Parenting in the 21st century is a challenge for most parents, and that is why the church in Namibia, southern Africa welcomed the opportunity to learn at the Good Enough Parenting (GEP) workshop hosted by Ivor and Annemarie Botha in April this year. Twenty-four parents in Windhoek, the capital had around 30 visitors over the course of the workshop that took place over two weekends.
Based on the book written by John and Karen Louis, Good Enough Parenting: A Christian Perspective on Meeting Core Emotional Needs and Avoiding Exasperation ,the teachings imparted made a big impression on the parents in the Windhoek church.
This is what some of them had to say afterwards:
“Learning about the core emotional needs of children was really helpful. It has led us to understand our 15-year-old and 20-year-old sons better. It has allowed us to be more careful about what we say to each of them. Because of their age differences, it was always a challenge to manage their individual characters. In particular, the lessons on Reasonable Limits, Realistic Expectations and Healthy Autonomy and Performance have helped us significantly. We’re still working on a lot of things, of course, but our eyes have been opened. Our relationship with our boys has changed for the better.”(Winmore and Isaac Mapaure)
“We’re trying not to exasperate the kids, by setting reasonable limits and not over expecting from them. We’re also listening to their view points with the aim of allowing them to develop their own personalities and self confidence and to grow into independent adults.” (Mr and Mrs Ndlovu)
“The workshop was an amazing revelation to learn how my background influences my parenting. I learned about having realistic expectations and being mindful of not exasperating the children. Creating a healthy autonomy for the children was a revelation. I felt that Ivor and Annemarie were very vulnerable and we learned a great deal from their parenting journey as a couple. The need for a spiritual community is such a blessing.”
“It was evident how we live our lives shapes our children. It was clear that the more we are obedient to God, living a life imitating Christ, the better it is for our children and our children’s children. It was a very sobering experience; we could all relate to the examples of mistakes that we make as parents and to realize our own shortcomings. During the workshop my daughter mentioned that she observed a chance in me and I pray I remember and practice what I’ve learned, for the good of my family.”
“During the GEP workshop I had a number of ‘aha’ moments where I saw that what I believed as a good practice in parenting actually wasn’t. For instance when my kids were smaller, I’d tell them to show a ‘happy face’ when they wanted to cry. Even though my kids are grown up now, that mentality where I want to control my children was still there. This has caused a lot of challenges as my kids are now old enough to challenge some of the things I tell them. My prayer now is for God to help me strike a balance where I relax my controlling tendencies and at the same time not be too permissive.”
“I’ve learned that the best gift you can give to your children is to love their mother. Marriages influences parenting. Children are like a plant, a plant needs: air, sunlight, water and nutrients. Children needs the core emotional needs to be met for them to feel loved and accepted and grow up healthy. I also learned that we need to emotionally accept each one of our children with their weaknesses and strengths.”
“The GEP Workshop was helpful in enabling us finding ways to reconnect with our older children. Things had gone off the rails in trying to understand one another and navigating around their strong opinions. We’ve learned to ask them what they think of us as parents, and that has really changed the conversation. So far, one of them has expressed the desire to study the Bible. Keep us in your prayers!”