Monday 9 February 2015

The damage done when parents fail to listen

Present and past meeting
I am not one to watch horror films, but I happened upon the compelling viewing of Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark which against my wiser instincts I watched.
What occurred to me was the very familiar story of a child seeing things and that child having serious problems convincing their guardians of their experiences.
We have been schooled with the view that kids tell tales or tell lies for opportunity, advantage or attention, even when those things begin to affect the emotional, social and mental stability of the child.
Choosing not to believe
Sadly, the issue of child sexual abuse, nightmares and ‘seeing things’ fall into the same category of experiences that parents or guardians flimsily dismiss as trivial and fantasy, leaving the child to suffer until more damage is done.
At times, they will find some rational or logical explanation, and for their benefit, they may be right, but it should never be grounds to dismiss whatever the child has been through. At the very least, trust the child and strive to verify exactly what troubles the child. Maybe get professional help, not elders, not pastors, not rituals - PROFESSIONAL HELP - Like psychotherapy.
I had a similar experience when I was 10, during the day, my aunt and our houseboy shared stories about unexplainable events, those stories which I heard and can still recall to complete detail became seeds fuelled by the vivid and fertile imagination of a child. My nightmare was about to start, we only needed the dark and the quiet to enliven it.
That evening we had guests, my mother’s childhood friend and her husband, she was also the step-mother of Tola Awobode, the Lare of Cock Crow At Dawn (Music video).
I can’t continue
Let me digress, I will have to write this story fully another time, in fact, every time I have attempted to write this story, I have been distracted. It is possible, I do not know whether, the story will really be written, and I’m in shock.
My memory serves me well, that only yesterday, as I wondered how I remembered parts of the home address of my friend, he asked how far my vivid memory goes and I answered, back to about the age of three.
I began this blog to write about the need for parents and guardians to pay greater heed, sometimes against their better judgement if that comes into play to certain radically life changing experience of their wards, the scars of which I still bear and part of what sometimes still informs the way I interact with my parents.
The need for professional therapy
My experience was dismissed as fantasy by my father, my mother however was anxious, he left her to throw whatever she could into the situation to help me when probably professional therapy would have helped rather than visits to spiritualists of different persuasions, which with hindsight heightened my anxiety and weakened my ability to deal with the situation for decades after the event.
I read Psalms over bottles, cups, or buckets of water, seeing religious service as a fearful dreadful experience that required you pay for any comfort or peace through some laborious routine of service, recitation and ritual, it was not a lovely episode in my young life that continued into my first term in boarding school.
I guess, I have gotten the substance of my intent across without touching the detail of my personal experience.
However, in digging up this memory, I just now found out from the Internet that Tola Awobode had died just over 4 years ago. We knew her as Auntie Tola, it was a pleasure to watch her perform as Lare on Cock Crow at Dawn, I never knew what else she did – that is what I have now just read in her obituary.

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