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- Advice & Tips for Parents of Teens
Teen Parents Growing Up With Their Kids
Kids having kids has given us new lingua franca, like ‘little man’ when referring to your son or teen mothers calling their daughters ‘mini me.’
All societies used to look down upon kids having kids but it happens. A child brings joy to families despite the circumstances surrounding its birth.
In Africa, there are certain customs that are followed to recognise that the child was not a product of marriage, but a child nonetheless. In most cases it belongs to its mother’s family.
The first thing on the agenda is to step up on the plate and say yes, I am the father. The most difficult part though, is taking care of that little soul so that your son or daughter can lead a successful life.
Spend Time with Your Kids
The i-Pad is cool but young kids like hanging out with their parents. They think the world of them. Use that love and show them the world, not your world, but the real world that will be kind or cruel to them.
You are 17 or younger but you are a dad. Was it a planned pregnancy or it just happened?
It does not matter, the modus operandi (MO) now is to act like a grade teacher and teach the ‘little man’ some basics.
First of all, he must know that he is beautiful. Yes, he is, if he is made in the image of god, like a tree and the moon. This is important because the world will hurt him or worse, just take a gun and kill him for no apparent reason. Just because he is fine.
Therefore the things you tell him must be a bullet-proof vest against haters, especially those in uniform. Make him street-proof. Give him an anti-virus.
It might be difficult to convince your kid that reading and writing is still cool.
After all, you and your girlfriend are always massaging mobile phones and iPads. He tries to squeeze in a word but fails, because you are texting, be-friending somebody on Face and following some stranger in Egypt.
Filling In Forms
All forms are online now, but I maybe be wrong. Get some forms and pretend to be busy. Your daughter will join you in a heartbeat and ask you the eternal question, ‘What are you doing daddy?
Give her a form to fill. I don’t know how old she is but she must know how to write her name.
Who is the father and mother?
Do you know how to write my name honey?
What is our address daddy?
She will learn about zip codes, telephone numbers, e-mail addresses and nationality.
We live in Canada so the government always wants to know if you belong to First Nations, the original owners of the rivers and salmon, or you came from Scotland or Africa.
There will be a box about income. What is an income daddy?
Just filling in forms will give your daughter a lot of information that she will use in school or later on in life. You think your friends are cool?
How many of them come to you for help because they are having a hard time filling in forms? Just think. Has anybody given you anything without filling forms?
Take her to the mall. Pick up forms for competitions, store card application forms, drugstore air miles, anything. Make that a weekly exercise. She must also pick up some when she goes out with her mother.
Grocery Store Lesson
Take your son to Bon Marche, Galleria or supermarket as soon as he gets off those diapers. He must know what shopping is all about, zero dollars. That’s right. There is never enough money.
He must hold the shopping list, until he is old enough to write one. You will tell him that you need a pound of this, 40 grams of that, 2 liters of milk or a dozen oranges.
Look son. These nuts are 50% off. What is that daddy? Let’s get the original price first. If they were $3.50 per 100 grams, how much are they now? It won’t happen in one day. You need to hang out with your son more, so that all this education can sink in.
You are young yourself so cooking might not be ‘your thing’. This is the time to learn so that you can teach your son some math.
Depending on his age, he must cut up things. Oranges can be cut into halves or quarters. Help him cut as many pieces as possible. Let him eat some. Also help yourself. How many oranges are left?
A chicken wing has two parts, wrong three. We usually cut off the pointed part and throw it away because it has no nutritional value. It is food in some countries.
Get into the habit of making your own pizza so that you can use it as a teaching aid.
If you order from Boston Pizza, tell them not to use their pizza cutter. You will teach your son how to use the home pizza cutter. He will think it is fun and also learn how many slices he can get from a medium or large pizza.
Cash or Credit
All the things we have mentioned cost money. This is a way of introducing him to French francs, euros, pound sterling, yen, cedis, nairas, or dollars.
Spread coins on a table as early as possible. You can have $5, $2 and some dimes. He should put them in piles. Dismantle them then ask him to give you $15.50 for the pizza.
Things Money Cannot Buy
The stars. Daddy, why are you sitting alone outside? Ask your daughter to count the stars. She cannot. It is the time to introduce the word infinity.
Fall Leaves. Your son already knows why we have a season called the fall. England calls it autumn. Find spots where you can walk among the beautiful fall leaves on the ground.
You can introduce colour. Which leaf is lime green? Which one is red?
Daddy's Little Helper
The best way to teach your son or daughter anything, is to give the impression that they are helping you. They also like to boast to their friends.
Don’t sweat. Nature is on your side. It is easy acting as a grade school teacher because of three things.
The love in your child’s eyes.
They way small kids like following their parents around.
The way small children mimic their parents. If you like playing the piano, they will. If you like putting on overalls to see what is under cars, they will. If you smoke they will. If you drink they will. If you carry guns they will.
The way small children are curious about this world outside women’s wombs.
The Mean Playground
Kids are mean. Your kid should be able to say something about his dad at school. Kids should not taunt him. ‘You don’t have a dad.’
Worse still, he should not be a school bully who thinks that talking about dads is stupid. Whether you are a teenage dad or not, take care of business at an early age.
Time is not on your side, and that iPad will not help you. It cannot replace nature, which allows kids to learn by seeing, hearing, touching, smelling and sensing.
Rewards. It is your child telling everyone that, “My dad showed me.”