Are you winning as a Parent?

Northern Cape teenager, Sthando sacrificed and saved money earned from vacation jobs to buy material to sew a dress she saw on pop star, Rihanna. But when her parents refused to allow her to wear it to her 16th birthday party, the teenager tried to take her own life.

For her parents, it was yet another example of how difficult it has become to compete with cultural and societal influences in their child’s life.

Sthando is one of thousands of impressionable South African girls whose vision of beauty is informed by their peers, the media and the pop culture. It is a mindset that is affirmed by local celebrities whose lifestyles are celebrated in local media.

So, in a sense, when we say that today’s youth are degenerate and materialistic, I think the finger points back to parents. We have failed to instill a value system that would help them grow to be responsible and law abiding citizens.

Can we really limit access to media, get the media to change their coverage approach or stop our children from interacting with their peers? No, we cannot.

We can, however, become better parents who have time for our kids; hold and convey good values and lovingly exercise discipline and boundaries.

Families Matter Programme (FMP) is an evidence based parenting intervention implemented by Soul City Institute. FMP has identified the gap between parents and children as key to the development of young people. Its rationale is to foster better and meaningful relationships between parents and children to build realistic bodily and personality images based on their values and not that of their peers, media or the pop culture.

“I am still in shock but grateful at the same time that my only daughter is alive today, she could have died and that would have killed me too. I don’t know who this Rihanna is, but I know Sthando has pictures of her everywhere in her room. She even wants to sing like her, I am just happy she didn’t die, I am just so happy,” said Sthando’s teary mother.

Hannah Mabika is the Master Trainer for Families Matter Programme and the article was made possible by Soul City Institute.
From Greater Alex Today

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