In a clime like ours, where
many people are ignorant of the child’s right act and children’s opinions are not sought for, even while deciding issues concerning them, everybody thinks childhood is simply a care-free era.
Although many children may not initiate a conversation on what bothers them, they surely do go through one form of pressure or the other. Things like school demands, their social life and coping with house chores, in no mean measure, most times create pressures that can be quite overwhelming for them.
Unique Amadi, a basic 9 student of St Scholarstica Secondary School here in Port Harcourt explains that she wakes up every 4.00 am on week days to prepare for school, closes at 3pm and resumes preparatory classes for her junior WAEC immediately and closes at 4pm. She arrives home about 6.00pm and is faced with plates to wash in addition to her school’s assignment that she must submit the next day.
Unique is also an active member of the children department of her church, a chorister in that regard. Unique is just one among millions of children who go through similar experience on daily basis, some even play the role of bread winners in the home due to unfavourable economic experience.
In the face of these enumerated demands, the onus lies on the poor little child to deliver in every side; be it from the home front, the school or the church, the child is expected to prove him/her self a faithful steward.
Sometimes some parents seem not to know what to do to assist their children cope with these pressures but they surely do want you to reach out and help them cope with their troubles. Even though it may be practically impossible to avert pressures on children, you can, as a parent help them develop healthy ways to cope with pressures.
Resorting to the choice of the child as a money-making venture for the family has exposed most of its victims to the other harsh and ugly side of life many live daily hunted by the dangers incurred in the process of trying to cushion the effect of the harsh economy on families.
Ofcourse, the current economic downturn in Nigeria, and around the world, has refocused attention on the process through which families assist themselves. The harsh economic realities have pushed many parents, the original family bread winners out of their jobs, leaving many family tables to go for days without food.
Many of the parents, guardians and other household authorities, lack entrepreneurial skills to fall back on in such scotching situation. This situation has not only created great pressure on the children and teens in the homes, but has put upon them, the burden of lending support towards the family’s upkeep to avoid eventual collapse.
Most tender-hearted students on their own volition decide to help provide for their parents, siblings and themselves if they have the grace to do so.
Visits to grassroot communities in Rivers State in particular, and Nigeria at large, revealed that many tweens and teens who would have actually preferred to be in classroom studying or be in school uniforms and be found in school environments having fun with teachers and fellow pupils or students, colleagues, are rather hawking goods on the streets and high ways while some baby-sit in various homes.
The reason is simply to aid their respective families earn income with which to make ends meet. These school drop outs, are most times used as sacrificial lamb for others to be schooled or to provide food on the family table. Many no doubt, are economically viable hence responsible for their family’s financial stability.
It is a pitiable situation, as it is obvious that many of these teens are neither frustrated, unstable, uninterested in school nor are they guilty of any academic or behavioural misconduct. “They surely do want to be in school, but their families may need their financial help to make ends meet” says molly scott, co-author of Dropping out and clocking in: A portrait of Teens who leave school early and work.
Scott was quick to point out that in some cases, children hand over their pay cheques to parents, while others notice a need in their families and decide to pay for utilities, groceries, school supplies and clothes for themselves and siblings. There also abound cases where youth essentially support themselves within their families or move out on their own.
For the ones who cannot work and school, it is indeed a matter of trading their future to address their family’s financial problems. On yearly basis, the oldest children are found stopping their education to help out with family financial situation. These students never get a chance to go back to school.
However, must children trade their future for their family’s good? Ofcourse, this cycle can be stopped similar economic hardship was witnessed sometimes in the 70’s and 80’s, there was provision for evening schools where children who worked in the day had the privilege to school in the evening and vice versa.
Again, one pressure starring the child on the face as he/she grows up, is that brought on him/her by the peers; friends and course mates. A child once stopped attending maths class simply because his friend advised him against doing so. They rather chose to be going out for lunch during maths period.
As children grow up, they are faced with some challenging decisions of which some don’t actually have a clear right or wrong answer and others involve serious moral questions. Even adults sometimes are faced with this kind of challenge-where a friends tries to influence each other’s action.
It is important to learn to say ‘No’ to offers from peers when they are not useful, this the parents must let them know.
Use an excuse for not wanting to accept such offer and proffer an alternative instead, most importantly, avoid the people who pressure you. This is so because, by mere spending time with you. You learn from them and they also learn from you. It is quite human to listen to and learn.
“It may be quite tough to be the only one who says “No” to peer pressure, but you can do it. Paying attention to your own feelings and beliefs about what is right and wrong can help you know the right thing to do.
Inner strength and confidence can help you stand firm, walk away and resist doing something when you know better” so said Dr D’Arcy Lyness yet their limited capacity for self-regulation and susceptibility to peer pressure, place them at risk as they navigate and experiment with various social media sites. Akpa (2014) explains that the numerous benefits of the social media can also constitute threats to their health and safety if unmonitored and uncensored with all the risks of insecurity arising from: social networking to the detriment of other productive educational endeavours
-Exposure to pornography and moral depravity
-Access to online gambling sites, detrimental to mental health and youth development and
–Internet risky behavior such as socialising online with unknown persons; as well as
-Depression, occasioned by addiction which results in time wasting as over indulgence leaves less time for more serious activities.
However in as much as the computer is an incredibly useful tool that can help one get a lot done, we can hardly rule out the possibility of children spending so much time on it and an addiction to gaming and chatting is not in any way lesser to drug addiction and can be quite injurious to the child’s mental health.
Assemblies Of God Women Move To Check Hypertension Prevalence
As the women of Assemblies of God, Ikwerre -South District, aka Canaan City, converged for a three-day religious summit in Alakahia, Port Harcourt, the need for a careful living to check the prevalence of high blood pressure, otherwise called hypertension, has been reechoed. This is part of the obligations of the management of the women department at the district level, at improving the wellbeing of its members.
Hypertension is a health condition in which the force of the blood against the artery walls is too high. Usually, it is defined as blood pressure above 140/90, and considered severe if the pressure is above 180/120.
Addressing participants at the conference, recently, Dr Okpako Ebruphiyo highlighted age, black race, family history, overweight and sedentary living as risk factors for hypertension and cautioned them against the intake of alcohol and table salt as such ingredients are not only capable of provoking high blood pressure, but could exacerbate its existence in the body.
The medical expert who emphasised the imperative for body relaxation as a measure against stress, called for regular exercise, regular medical checkup as well as intake of less carbohydrate with more vegetables. Referring to hypertension as a silent killer, she warned that a careless attitude towards it would lead to stroke, aneurysm, heart failure, weakened and narrowed blood vessels in kidneys, thickened, narrowed or torn blood vessels in the eyes. Others include metabolic syndrome, trouble with memory or understanding and dementia.
Hypertension is the most common modifiable risk factor for cardiovascular disease, the leading cause of death in both men and women. The prevalence and severity of hypertension rise markedly with age, and blood pressure control becomes more difficult with aging in both genders, particularly in women. According to research, hypertension is less common in women, compared with men, in those younger than 65 years of age, but is more common in elderly (65 years and older) women than men.
As a primary risk factor for cardiovascular disease, keeping blood pressure under control is vital for preserving health and reducing the risk of these dangerous conditions.
By: Sylvia ThankGod-Amadi
Want Your Marriage To Work?
Everyone you marry has a weakness. Only God does not have a weakness. So if you focus on your spouse’s weakness you can’t get the best out of his/her strength.
Everyone has a dark history. No one is an angel. When you get married or you want to get married, stop digging into someone’s past. What matters most is the present life of your partner. Old things have passed away. Forgive and forget. Focus on the present and the future.
Every marriage has its own challenges. Marriage is not a bed of roses. Every good marriage has gone through its own test of blazing fire. True love proves in times of challenges. Fight for your marriage. Make up your mind to stay with your spouse in times of need. Remember the vow: For better for worse. In sickness and in health be there.
Every marriage has different levels of success. Don’t compare your marriage with that of any one else. We can never be equal. Some will be far, some behind. To avoid marriage stresses, be patient, work hard and with time your marriage dreams shall come true.
To get married is declaring war. When you get married you must declare war against enemies of marriage. Some enemies of marriage are:
Ignorance, Prayerlessness, Unforgiveness, Third party influence, Stinginess, Stubbornness Lack of love, Rudeness, Laziness, Disrespect, Cheating etc. Be ready to fight to maintain your marriage zone.
There is no perfect marriage. There is no ready – made marriage. Marriage is hard work. Volunteer yourself to work daily on it. Marriage is like a car that needs proper maintenance and proper service. If this is not done it will break down somewhere exposing the owner to danger, or some unhealthy circumstances. Let us not be careless about our marriages.
God cannot give you a complete person you desire. He gives you the person in the form of raw materials in order for you to mold the person into what you desire. This can only be achieved through prayer, love and Patience
Getting married is taking a huge risk. You can not predict what will happen in the future. Situations may change so leave room for adjustments. Husband can lose his good job or you may fail to have babies. All these require you to be prayerful otherwise you might divorce.
Marriage is not a contract. It is permanent. It needs total commitment. Love is the glue that sticks the couple together. Divorce starts in the mind and the devil feeds the mind. Never ever entertain thoughts of getting a divorce. Never threaten your spouse with divorce. Choose to remain married. God hates divorce.
Every marriage has a price to pay. Marriage is like a bank account. It is the money that you deposit that you withdraw. If you don’t deposit love, peace and care into your marriage, you are not a candidate for a blissful home.
So today let us pray for our marriages.
Oshoala Tasks Nigerian Girls On Education
Reigning CAF Woman Footballer of the Year Asisat Oshoala, has urged Nigerian girls to focus on their education while exhibiting talents in sports, especially football.
Oshoala, also the Captain of the senior national female football team, Super Falcons, spoke at the 59th Inter-House Sports Competition of Queen’s College, Yaba, Lagos, on Saturday.
According to her, proper education can guarantee success of any individual and ensure production of exemplary future leaders.
She said that education could go side-by-side with sports, adding that in such a situation, one should not suffer because of the other.
“I feel very happy to be here today. I am amazed with what I have witnessed here today. It is very heartwarming.
“I am excited seeing girls compete with much zeal in the various sports showcased at this occasion.
“It shows that these girls are discovering their passion for sports unlike what it used to be in the past, where it was an ‘all boys’ thing.
“Talking about football specifically, I will really love to have lots of Asisat Oshoalas in Nigeria, but first thing first: education is very critical,” she said.
The footballer said that there was the need to ensure that young people, especially girls, would take their education serious.
“This, however, does not stop them from showcasing their talents in the area of sports, especially football,” she said.
The four-time CAF African Woman Footballer of the Year, who plies her trade with the Barcelona Female Football Club in Spain, said that she almost missed out when she decided to opt out of education to concentrate on football.
“I chose sports at some point, but at the end of the day, I realised the place of education and retraced my steps by embracing it, while still being active in sports.
“This, therefore, is the right period to let these girls understand that education and sports can go hand-in-hand,” the Brand Ambassador of Emzor said.
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