Category Archives: Parenting

A World free of Violence is possible: Let’s commit to giving this a chance


 

I used to wonder as a child, why one parent beat me up so often and even ‘mercilessly’, while the other had discussions with me especially when I did something they or everyone was not so proud of. The only time this other parent gave me a total of 8 lashes, was when I broke the TV set (unintentionally of course – but then again…) back in 1985 when TVs especially in my country cameroon in West Africa, were still a big thing. Back then, TVs slept in your parents’ room or were locked up in an iron cage in the living room for fear of robbers. I used to wonder if this other parent who would use phrases such as ‘I will skin you alive’, thought of the adverse childhood experiences that trauma could and indeed has come to have in my life today. My relationship with this parent is still strained today although we are on terms with that past (I have long made my peace with all of that); that with the other parent has survived and it is still on discussions’ level especially when there is any issue at stake.

With the above example from my own life, I want to look at the possibility of a violence free world if we become aware of what we get when we are violent in anyway. Was it worth it all those violent outbursts of anger and relay of frustrations on the kid I was and was just trying to be? What was achieved if anything at all? What is the consequences today, not only on our relationship but on the other ones we have with others?

I will again be candid here, intending to spark serious reflections into the imperative need to commit to a world free of violence starting right there in our home and not on the streets or in conferences.

The first answer to my own rhetoric question is no; no it was worth the ‘skinning me alive’ – all that made me more rebellious and ‘difficult’ to handle. I recall today I would just dissociate at some point and one day ended up collapsing and only found myself in bed all embalmed. I wish I could say that was the last time I was violated and abused as a child. What could be achieved after such violence? Hate, loathing, spite, urge for revenge whichever way possible, more rebellion and the list goes on. But, we have I must admit, a two side coined consequence. I emphasize on this ‘two side’ because it could have been a single consequence: ‘More violence’ even if only subtle say non communications or outbursts of rage and tantrums into adulthood and ruined relationships. But, in my case, I am happy to say while the relationship with parent took big hits and is still on its way to recoveryville, I decided long ago I wasn’t going to ever ‘skin any child alive’. Indeed, my 4 sons know I don’t do beatings, I hold discussions or find alternative ways of dealing with what issue comes up.

I couldn’t some how for the sanity of me ever understand why one parents had to ‘hate’ me so to find violence the only or best way possible to call me to order, which one I still don’t know since it would appear even up till date they still think I am ‘a lost case’ needing some further call to order.

Violence does not necessarily result only in violence; indeed it leads very often to worst case scenarios. Lives may be lost completely, or to a mental health disorder, relationships may be forever ruined, the children may grow up so volatile they become easy preys for gangs, armed rebellion, drugs and debauchery, in short any and all things contrary to what must have ever been foreseen in the beginning. Girls may grow up so insecure and fall prey to abusive relationships, unwanted pregnancies or further gender based violence. What kind of mothers and parents/partners can they be expected to become or replicate?

Non violence is possible. I enrolled in an online course on non-violent communication last year and it was such a turning point. When one of my sons was ‘mercilessly’ spanked by a teacher in school because as a 9 year active child he wasn’t expected to be talking in class when bored, I opted for non-violent but firm communication until the issue was resolved to my satisfaction. The teacher met with the dean of studies and myself, we reviewed what happened and why, we looked at alternative ways all that could have been handled, we appreciated the issue currently at stake and the consequences if I pressed charges both with the school administration and the national delegation of education, and he made all amends as tabled including apologizing to my son and his classmates. I organized a talk and he shared our experience in a light manner, encouraging his colleagues not to resort to violence in school again.

That is the commitment I am talking about. It is possible, we have to give it a chance; It however has to start from the ‘grass roots’ that is from our own homes. In my neighbourhood, I am known as the ‘lawyer of children’. When I moved in here in 2016, one particular neighbour made me have violent flashbacks because they were always on their 4 year old ‘skinning the poor child alive’. One day, I refused to ‘mind my business’, and stormed to their gate hitting same with so much anger in me. When they finally opened up, I told them I was calling the commissioner of police for our area because they had no right to beat up a child like that (it mattered not if it were their child as they initially insisted). Their spouse probably tired by then to make any attempt at getting the beating to stop, just watched as our ‘drama unfolded’. Anyway, my involvement put an end to those beatings and the news spread in the neighbourhood like a wild fire – even spouses ever on each other’s neck started reviewing all that thereafter.

I don’t beat and all the other kids especially the young girls who are still sadly over laden with the chores more than the boys, love playing in my compound or just being around me, especially those termed ‘difficult’. I hold neighbourhood gatherings as part of activities of my association Hope for the Abused and the Battered, as well the other one I am involved in as Secretary General called Ripples of love – a name I am proud to say I chose.

Love is all we need; love is what we get when we sow love and not violence; a violence free world is possible let’s all commit to giving it a chance and be the hope for the world we want. Let’s have discussions on the table and not use our hands, whips or guns.

I am doing a fundraising campaign to open a mental health care support center for my association Hope for the Abused and Battered. If you can donate or share the campaign, please do. Attached is the budget in PDF, who knows where a funder or partner can be found?

budget mhbudget mhcsc and shelter 05.01.19 p1 budget mhcsc and shelter 05.01.19 p2csc and shelter 05.01.19 p2

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School shouldn’t be scary, home too…


Hello world, lat week Friday my son Gaby got abused in school by one of their teachers. I mean real one until lad got blisters and I had to take him to the hospital.

So, the mama bear I am and of course the advocate I am, took this up seriously and got what I wanted from the school+teacher concerned. I did a Facebook live video here to share that.

School shouldn’t be scary and neither should our homes. I hope teachers stop beating and abusing children, and I insisted that teacher talk with my son and all the class telling them he was sorry. Gaby told me that day the teacher did and told Gaby he was now going to keep an eye on him lol.

I also advocate that we parents step up our responsibilities towards our children.  They are growing up, and someday we wouldn’t have them as children again – but adults and parents too why not. What would we have taught them and shown them by example? I know I am trying my best, I have put a lot on hold to make time for them, especially for Gaby whom I left when he wasn’t even 2 years old. He said in one of my live videos he was sad when I left – and to think we spent 4 good years living away from each other while I strove in my different wildernesses?

Maybe this is also why I am such a Mother Bear after all hahaha

Happy midweek everyone

Is this child abuse or what? I need Grace to handle this


I came back home to this. Gaby (9 years old grade 5), says his teacher chose two of them to set example on. They were playing after tests and the teacher was angry.

Tomorrow is PTA for the secondary section, his brothers are there so I will be attending. I am thinking about how best to handle this.

The teacher used a gaz pipe. Out there you guys may not have gaz pipes but they are tiny pipes linking the gaz plate to the gaz bottle.

I got numb, and then cried, and then reached out to my sisterhood.

Thanks for your advice everyone

Life and love goes on in our hood


After my rant of yesterday and the meh feelings, I am happy to be on a great going today.

We did our meditation, starting again with a mini course for life. Those daily cards are simply epic. Such communion time with the team is more VIP to me than putting the home in order and etc etc.

I have said my serenity prayer over the missing lenses, and handed that over to my Almighty Father.

Indeed the day started on a very positive note and I feel fantastic.

Wishing us all a happy midweek and a day full of life and love all the way.

I am an angry woman and a wounded single parent today


https://web.facebook.com/marieangeleAbanga/videos/1224200294388439/?t=4

I hope that link takes you to the live video rant I just did to explain and sort of manage my anger.

Here is a sum sort of: “I am an angry woman and single parent today. My son’s lenses got stolen in class yesterday in a minute and all I get when I go there today, is more interrogations of my son and I, and a call to calm down. The Dean of Studies says he will talk to the class. In the meantime my son can’t copy his notes, and is already feeling I don’t even know how to put it”.

Don’t know what any one in my shoes will feel about this whole incident, I don’t even know all the feelings am feeling currently

15 reasons why am so grateful for Alain as he turns 15


 

Hello world, this whole week is sealed for me. It starts off with my first son’s 15th birthday and that alone is enough to make my week. Nothing is going to get me offset this week by Grace.

I am so grateful I kept my pregnancy against all odds and stigma, shame and all. No time for melancholy, only celebration. My son is a grown young man now and wow what a blessing it has been all along.

 

So here are 15 reasons why am so grateful for Alain especially on this day;

  1. He is the epitome of my joy;
  2. He is the evidence of God’s unconditional love and amazing Grace in my life;
  3. He is a hardworking young man;
  4. He is a our barber at home;
  5. He is the Commander in Chief of our Home; while am the mum in chief;
  6. He is named after my dad and reminds me of my dad daily;
  7. He loves his family both nuclear and extended, and he shows it;
  8. He is my 1st sounding board for 15 years now;
  9. He is the best big brother his brothers could ever have;
  10. He is a friend to many;
  11. He is the best home teacher to Gaby lol;
  12. He is an example to his mates;
  13. He is on honour roll all the time;
  14. His teachers are ever proud of him;
  15. I count on Alain quite a lot and he hardly lets me down.

For a single mother and parent like myself, who stumbled onto motherhood 15 years ago, I am sincerely only filled with love and gratitude for all my sons, Alain topping the list of course hurray.

Dear all, join me wish hum a belated happy birthday and transitioning into…

 

 

So what did the teacher say today?


Happy midweek world, while I still sort visa application stuffs ahead of the vip World’s 1st Global Ministerial Mental Health Summit due for next 8-9 in London, and for which I made a mini fundraiser right here on my blog (grateful to have already raised 120 out of 200 usd target), let me share something which made laugh real hard last Monday. Some of my greatest joy as a single parent is the us moments I have with my three sons either individually or jointly lol.

The first two aged 15 (almost lol – remember how bad we wanted to grow old at that age lo) and 12, don’t even want to be seen walking ahead/behind or worse still by me to their school. I have only my Gaby 9 and still in primary 5 to walk with you know hahaha. He sometimes even begs I do it more than the twice/weekly lol. You can imagine how excited he was to see me step out of the cab when I saw him walking back home. I was equally headed home and figured why not step down, walk some with him, and find out how the day went right? Walking to/from school with Gaby is equally revelation/bonding time and he didn’t let me down this time around. He looked really happy and I wasn’t concerned he could be feeling afraid like in my Monday post.

He actually got me laughing real hard and it was so therapeutic given my day at the office. He has this line since nursery school where all he can recall from the teacher is: ” Take your bags and go home”. Here was I thinking Grade 5 will bring a different and more concise answer to a probe about what the teacher said – but nope.

So parents, here you go if you ask them funny questions, as he later explained to me. He said he found that question so funny and for ‘small children’. He advised me to ask more precise questions about the lessons he learned and what the teacher taught the best etc

Now, you have a great midweek and see you on Friday as I get into alternative treatments using a recent experience…

Sometimes go with them and listen to them to know how they feel…


When you look at Gaby’s smile can you tell he was afraid? I am so happy I walked with him to school on his first day of school and could sense some anxiety in him as we got into his school. His grip of my hand firmed up and he became so quiet. He was moving into a new class -G5, and was probably wondering how it was going to work out. I asked him how he was feeling ( not good to ask them what’s wrong or embarrass them by saying they are acting up etc), and he frankly told me he was afraid. Wow, the Gaby I thought I knew? Afraid of a new class? Wow really – as in what can we really know for sure right?

To make matters scary again for him after I had tried my best to make him face the fear and near overcome it, we just discovered the class teacher is the same who taught G4 last year and with whom he didn’t get along for the few days he spent in his class. Mr D is a ‘no nonsense’ teacher who even spanks oh my. So we quickly agreed on Gaby’s best option being that of greeting Mr D and behaving better in class, and we see how that goes. Gaby agreed with me that Mr D was not spanking those who were not rowdy in class and who did their homework. We had a plan and I had to help him out each day to the best of my ability…

And that is how I have added home teacher to my list of daily occupations, trying to get up keep up and even slightly ahead why not lol.

Current feedback: He likes his new class and teacher because the latter doesn’t spank him. He answers questions in class and is more attentive than playful and distracted, although his buddie from last year got moved to the 5B and he kept in 5A, he is getting to make new friends and can still play with buddy A at break time. At this age, such stuffs definitely matter big time lol

My point or prayer is that especially with our children who sometimes seem they got it all together, when they are transitioning, we should walk the journey with them. Walking that phase may be driving them/dropping them off each day for a few days or a week before they start taking the school bus, and listening to them/asking them how they feel everynow and then. And this is taking care of their mental health too, teaching them it matters and they can trust us to tell us whatever is going on in them at any moment…

Here is to a great week of bonding and listening between parents and children