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Hello Everyone! I am thrilled to share my perspective on parenting in this wonderful group. My name is Nonye Ike Otuonye. I am a training consultant, delivering workbased apprenticeships, an entrepreneur mentor and mother to two young adults Tobi 22 and Omez 21. Omez is my nephew who I informally adopted when he was a baby.
I am a very unconventional parent, I raised my children as a single Mum for a very long time and simply made the best of the support network I had at that time. I worked as a part time manager when they were little, to balance my role as a parent and working mum.
When they were young I encouraged them to excel in both sports and their academics, this was a combination of swimming classes, playing hockey, scout club and young leaders classes when they were in secondary school.
These activities helped them as they grew up, to be more independent, mapping out their daily activities and decision making skills, it also helped them build their social skills, interacting with other people in a very diverse society and appreciate the love of travel and the art of diplomacy, these things were and still are important to me as a parent.
I also encouraged them to have faith in God by embedding this in their learning culture. I taught my daughter how to read using the picture bible and my nephew was very active as an altar boy in the Catholic Church. This helped with their life management skills, especially as they grew older and began to face the real world, developing coping mechanisms to deal with challenges as part of life, being strong and knowing with God there is Always a solution.
Now here is the honest bit!
As my children got older my relationship with them changed. I learnt how to listen more, talk less, address and respect them as adults. I realised that even though they were young adults, they still needed me as a parent but in a different way, they needed me to listen to their plans, discuss options and be very supportive as they wait on one or two things to work out for them.
Through this I developed my parental listening skills and paraphrased their words to show I have been actively listening on a range of issues from career plans, relationships in very honest terms, marriage, having children one day, managing their budgets, encouraging them to want more from life and be overcomers not just through what I tell them but how they see me silently get through life's hurdles and holding on to faith. I think older children observe more and it rubs off like they say.
As a parent to young adults, I have learnt that you might not be pleased with some of their decisions, but you can offer suggestions, provide resources, information, support and pray for them, everyday.
In conclusion, teach them to appreciate themselves as well as their loved ones, count their blessings, learn how to adjust and be humble. Spend quality time with them in between your busy schedules. Learn their lingo, allow them to teach you a thing or two, listen to their views on things and try not to force your views on them.
Once again thank you very much for the opportunity.