And so, the period between naming ceremony or baby dedication and sending out invitation for the child’s wedding ceremony looks like a 100m dash. But isn’t that what it is? As soon as the child is born, they can’t wait to hit the ground running.
While some of us go to “sleep” waiting until the child is able to understand those so called complex issues about life,(until perhaps they hear “Daddy what is oral sex?” few days to his/her 7 birthday) smart parents know that they also must hit the ground running; and ensure they are constantly ahead of the child or just at par.
In doing this it pays to understand the various stages the child must go through as we fashion out a Parenting strategy/style for the kind of relationship we want to build with our children. I term these stages: “The Age of Indoctrination”,”The Age of Consolidation” and “The Age of Clarification & Consultation.”
At the age of Indoctrination, the child is between the age of 0-6. I actually believe this phase starts even from the womb, where you have control over what goes into the child’s mental and even spiritual development the child takes everything you say without questioning anything.
You can attest to the fact that if you teach the child to lie prostate or kneel down when greeting older people, they do it with joy and fun. Especially if the feedback from those they are greeting makes them feel good. People of faith introduce the child to their faith and religion and the child takes everything hook line and sinker.
During the age of Consolidation- usually between 7- 12,the demand basically is to reinforce what has been taught or better still the Indoctrination of the last 6 years. Here,you try to deepen the values you taught and modelled. The sad thing about this phase is that you may not be able to enjoy it if you haven’t done any conscious, personal Indoctrination from 0-6. That is not to say that the child had not been Indoctrinated. It just that you weren’t the one who did the indoctrination. Imagine all the forces trying to co-parent your child.
So, if you spent the entire period between age 0-6 “sleeping and snoring” because you think the child is still “small ” it is either you are still trying to start indoctrination at this age or countering what the child has picked up and soaked in. None of these two is a stroll in park given the fast paced nature of this dispensation.
Let’s discuss the third phase next time.