They love my home: Reflections on this day of the African Child


https://www.worldpulse.com/community/users/marie-abanga/posts/91042

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One of those days when a mother’s heart is nearly ripped apart


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I could never imagine my own son could have the courage to shoplift. Here below is a write up I shared on Facebook about the devastating events

Loving him tough all the way to the police station and more (20.02.19)

Sometimes all the love you show can’t stop the child from delinquency. Tough love becomes very necessary the earlier the better.

It was thanks to another major delinquency at home, the hiding of his brother’s phone to supposedly punish the later, that everything came to light.

The chocolates he had been stealing from Carefour market (a super market not too far from home), the oufer and headset.

I had to take them to the police station this morning and write a formal complaint because this morning even after the phone was discovered thanks to its alarm, he denied taking the phone.

After the police station, I brought him with the stolen things first to Carefour Market and then to Mahima (another super market) where he stole 2 body sprays.

It is never easy especially to realize all the love and efforts you show can still have such traumatic cracks.

But, I decided to show such extreme tough love now and not later. The security head at both shops took his statement and talked to him very sternly; he is also forbidden from entering those shops again. I had to pay for all the items stolen close to 20.000frs, they didn’t put penalties because I brought him myself.

He says he was seeing his friends with goodies in school and wanted his. When he stole once and wasn’t caught he felt comfortable doing it again and again from the two supermarkets.

Lord help us parents’ especially single parents.

Sadly, when I called his dad he told me it was my cup of tea. I refuse to play the blame game nor look at where the genetic predisposition could be coming from tschuippppp. I equally refuse to care about reputation and blablabla

Some Takeaways from my son’s shoplifting saga:1) Some children do shoplift not out of lack but peer pressure 2) Some parents may cover their children up out of pride, but not me o 3) prayers work. The shop had his file ready to take to his school, they had already noticed him in his school uniform 3 times. He has shoplifted a total of 6 times in one shop and 2 times in another shop 4) Our most quiet may be the most smooth mischief 5) Sibling issues can be solved by them in the most vicious way we can imagine (cold bloodily hiding his brother’s phone out of the house under a stone, and swearing heaven and hell he knows nothing about the whereabouts of the phone) 6) Thant I indeed love him unconditionally 7) That some still care even if you don’t talk all year round, I was so moved and feel so blessed o Amen

All is well now, I mean that same evening we all gathered for our healing circle and the matter was laid to rest as we broke bread together to put it so.

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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

Posted in Coaching and Therapy, Marie's Garden, Mental Health Advocacy, Parenting

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

Posted in Coaching and Therapy, Marie's Garden, Mental Health Advocacy, Parenting

Sometimes, sparing your sanity as a parent involves this..


Hello world and happy midweek lol.

On Monday I shared about how as parents we could sometimes just let them fume off so as to spare our ‘sanity’ lol. I mean the children or musketeers in my case can drive you nutty if you don’t flex a strategy to ‘manage them’ right?

Today, I want to share how on two separate occasions, the best I could do to spare my ‘sanity’ further density was to join in the ‘fun’.

One day, while I was preparing to go out to the farm in another city, I thought they were out there doing their laundry as we had agreed, only for me to get out and find the one and only Gaby with a car made out of a sardine tin. He looked so innocent and offered me to try it out. I held the rope and flashbacked to myself at that age or younger – making cars like that or with sticks and wheels was really trendy then. I enjoyed that brief moment and just shrugged at the fate of the laundry hahaha…

Two weeks later, I stepped out of the kitchen to find out same Gaby had abandoned his laundry to go play outside.

The washerwoman in me lol

I love doing laundry myself and I just decided to call him and do it with him – sparing my nerves some lol… He came with two buddies, and before I knew it, his friends were even more into the laundry foam than ourselves hahaha.

Anyways, in both scenario, breathing, joining in and letting the moment be, did really keep my ‘sanity intact’, and I didn’t ruin my voice shouting hahaha.

I therefore wish to inspire and motivate all parents and guardians in here, to sometimes realize that their ‘sanity’ is primordial, and that whatever is going on shall come to pass. If a choice can be made, choose the option that spares you your sanity hahaha. I am indeed ever grateful for all.

Posted in Coaching and Therapy, Marie's Garden, Mental Health Advocacy, Parenting

Sometimes let them Man It Up, Fume it out before Chilling down…


It’s been a while since I shared any shenanigans from our Home Inc, and so I just felt to start this week with one. You know as a parent you have to get that discerning spirit to know how to run the affairs in the Home Industry, and how, when or why to get involved guys’ wahala. For me as a single mother, it is even a little complex because I may have to intervene the mama way, and then the papa way – or could I just let them fume it out sometimes?

I preferred the third option one Saturday morning a few months ago when I was still on my long spiritual journey. One of the things I was fasting from was from anger, and so I couldn’t allow myself the luxury of asking them – the bickering boys – to shut up. I can’t for the life of me remember what was the issue, but I know tempers were up that morning, Gaby spoke so menacingly and David was fast approaching him. I decided there and then to just go close to without saying a word. I actually needed for them to spit out all the energy and fume it out before chilling some. When they chill, I can then rationalize the whole saga, we make peace and then draw conclusions, but otherwise no way. I also like leaving them sometimes to ‘man it up’ and ‘fume it all out all’ that way all the challenging emotions they feel at the time, get felt and faced. Cutting someone short when they are fuming may not be the best and as a psychotherapist I know and uphold same.

After they had therefore ‘manned it up’ and ‘fumed it out’, I gave each of them a glass of water and put two chairs behind them. We had a discussion and then made peace. I could still feel so dense energy in the air and so gave each person some chore to distract and help them chill more. Bottom line, they actually helped get the breakfast ready and we all sat down to a lovely breakfast with gusto.

And that is how sometimes the right technique can save the day in our industry and we continue to live, love and laugh ever after lol. It is vip for parents to not sweat the small stuff, or resort very easily to making the energy around more dense using whips, slaps etc, even though such methods may seem tempting and ‘provide faster solutions’. My sanity being at stake more often than I’ll appreciate in the Home Industry, being creative is imperative for me.

Be inspired all you parents and single mothers in the Bsphere

Posted in Coaching and Therapy, Marie's Garden, Mental Health Advocacy, Parenting

So much bliss in a day babysitting…I just had to share


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My little angel neighbours

 

Oh hello world, I didn’t plan this post but so much bliss today, I just had to share. Glad am still on the 2nd day of my 3 days break from stage one of my purification journey.

I had planned to work from home today and go on a long walk in the morning because I have a slight discomfort with my right ankle, but I had not planned to spend the day babysitting. But hmm, I love babysitting and got so much bliss doing that today.

 

As soon as I came back from the long walk which took me through the back of a secondary school where I helped separate a bloody fight between boys of Alain’s age, helped a man who had just had an epileptic seizure and also a girl carry her gallons of water, I received 4 of my small angels in the neighbourhood. They often come around when they hear my voice or Alain’s, because they love being around us. Aimé also brought Samira for some hours while she went to the market and ran other errands. I ate with her and put some bugs bunny on the other laptop so we could each keep busy.

And then, when a daughter of yours brings her baby girl to you for the day and night, you are simply honoured. I spent the afternoon in further bliss, cradled and fed my granddaughter, and gave her a warm bath at night before she slept. There was no melancholy at all thinking of my girl Ange Claire, and I knew it is well.

Sometimes, we find so much bliss and serenity and inner peace where least expected. Sometimes, when our plans and programs change, let’s keep open minds and hands to receive what else comes – we just may be as pleasantly surprised and merry as I was today. Did I even ever mention having a nursery school was one of my top retirement plans? Lord help me – I am just full of gratitude for all the talents/gifts and passions I have been bestowed!!!

Be inspired and motivated everyone

Posted in Coaching and Therapy, Marie's Garden, Mental Health Advocacy, Parenting, Spiritual Journey

Thanks to Gaby’s Shi Shi I enjoy an hour of walking; and muggle down memory lane


 

I will write an entire blog post at the end of this special spiritual journey/fasting, to share my personal experience, the pros and cons of such a profound journey. But let me just state the fact that whenever you decide to do something in life, the ego and the self centered self seek to take center stage and direct you. This will definitely conflict if what you are embarking on is spiritual in nature – for example a fast.

On Wednesday 07/03, the 7th day of stage 1 of this thrilling spiritual journey am on, a conflict arose in the form of how to deal with Gaby’s Shi Shi*. He didn’t want to bathe – inshort he didn’t want to go to school even though they were starting 4th sequence exams that morning. Hod up now, he even wanted to switch education systems again back to French ha. I don’t even know where to start with the merry go round…

I first told him to give me a minute and I went into my loo to pray. I asked for serenity and discernment (Those are the first lines of my personal prayer). There wasn’t much time left. I invited Gaby to come bathe with me (inviting or allowing any of them into the loo my love is a privilege no one wants to ruin), he was calm and started singing as he often does when bathing. I joined in (I hadn’t planned on going out that early nor going for a walk, I wanted to do some small sports once they all left) and sang and danced with him until I realized he was in no haste to leave of course lol.

He said if I should please accompany him to school which was the idea I had anyway. We walked kind of fast (20 mins and not 40 when you don’t hold his hand and he gets to kick pebbles and watch birds hahaha), and by midway he was more mellow and we started to gist. At the school entrance, he met some friends and all was good – bye mummy…

It was then I continued walking taking a longer route, and I stopped by my former landlady (who owns the home where my marital sagas unfolded leading to my fleeing – she knows it all and stepped in a few times God bless Ma Made). Her grand daughter now a young miss, asked after the boys and especially about ‘le petit Alain la’. She still thinks of them like small boys although she is only a year older than Alain now. When I jokingly told her Alain was big and macho and could date her now, Maeva blushed and sad lol like they do. I always check in on Ma Made every now and then because she was simply put awesome to me and us all when we were her tenants.

When I got home, I met David outside (the college guy didn’t have school today because their class finished exams yesterday, and they were asked to stay home for a 3 day break,  while Alain finishes today) He was fiddling with the neighbour’s motor bike, and I was taken down memory lane…

Thanks to Gaby therefore, I had a good 56 minutes walk, I saw Ma made and Maeva (whom I last saw on New Year’s morning), and I sat on the neighbour’s motor bike and went down memory’s lane to a moment in time when I had a length Period of Grace before my relocation back home.

All in all, I didn’t raise my voice nor use a whip, Gaby bathe and went to school not whinning anymore about moving back to french system of education, I did exercise and got even some extra.

When life shows up with some twists, twist yourself around calmly and you may just have fun in the process like I did…

*Shi Shi: local slang in french to mean childish whining or something of the sort

p.s: My friend comes back from school 2 good hours after they closed, he stopped at a friend’s house he slurs. I look at him like that… sigh and say a silent prayer, then I take away 2 of the 3 mangoes I kept for him. He loves mangoes very much, maybe he could learn a lesson from there? I mean he could tell or ask me this morning he wanted to hang out at a friend’s after school; and that’s not even cool to just leave school and go to peoples’ homes like you don’t have one right?

Sharing to inspire and motivate especially parents in the blogosphere – wishing us all loads of patience in dealing with and bringing them kids up

Posted in Marie's Garden, My Heroines

Aime mon amour: their second mum and my heroine


This is Aime and her two kids, she lives two homes away from us. I have known her for like 18 months and I am so grateful for her. Her two kids are like mine too, and the little girl and I especially get along so cool.

Talking about her daughter Samira, when I got to know them, she wasn’t walking nor able to sit down on her own. Of course talking was out of the question. Her mum was tired of bringing her to the hospital and giving her all those meds and vitamins they were soon running out of money buying.

Her dad was not around pretty much, and when he was, he just dropped money and maybe even some bashing on the poor lovely mama for any flimsy reason.

I coached Aime, to heal her own heart, and then we helped Samira with more love and nurturing. We introduced Soya beans into her food (mostly still soft or outright liquid because she had barely any teeth to chew), and I courted her dad to make him realize the child could be suffering from poor nurturing by both of them.

Gradually, we made progress and Samira’s weight improved so good, today at three she is all set to go. A lot has also changed in their home and Aime who used to skin her son and I’ll hear his screams two homes away, doesn’t waste her energy and ruin their relationship so anymore. I am so proud of Aime for starting sports and loving same.

Now, talking about being the boys’ second mum, Aime has the key to our Home. Aime understands me so well and steps in when am sick, tired or absent say on a trip. I am so grateful I don’t have to worry when away (am currently in Yaounde since yesterday), because I know Aime is just two homes away.

In January 2017, and January 2018, we went out on new year’s night, just the two of us for a respite. It is tradition now, and we look forward to doing same in January 2019 with gusto.

And did I forget to mention that Samira is a chatter box now? that Aime is a seamstress and sews all my African attires? Yes she has done all I have had stitched since moving to this neighbourhood in March 2016, even these yummy ones below lol

I wish us all, especially struggling parents emphasis on single ones of course), to work on building a support system with at least an Aime like in there.

Bon weekend à tous

Posted in Coaching and Therapy, Marie's Garden, Media Gallery, Mental Health Advocacy, Parenting

Learning to give David some time to cool down too…


 

That is David doing his things. He loves more of solitary play and drawing, than getting mixed up in brawls due to games with others, or mix ups at home. But precisely, the later can’t be avoided, na not among boys right?

So, yesterday morning there was an issue over chocolate paste and how Gaby took too much. David brought that to my attention while Gaby had stepped out do something. Now, Gaby overheard David tell and quickly told him to mind his own business. His words in french were: ‘Jaloux’ (jealous). Of course David wasn’t pleased and before I realized it they were manning up to each other and flinging more words around.

Gaby knows David’s soft spots and plays with those, going as far as calling him ‘bébé au lait’ (literally meaning milk baby – like weakling or so). I had to step in their middle to avert a fight.

I managed to get David to sit down and take off his school bag, then I rubbed him on his back several times. His heart was beating real fast. After a few minutes, I tried to get him to talk but he wouldn’t. We were all running late and so I desperately asked him if he needed more time to process his emotions. He said yes. He at least identified the emotion of Anger from the chart of emotions we have on the wall, and he told me he felt like punching Gaby even if he loved him very much.

I had to let him be because I realized he wasn’t ready to say any more. He was neither ready to talk with Gaby, not to mention make the customary peace of hugging each other while saying it’s going to be ok, and I still love you. Did I mention the last incident between those two which however gladly ended in a tripartite peace making was on Sunday?

Anyway, I learnt from the incident that, just like I sometimes want time off to process my emotions before moving on, so too do kids. I could in a position of authority threaten him into talking or force the peace making, but was that going to be real? Given that I don’t like fake relationships and actions or reactions, I will not expect that of any other including – even especially my children. I hope by the time he comes back from school he has forgotten about the whole incident. I asked Alain who is in the same secondary school with him, to check on him at break time out of sibling love.

My own sibling story is even tougher mindless the sex and age hahaha

Dear gentle readers, in life in whichever relationship, we have to respect the other and not seek to force them to keep to our pace, relate only in a certain way, or be the one we think is best for them. I share this events in my life, to inspire and motivate with my own reality. It all about seeking a holistic wellbeing and giving your children a balanced and good foundation

p.s: 8 pm 20.02.18 I get back home and the two fight out of the door to be the first to greet me are… yes you guess right: David et Gaby (I actually often confuse their names or pronounce in such a one the one comes when I meant the other). David tells me the anger was gone by short break and he felt fine. He choose peace over conflict and forgave Gaby

Have a great midweek all