Thursday, 6 February 2020


He came in with his father into my consulting room. They were almost passing for twin brothers, the only difference was the built and the look The father had more built and obviously looked older. That was the result of adolescents' rapid growth. Adolescents are people between 10 and 19 years.

My patient was 16. Many things are special about people in this age group. One prominent thing is their thinking and view about life. They believe in fairytales a lot. Dont mind me like I was not once in the same dreamland before age and reality of life woke me up.

What did I own this visit Victor I asked my patient? (real name withheld), he went straight to the point my dad promised me a dental brace for my exam success. I just passed so I was here to get my brace.

They had gone to dental unit of the hospital earlier. They were directed back to General out patient department to get referral. So victor was in my consulting room to get the referral letter to the dentist to get his dental brace promised him for exam success by his father.

I asked him any tooth anomalies? what was his reason for wanting a dental brace. I was shocked the answer Victor gave me and this was what prompted me to write this piece.

He said the celebrity he loved was using dental brace that was why he wanted it. I am not sure I heard the reason victor gave well.

As a general practitioner, I know people use dental brace for cosmetic reasons but a teenager of 16 years without any teeth anomalies wanted dental brace because his hero celebrity he was watching on TV was using it?

This shock made me to turn to the father who granted such request. In fact, bigger shock came from the father. I asked him if he heard the reason his son gave for getting a dental brace.

He said yes and further justified it by saying" Doctor what can I do ? He said that was what he wanted for his success in the exam. Even at home that was how he behaved. Anything he wanted if you didn't give him, he would not be happy again.

Did I just hear that from Victor's dad too? I screamed in my head. A 16 year old boy dictates what he wants to you at home and you are the father and parent? The father smiled back sheepishly again.

Seriously ladies and gentlemen I entered counselling mode immediately.

I saw impending danger here. The future of a young man was at stake.

I saw wrong parenting for an adolescent here.

I asked Victor for his permission to counsel him with his father together. He did not decline though but was wondering what the counselling was for.

Any problem? Counselling format has always been basically to ask what the patients know about the topic and you as the the counsellor give them all the correct information and options then guide them to make a rational decision best for them.

I ventured out on this voyage. The topic I had to deal with here with Victor and his dad was ADOLESCENCE AND PARENTING. I asked Victor what he understood by being an adolescent. He seemed not to understand much about adolescence despite being one.

I asked the father about parenting an adolescent, he said and I quote" doctor is there anything special about adolescents being parented ?". Within me I was screaming in my head again. No wonder Victor was in my consulting room this morning for cosmetic dental brace motivated by hero celebrity.

Time will fail me to tell you all information I gave them on ADOLESCENCE AND PARENTING but i will summarise it not to bore you.

I told them: Adolescence is a stage of life for people between 10 and 19 years.

This stage can be developmentally divided into three according to World Health Organisation (WHO).

First is early adolescence (10-13), mid adolescence ( 14-16) and late adolescence (17-19).

These 3 stages can be summarized thus developmentally: Early adolescents have brain of a child and body of an adult.

Mid adolescents have 50% child's brain and 50% adult's brain and body of an adult.

The late adolescents have brain of an adult and the body of an adult. Hence the decisions taken at this stage of life go hand in hand with these peculiarities.

Victor is 16. He has body of an adult already but 50% child's brain. You are wondering why I would say that? Was it not obvious from the decision made by Victor so far?

Now to parenting, parenting is guiding and nurturing a child in all aspects of life either you are the biological or non biological parents.

There are 4 ways you can parent a child and the meaning of each parenting style based on two issues which are LOVE AND DISCIPLINE.

The 4 types of parenting are: Permissive parenting which is LOVING A CHILD ALL THE TIMES WITHOUT DISCIPLINE;

Authoritarian parenting style which means DISCPLINING A CHILD ALL THE TIMES WITHOUT ANY LOVE;

Uninvolved parenting style which means the parents are not even doing any of the two, NO LOVE, NO DISCIPLINE, the child is on his or her own

and the last parenting style which is Authoritative parenting style,also known as Balanced parenting style, which involves LOVING AND DISCIPLINING A CHILD EQUALLY.

Research rated Authoritative parenting style as the best parenting style world wide and the remaing three parenting styles as defective.

Now I turned to Victor's father which of the parenting styles i have explained now do you think you have been using for Victor?

The 60 year old man was quiet for almost 2 minutes, surprising to me, with almost tears in his eyes said, doctor I never knew all these types of parenting styles and their consequences as you just explained.

He said doctor no doubt the permissive parenting style seemed to be the one I have been using with Victor." Doctor what can i do now? Is it not too late for him?"

That was how i raised all his 2 elder brothers and doctor i must tell you they have not been doing well on their own. The first brother had drug issue and  the second brother was irresponsible.

To my surprise, Victor in tears after hearing my oratory education on Adolescence and Parenting and its consequences and heard his father's helpless question, he said daddy it is not too late. I dont want any dental brace again. Daddy guide me the authoritative way. The best way you think I would turn out best guide me.

The two hugged each other with mist of tears in their eyes and left closing the door of my consulting room behind them.

Now my own tears erupted in my head, did I just change a life,a future, a family, a generation?

Because Victor would have gone ahead to likely parent his own children too this wrong way and the trend continues and becomes transgenerational.

I am happy i have just made another impact. As i close my write up, I will like to appeal to every parent reading this anywhere in the world, LOVING A CHILD WITHOUT DISCIPLINING THEM IS NOT LOVING THEM, IT IS DESTROYING THEIR  LIVES.

Please LOVE your child, meet their needs, cater for them, ask for their opinion and respect their opinions to the extent that opinion is beneficial to their present and future and make sure that after putting everything together and considering their highest good, have the final saying by showing them the right path.

They may not appreciate you today don't worry, when through your BALANCED LOVE AND DISCIPLINE PARENTING STYLE, they look back tomorrow as a fulfilled soul, they will forget the temporary gratification of all love without discipline and bless the day God gave you to them as their guide through life.

The writer is Dr Adesida Adewumi, he works in the  department  of Family Medicine, Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital, AKTH, Kano, Nigeria


No comments:

Post a Comment

Show Emoticons

Share English German French Arabic Chinese Simplified