Founder, Chief Executive Officer, GAL Parenting Place, Abimbola Olayinka, in this interview with Yetunde Oladeinde, speaks on her passion for childcare, her transition to professional parenting and how it impacts society.
Tell us how your journey into parenting as your core began?
I transitioned from being a boarding student to a day student to enable me have time to assist my sister. I thereafter stayed with her for some months, taking good and deliberate care of my new found treasure.
Fast forward to the present, I have worked in different business sectors, achieving as much as I could. However, I felt unfulfilled knowing that there was a missing link. As I searched for the missing link, everything looked quite hazy, but something dominant kept reminding me about my passion for childcare.
What is the nexus between your various business interests?
Rather than call it business interests, I would refer to it as various lines of operation. These lines may seem diverse; they are however linked in more ways than one. As such, the nexus is not far-fetched, making it easily identifiable. The nexus is simply “Peace at Home.” Independently, my lines of operation ranges from child advocacy, family unity, emotional stability, positive psychology, neuro-linguistic programming to cognitive behavioural therapy. These are all connected, as they jointly help an individual achieve the requisite positive mental health required of every member of a family. This invariably creates peace in our homes as positive mental health helps us to relate better with other family members and the larger society.
What inspires the things you do?
I have always dreamt of a world with absolute peace. So, achieving peace in our various homes is the first step in the right direction. Hence, my popular phrase: “Peace starts at home and it begins with you.”
My drive is for every child to be raised in a healthy, positive and peaceful environment because every child deserves just that. If we can’t change the world now, then we are duty-bound to encourage, motivate, nurture and support our children to model the positive leadership skills we, as parents, exhibit within the four walls of our homes. A lot of parents do not see the link between leadership and parenting. Thus, my desire to make parents understand that parenting is also leadership. As such, I engage them through coaching, training as well as speaking engagements.
Parenting is a salient issue in society today; what do you think most parents are doing wrong?
Parenting is more about us, the parents than the children. While growing up, majority of us were erased and not raised. We were tamed and forced to empty our jar of excitement and curiosity either by several severe beatings, carefully orchestrated resounding slaps or downpour of overwhelming and heart-wrenching curses. Can we blame our parents? No, not at all. Considering the information available to them as at then, that was the best they could do. Correcting a child by inflicting pains and scars was a reminder for that child to desist from negative behaviours. Now we know better, and it is expected that we do better, regardless of our societal and financial status.
So, we take parents through the journey of self-realisation and self-awareness to enable them make that right shift from the disempowering belief system into an empowering belief system.
With your experience, what parenting approach can effectively address juvenile delinquency?
We have various parenting approaches. The most preferable is the authoritarian parenting style. Authoritarian parents are expected to be nurturing, very reasonable, self-disciplined and compassionate. They are also equipped with empathy and high emotional intelligence skill. They set clear expectations, consequences for actions and boundaries with a good follow-through approach. They practice parent leadership, whereby consequences for actions are stated clearly with reasons.
What is responsible for the incessant breakdown of marriages today?
I would blame the two really; just that I would blame the home-front first, before throwing blames on harsh economy. Experience has shown that a well-nurtured child from a healthy and enabling environment with the right skills is likely to last longer in a marriage than a child that was not exposed to the right psycho-social environment during the developmental years. This is regardless of the effects of a harsh economy. I am also aware that it depends largely on the handwritings on our walls in the journey of becoming who we are in life today.
In my opinion, I think a harsh economy should only serve as a test for how solid our backgrounds are in the face of recurring difficulties. In the absence of solid backgrounds, difficult situations amplify our lack of emotional intelligence.
What tips will you highlight as pathways to building stronger families?
Building a strong family foundation is procedural and therefore requires a step-by-step approach. Like in architecture, a sturdy and solid structure that would stand the test of time starts with a feasible and approved building plan; so is building a strong family foundation.
What would you say is the reason for the increase in rape pandemic?
This is a relevant discussion that calls for immediate actions. The Coronavirus pandemic of the past few months put a stop to the livelihood of a lot of people, regardless of age and gender. Accordingly, it kept youths idle. Whereas a few youths took the time to develop themselves, a few others wasted their time on frivolities. In relation to your question, the noticeable increase in rape could be attributed to poor parental upbringing of the erring youths.
Credit: The Nation