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The news of the appointment of Ms. Damilola Ogunbiyi as the UN Special Representative for Sustainable Energy for All and Co-Chair of United Nations -Energy, was an exciting way to end the last decade.

Ms. Ogunbiyi is the immediate past Managing Director of the Nigerian Rural Electrification Agency. With an extensive leadership experience and a track record of supporting energy access in Sub-Saharan Africa, we felicitate with her and are convinced she is a perfect fit for her new roles.

With a track record of firsts (first woman to be appointed as Managing Director of the Nigerian Rural Electrification Agency,  and first woman to be appointed as the General Manager of the Lagos State Electricity Board)  She is credited for implementing the Nigerian Off Grid Electrification Programme and successfully negotiating the Nigerian Electrification Project, to rapidly construct solar mini-grids and deploy solar home systems across Nigeria. She also developed the Energizing Economics Initiative and Energizing Education Programme, which provide sustainable and affordable off grid power solutions.

Amazons Watch Magazine is thus glad to unveil the undaunted, brave and very forward-looking Ms. Damilola Ogunbiyi as our ‘’Heroine of the Week’’ and first heroine of this new decade.

Parenting tops the list of jobs that never goes on holidays. Regardless of however ready for parenting an individual might assume to be, the concept of being absolutely ready for parenting prepared to raise a child especially in this 21st century, is as unrealistic as it is far-fetched.

In parenting having a strong-willed daughter who at an early stage already knows whatever she desires and will not take “no” for an answer whenever her demands are not met; can be very Tedious for most parents. Nevertheless, the journey of raising a strong-willed daughter can possibly turn out superb depending on how knowledgeable the parents are.

An article on parenting.com actually described parents with strong-willed children as lucky, adding that while raising strong willed children can be a challenge when they’re young, if sensitively parented, they can become terrific teens and young adults.

What exactly describes a strong-willed child?

Laura Markham, a clinical psychologist at Columbia University carefully explains the benefits of having strong-willed children. He describes strong -willed children as spirited, headstrong, rambunctious and even courageous. According to him, they are usually self-motivated and inner-directed, they often grow into leaders as adults.  

It is quite hilarious how the qualities that make a strong-willed child is largely condemned at the child’s young age and later demanded at the child’s older days as one of the most important qualities for a successful life. A parent’s ability to properly mentor and manage her strong-willed child, will turn out with the big grin of beholding a self-motivated and self -driven teen/adult in the nearest future. 

Without ‘’Love’’, the tale of a mother and child will remain incomplete. There is little wonder then on why most parents desire to push their children towards paths they feel will benefit them best in future. This task is always daunting when the child/children involved are strong willed as they can be hardly swayed when they have their mind set on something. Their experimental personality constantly ignites them to seek after learning things based on their own experiences rather than what someone else narrates to them, so they are always fond of testing the limits over and over.

In a world where tagging along with the multitude has become the norm, smartly raising a strong -willed child is one of the surest means to ensure you have kids who stand for what they know is right and not just what is acceptable to the majority population. Strong -willed children do not take actions or make decisions or engage in activities to get attention and approval of their peers. 

Considering as scholars have advocated for strong-willed children, this does not in any way excuse raising disobedient and ill-mannered kids. Rather raising strong – willed kids involves giving a child the liberty to think ‘outside the box’ and not just to play by the limiting rules of life. 

Seeing as life rarely gives you what you deserve, but what you demand for, your strong-willed child cannot be adequately prepared for life challenges if she is continually been shut out from voicing her opinions in family concerns, especially on matters that concern her life.

If you are currently raising a strong-willed child/child, you have to realize that they will seek a lot validation. Rather than yelling out for every single act of misbehavior, you have to make an effort to listen to their side of the story. Ensure to add empathy and validation to conversations, especially when attempting to make them do what you want.  An article by the Independent Magazine on the importance of raising strong-willed children advised that for the little things, the everyday, non-life-threatening issues, parents should let up a bit on these kids. Obedience as a result of trust, not of broken will, must be placed as premium when relating to individuals especially growing kids. 

Since we have recognized that raising a child comes with so much responsibilities, parents therefore ought to be mentally, emotionally, financially and physically ready before taking this unique life’s responsibility; and part of their readiness must include preparing to raise strong -willed children.

Eloke-Young Splendor

Most parents raise their kids like robots, giving their kids commands with a high expectation of immediate positive feedbacks. This attitude has in recent times created little or no distinction between a home and an army parade ground. This sort of parenting is ‘’Authoritarian’’. 

Authoritative parenting unlike Authoritarian kind involves a large focus on balance. This style of parenting involves parents having expectations for kids, but at the same time, they provide resources and emotional support which enable kids to succeed. 

Authoritative parenting to a large extent creates a win-win environment for both parents and the kids.  Considering that children are supposed to be related with according to their individual temperament and psychological make up, this form of parenting has been found to benefit children of different temperaments.

The adoption of authoritative form of parenting leaves both the mother and her kids happy as well as satisfied. The conventional idea of just slapping rules at children is yet to produce the desired results all parents seek in parenting, hence the need for authoritative parenting.  Authoritative parents do not put up a legislative (law-making) attitude when relating with their kids rather, they put a lot of effort into creating and maintaining a positive relationship with their children. This is achieved by explaining the reasons behind the rules. In these situations you enforce rules and give consequences, but you also take your child’s feelings into consideration.   

Child development experts recognise authoritative parenting as the best parenting style among the four Baumrind parenting styles.

Authoritative parents are attuned, nurturing, sensitive and supportive of their children’s emotional and developmental needs. The supportive attributes displayed by these parents can be seen in their relentless efforts to be more involved in a child’s schooling by volunteering or monitoring homework.       

Most people, who do not apply authoritative style of parenting, fear that authoritative parenting goes a long way to lower their standards for child upbringing, but this is definitely untrue. Authoritative parents still have high standards but they do not require complete compliance or blind obedience from their children. These parents are intelligent enough to use reasoning and allow give-and-take discussions instead of creating a highway of instructions and laid-down rules for kids to act out. This form of parenting is rather characterized by a great deal of parental involvement where parents walk their children through the path of adhering to these rule, thereby; making it less burdensome.

It has been observed that a large number of parents these days find it a bit difficult to achieve a balance in parenting kids. They are either between too much psychological control which signifies being an authoritarian or they are achieving too little behavioral control, thereby becoming permissive in their parenting style.  However, the concept of authoritative parenting goes a long way to balance these two extremes in parenting style.     

It might seem unbelievable to say that clashes experienced by parents and their children during parenting are highly avoidable, but this is true no matter how unbelievable it may sound. Parents-kids clashes can be totally avoided when using the authoritative parenting style as it requires parents to take a different, more moderate approach that emphasizes, showing respect for children as independent, rational beings.

Authoritative parenting does not only improve the life of a child but also goes a long way to regulate her experiences and behaviors at adulthood.  Since authoritative parents give kids respect and listen, it becomes easier for these parents to raise kids who are independent thinkers.

 In the case of disciplining a child; authoritative parents discipline kids by trying to guide and teach their kids, and modify what they expect from kids depending on the situation and a child’s individual needs.

Children who showcase empathy, and have secure attachment with their parents as well as the society are direct products of authoritative parenting. Although, according to parenting experts, authoritative parenting has been heralded as the best parenting style; it is still advisable that parents adopt parenting styles that suite their child’s temperament.

Taking just an hour tea break at Louis’ place left me wondering why a 10-year-old child who has formed a habit of spending quality time with her mum, narrating every single happening in her life now suddenly turns 14 and can barely let mum into her life issues. Everything to her now seems private at every single time, even when mum attempts to engage her young vibrant teenager in a discussion; it always ends up with the phrase “I may not be able to talk about it now, mum”.  

Ignoring an already existing absence of trust between a teenager and her mum can be highly detrimental to the family relationship since trust is an important part of any relationship. Trust in a relationship goes a long way to represent your belief in someone’s good sense, ability or honesty. As your child gets older and starts becoming more independent especially at her teenage age, it can be difficult to find the balance between her need for independence and privacy, and your need to know what’s happening in order to keep her safe.

Inasmuch as teenagers try to act as though it never matters to them what you feel or think about them, the fact still remains that now that they are growing to become adult the tendency to overthink and consciously analyze your perception about them, is very high. If your teenager still finds it difficult to trust you, then there is definitely a problem with your mother-daughter relationship. 

Here are 3 interesting reasons why teenagers have trust issues with parents:

  1. You Never Cease to Criticize Them Excessively: I think we all know the evils of fault-finding, but in parenting, criticism (to some degree) is a necessary evil. Parent to child is one of the very few relationships where you do need to offer correction. It’s our job to teach teenagers to look good and decent, stay out of wrong companies, pick up healthy relationship habits, do their homework, etc but this does not exempt parents from ensuring that criticisms are given kindly and sparingly. No one can handle a barrage of disapproval; especially teenagers. Also remember that these teens are criticized all day by teachers and peers; home should be a haven of acceptance and love for them.  On the flip side, it is not wrong to criticize your teenager when she is on a negative path but learn to do this using constructive criticism if not it might breed in the teenager a lack of trust for her parent.
  2. When parent’s Behave Like Truth Breakers:   It is very common for adults to make promises to their teenagers, but not always to keep them. In addition to setting a bad example, this drives them away and damages the bond between you two, because the children feel they can no longer believe that their parents will do what they say.
  3. You Act Like the Family Legislator Rather Than Engaging in a Conversation: When you act like a parent whose job in the home is to make countless rules and at the same time watch out to always punish any one who breaks it, your teenager will likely distrust you. As much as Rules are quite vital in running an effective and highly functional home, building trust is quite different from rules. Establishing some very strict rules in a family is not entirely bad but how you handle the implementation and execution of such rules is what matters most. If your teenager has broken one of the house rules your ability to listen, be ready to discuss without judging and sometimes make allowance for them getting it wrong goes a long way to teach the teen to trust you even when he makes other mistakes. 

As part of the process of maturing, adolescents begin to feel more autonomous and responsible for themselves, and may go to the extreme of considering themselves self-sufficient, no longer feeling the need to share information with their parents, ask for certain permissions and approval rather, they want to make decisions for themselves without consulting. As much as the life of teenager takes this new turn, mothers must be willing to do all within their power to ensure a cordial relationship between teenager and herself. They must try their best to cultivate and sustain trust between themselves and their teenage children.

Mrs. Jean has just recently noticed her 16-year-old daughter’s frequent emotional instability, her recent moodiness and the obvious flare up or irritation to happenings around her. This issue now seems to be to so worrisome considering that her always vibrant and proactive sweet daughter now acts like a mascot. On a closer look at Suzanne, Mrs. Jean finally discovered that her little teenager seemed to be facing a lot of stress both from school and her relentless efforts to gain relevance among her peers.

It is easy for all mothers to realize when they are stressed by their responsibilities either at home or at work. It is not too easy though for them to realise their dear teenage daughter is right in the midst of severe stress. Why would a teenage girl who at the moment has no bills to pay, feel stressed.

Most teens experience stress when they perceive a situation as dangerous, difficult, or painful and they do not have the resources to cope, neither do they see a hope of changing such situation. Some of these situations might include:  School demands and frustrations, negative thoughts or feelings about themselves, changes in their bodies, problems with friends and/or peers at school, unsafe living environment/neighbourhood, separation or divorce of parents, chronic illness or severe problems in the family, death of a loved one, moving or changing schools, taking on too many activities, having too high expectations, family financial problems and so on.

When some teens become overloaded with stress, it can lead to anxiety, withdrawal, aggression, physical illness, or poor coping skills such as drug and/or alcohol use. It is natural that when we perceive a situation as difficult or painful, changes occur in our minds and bodies to prepare us to respond to danger. This “fight, flight, or freeze” response includes faster heart and breathing rate, increased blood to muscles of arms and legs, cold or clammy hands and feet, upset stomach and/or a sense of dread.

The same mechanism that turns on the stress response can turn it off. As soon as we decide that a situation is no longer dangerous, changes can occur in our minds and bodies to help us relax and calm down. This “relaxation response” includes decreased heart and breathing rate and a sense of well-being. Teens that develop a “relaxation response” and other stress management skills feel less helpless and have more choices when responding to stress.

 Parenting a teenager who is constantly faced with stress can be less of hard work if parents adopt safe measures which are capable of combatting and reducing such stress.  Help that sensitive growing teenager navigate through life’s stress. To ensure the negative impact of stress do not overwhelm your teenager, here are ways Parents can help: –  

  1. Monitor if stress is affecting their teen’s health, behaviour, thoughts, or feelings
  2. Listen carefully to teens and watch for overloading
  3. Learn and model stress management skills
  4. Support involvement in sports and other pro-social activities

Teenagers also have their role to play, teens can decrease stress with the following behaviours and techniques:

  1. Exercise and eat regularly.
  2. Get enough sleep and have a good sleep routine.
  3. Avoid excess caffeine which can increase feelings of anxiety and agitation.
  4. Avoid illegal drugs, alcohol, and tobacco.
  5. Learn relaxation exercises (abdominal breathing and muscle relaxation techniques).
  6. Develop assertiveness training skills. For example, state feelings in polite, firm, and not overly aggressive or passive ways: (“I feel angry when you yell at me.” “Please stop yelling.”)
  7. Rehearse and practice situations which cause stress. One example is taking a speech class if talking in front of a class makes you anxious.
  8. Learn practical coping skills. For example, break a large task into smaller, more attainable tasks.
  9. Decrease negative self-talk: challenge negative thoughts – with alternative, neutral, or positive thoughts. “My life will never get better” can be transformed into “I may feel hopeless now, but my life will probably get better if I work at it and get some help.”
  10. Learn to feel good about doing a competent or “good enough” job rather than demanding perfection from yourself and others.
  11. Take a break from stressful situations. Activities like listening to music, talking to a friend, drawing, writing, or spending time with a pet can reduce stress.
  12.   Build a network of friends who help you cope in a positive way.

By using these and other techniques, teenagers can begin to manage stress.

Parents should also understand that, if a teen talks about or shows signs of being overly stressed a consultation with a child and adolescent psychiatrist or other qualified mental health professional may be helpful. 

Sources:

American Academy of Child & Adolescent psychiatry –  https://www.aacap.org/AACAP/Families_and_Youth/Facts_for_Families/FFF-Guide/Helping-Teenagers-With-Stress-066.aspx

By Shan-Jan Sarah Liu

In the global struggle to get more women into high political office, one of the more hopeful fronts is Asia. In 2018, Taiwan celebrated two years of its first female president, Tsai Ing-Wen, and its national legislature includes 43 women (38% of seats). Other Asian countries, such as South Korea and Thailand, have also had women heads of government. Some Asian parliaments have more women MPs than many of their Western counterparts.

These are major advances, but is Asia really making headway on gender equality? It is widely assumed that when women start to become political leaders, gender equality benefits, but my own research on the political representation and participation of women in Asia calls that assumption into question. To achieve real equality, Asian countries will need to do a lot more than just get more women representatives and leaders elected.

It is true that women’s political presence has serious implications. Female MPs are generally imagined to act in the interests of women at large, and they also signal to the public that they are as capable of leadership as men. Their example can motivate other women to actively engage in politics, too. In many parts of the world, female MPs are crucial role models for other women and girls, inspiring them to envision themselves as equal to men and by extension to enter political life.

But in much of Asia, these positive effects are hard to see.

In my research, I looked at 13 countries sampled by the Asian Barometer (a public opinion survey in East and Southeast Asia). They were Cambodia, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Mongolia, the Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam. In these places, women’s legislative presence is not met with an increase in women’s political engagement; in fact, it seems to trigger a backlash.

In these countries, the rise of women politicians is actually discouraging women in general from engaging in politics. As the presence of women MPs increases, Asian women are less likely to discuss politics with family and friends, to turn out to vote, to campaign for candidates, or to protest. And even as women’s political representation increases, the gender gap in these various political activities persists.

Given the usual optimistic assumptions about the effect of having women enter politics, why should this be?

Setting examples

One explanation could be that when female politicians take the helm but gender equality does not improve, their presence may be seen as tokenistic.

In many of the Asian countries I have studied, the advancement of women in politics is strikingly disconnected from women’s economic and social lives more generally. Parts of Sub-Saharan Africa aside, East and Southeast Asia are marked by a greater discrepancy between women’s political rights and their social rights than any other part of the world. As long as this disparity persists, there is little reason for women to suddenly get inspired to engage in politics.

More than that, where women politicians decline to use their power to advocate for women’s rights, female voters will hardly be thrilled. Taiwan’s president, Tsai Ing-Wen, is known for a thin agenda when it comes to women’s issues, and her cabinet includes only four women – notably fewer than sat in previous male-led cabinets. Should she run for a second term in 2020, that record will not exactly inspire female voters.

And then there are the less edifying examples. In South Korea, former president Park Geun-hye ended up impeached and jailed for corruption. When other women campaign and are nominated for the presidency, or indeed other high offices, her bad example will loom large.

Clearly, having women in government is a good end in itself. But in an era when women’s political representation is on the rise, albeit slowly, it is crucial to ensure that gender equality in political institutions is not just a matter of numbers. The measure of its impact is not just the number of women occupying positions of power, but visible changes that benefit women outside political institutions.

The president of the Fédération Internationale de Football Association, FIFA, Gianni Infantino has requested assurances from the Iranian Football Federation that women will be allowed to attend 2022 World Cup qualifiers.

According to the BBC Sport, Infantino who wrote to the Football federation also expresses his disappointment that Iran has gone back on its commitment to open up stadiums.

Last October, female fans were allowed into a match in Tehran for the first time following a 40-year ban.

In November, hundreds of women also attended an Asian Champions League final match which saw local team Persepolis lose to Japan’s Kashima Antlers.

But Infantino said in the letter it was “disappointing” to learn that fans were turned away from Iran’s friendly match with Syria on 6 June and that a number of fans were detained by authorities.

Writing to Iranian Football Federation president Medhi Taj, he said: “This is not in line with the commitments given to us in March 2018 by [Iran] President Rouhani when we were assured that important progress would be made on this matter soon.

“Whilst we are aware of the challenges and cultural sensitivities, we simply have to continue making progress here, not only because we owe it to women all over the world, but also because we have a responsibility to do so, under the most basic principles set out in the FIFA statutes.

“In the circumstances, I would be very grateful if you could inform FIFA, at your earliest convenience but no later than 15 July 2019, as to the concrete steps which both the FFIRI [Football Federation Islamic Republic of Iran] and the Iranian state authorities will now be taking in order to ensure that all Iranian and foreign women who wish to do so will be allowed to buy tickets and to attend the matches of the qualifiers for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022, which will start in September 2019.”

Infantino’s letter comes after FIFA admitted it was wrong to eject two fans from a Women’s World Cup match in France for wearing T-shirts calling for Iranian women to be let into stadiums.

FIFA said the message was “social, not political” so not against its rules and added it “will do its best to ensure similar situations do not occur at future matches”.

Source: BBC