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Beautiful Parenting in Africa: Raising a Highly Energetic Child

Meme Boham

Anyone who knows my child knows that high energy is probably a mild way to describe him. Okay, maybe I’m exaggerating a little bit. Either way, I will be discussing ‘high energy’ today.

As an Educator, I tell parents, ‘Please, do not use naughty to describe your child’.

I say things like ‘he will outgrow it’ or ‘you just need to be consistent’.

I tell parents, ‘every child is different, she/he is just an active child. Don’t worry about it’. But when it comes to my own child, I tend not to take my own advice.

Generally, a lot of people’s idea of a well-behaved child is someone who sits still for long periods and who does what she/he is told.

Some children have high energy, it is their personality. They just cannot sit still for that long, especially when they are not being engaged.

Back in the day, we were flogged into submission and our personalities were beaten out of us.

Growing up in primary school, I was so scared to speak. I was scared that my name would be written in the list of noise-makers. People, including me, thought I was shy and quiet until I was in secondary school. That’s when I began to develop my personality, that’s when I realised I loved life and I had a voice.

Now that I have my own child, I know that he is like me: high-energy, playful, passionate and enthusiastic, and yet, I try to get him to sit still.

Being disruptive is not tolerable, but as long as he is not being disruptive, it is okay for him to play, to run around, to chat, and to explore. I might not be able to give him 100% of my attention all the time, but I try to create time for him.

It’s when I do that I realise that: –

he is not being noisy, he is a story teller;

he is not being loud, he is singing; maybe he has interest in music.

He is not making a mess, he is creating art;

he is not too playful, he is creating stories with his imagination.

It is only when I stop to observe that I realise, he has so much potential and to shut him up would mean to stifle his creativity.

It’s not so easy, especially when you get the stares from people. When you are at the airport waiting lounge and he is telling you a story, gesticulating with his arms and body. To some, it’s cute, but to others their thoughts are ‘this child is soooooo noisy’.

Do I wish my child would sit still? Yes I do a lot of times but as each day passes I am learning that this is his personality. I will not tolerate disruptive behaviour but as long as it is positive and constructive, I will observe and engage when I need to.

The paragraphs below are some points that stood out for me from a blog I read a while ago: –

It was in that moment I realized, he is not a bad kid, he is just an energetic one. His curiosity and sense of adventure simply are not content to walk calmly beside me while there was so much to see.  He was not blatantly trying to disobey, his mind works too fast in such an environment to think of ways to be naughty.   It was just honest, genuine excitement, and the harder I fought to contain that, the harder he fought to maintain it.  And why shouldn’t he?  We were at the zoo after all.

That night I went home and wrote in my journal.  I wrote how I needed to find a way to embrace these qualities of his – that is what they are after all – not some disorder or result of my coffee habit.  To not fight them, or try to change him.  I had to remember to not strip him of this natural love of life he had.  I wrote how I needed to learn how to point all that energy in the right direction, because one day it would accomplish great things if given a chance.  I even wrote that he would probably be the one to teach me how to do that.

So instead of having just a hyper child, I like to think I have a passionate, persistent, energetic child who will live every day of his life.  And underneath all of that, you have a little person that wears his heart on his sleeve – he has no time for pretense – an ever-willing cuddler, who has yet to meet an enemy.

So, If you are like me and you have a highly energetic child, be encouraged, take each day with one foot in front of the other, think about why you respond the way you do.

Is it because of the way people will look at or think of you? or is it because it is what is best for your child?

Always seek wisdom because raising a child is raising the future generation. It is a big deal.

I’m trying my hardest and I know you are too.

Are you raising a highly-energetic child? Do share your experience with us in the comments below. Thanks

Meme Boham
Meme Boham
Wife, Mother, Childcare Scientist, Montessori Educationist and Leader. Meme Boham is a Passionate Teacher who is excited about the discovery of the potential in children when given the right response. She consults for parents, childcare workers and schools across Nigeria.

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