah said.
“Some children do not do any house chores as we have house helps, some houses have cooks so how will these children learn how to cook, these city kids don’t go to the farm. Some parents work hard to foot all the educational bills, build, buy houses and cars for their children and other personal belongings.
“So what will these children do for themselves or their mothers? One child told me not to worry because they will soon have robots to do all the chores in the near future,” she said.
Dr. Djabah said the noble thing a mother could do for her children was to inspire them.
She called on all to celebrate single mothers, mothers with disability and mothers with children with disability or special needs who had double responsibilities.
She charged mothers to relate well with their children, especially as they grew older into adults.
“For the relationship you had when they were babies, children and teenager’s change when they become independent adults, with their own lives and families. You must provide emotional support for your children at all the different stages of their development and growth by being a great mum through thick and thin,” she said.
“Mothers I charge you to be strong and wise mothers who raise stronger and wiser children. Show some love to each other and connect as a demonstration of your love and renew your promise to be the best mum that you can be, the super mum,” she added.
She encouraged mothers to take time off their busy schedules to enjoy their children and be happy together with activities like watching movies, going out to places they like, doing things together like reading, cooking, exercising, shopping, reading, listening to music, playing games, and dancing.
Dr. Djabah said mothers were to chase their dreams, but not at the expense of their children, as it was not good enough to give birth and watch the child being destroyed.
“Children, don’t be selfish or wicked towards your mother. Don’t take your mother’s love for granted. Show your mother some appreciation and love; let her know how much she means to you. Shower her with love, visits, kindness, thoughtfulness, patience, make time for her, and give her useful gifts.
“Remember that a mother’s love is unconditional; mothers have enormous amounts of love for their children. So children treat your mothers well. There is nothing as powerful as a mother’s love and nothing as healing as a child’s love and smile,” she advised.
She emphasised that no matter how grown a child was, he or she would always need the mother and vice versa.
“Imagine what the world would be like without mothers or children. Children, honour and revere your mothers and father. The things mothers can do for love, nobody else can do,” she stressed.