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My book is a gift to parents – Ogunkanmi – Daily Trust

Oluwatoyin Ogunkanmi is the author of ‘Smart Parenting’, a guide to how parents can effectively manage their children. A psychologist and certified Family Life practitioner, here she talks about the book, parenting skills, her personal journey, and more. Excerpts:

Bookshelf: What propelled you to write ‘Smart Parenting’?

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Oluwatoyin Ogunkanmi: ‘Smart Parenting’ is my journey of transformation from being an ignorant parent to an emotionally intelligent and smart parent. I had my first child 15 years ago and I went through a series of emotional cycles, from not knowing how to deal with my emotions, to not knowing how to manage my children’s behaviour. I had to seek help, so I went for certification in Anger Management, Emotional intelligence and eventually parenting education. By the time I was through, I knew there would be other parents out there going through what I did and they would also need help. So, this book is a gift from me to other parents, a guide and practical tool to overcome emotional stress while raising their children.

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Bookshelf: Not everyone thinks parents have a larger role to play in the lives of their children. Sometimes they simply choose to end up a certain way, some say. To what extent do you think the way parents relate with their children shapes them?

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Ogunkanmi: Parents are the first care givers, role models and teachers God has given to every child. Your role is not just to care for the physiological or basic needs, such as feeding, shelter, clothing and education, of your child, but you are to love, train, discipline and promote the total development of the child. This involves you identifying and developing your child’s potentials. You play a great role in shaping the destiny and future of your child. The strategy you use in raising your child, your parenting style, also affects or determines the way your child might turn out.

Bookshelf: It’s almost impossible to control outbursts at times. How do you think parents can achieve this?

Ogunkanmi: It is possible to control your emotional outbursts. We all have the capacity to control our emotions if we go through the process of acquiring the necessary skills. While growing up, we learnt to respond to uncomfortable, stressful or frustrating events by shouting, yelling or losing our cool. To become a parent that controls his or her emotion, you need to become emotionally intelligent. This involves you going for trainings and sessions. The most important thing is knowing that you need help. This will make the process of acquiring the new skills easier. At Parenting Support System, we offer Emotional Intelligence and Anger management trainings for parents. We also have our 30 days No Yelling Challenge programme which has recorded tremendous success.

Bookshelf: Some parents find it difficult to connect emotionally to their children, perhaps because of their background. How would you say they could work on themselves and bond with their children the right way?

Ogunkanmi: Everyone needs love and to connect on an emotional level. We all have different love languages, which is the way we respond to love. The easiest way for any parent to connect with his or her children is first by understanding himself or herself, and then understanding how the child is wired. What is your child’s love language? What is your child interested in? What is his or her personality type? How does he or her respond to learning? The moment you can answer these questions it becomes easier for you to connect with your child. Spend more time with them, and be emotionally and physically present in their life.

Bookshelf: What was most challenging about writing this book?

Ogunkanmi: It is time. I was writing two books and had given myself a deadline to finish and publish both at the same time.

Bookshelf: You are a psychologist and certified Family Life practitioner. How do these play a vital role in your parenting?

Ogunkanmi: They play an essential role in almost everything I do. Being a psychologist makes me more aware of myself and the people around me and how I relate with them. Being a Family Life practitioner has given me more tools and skills to be effective as a person, wife, mother and a coach.

I have learnt how to put the basic systems in place to make my home run effectively and efficiently. We have family values, family vision and statement which we all live by and we have the right strategy in raising our children. These skills have also helped me with my coaching practise.

Bookshelf: You are the founder of Parenting Support System and the convener of 30 Days No Yelling Challenge and ParentsKonnect, a forum where parents get together to discuss issues relating to their parenting journey. How successful has this been so far and how has it served as a resource for your book?

Ogunkanmi: I am so grateful to the Almighty God for the opportunity to have impacted the lives of different families with these platforms. So far, we have spoken to over 2000 parents, coached over 100 parents and have an online parenting group where we have monthly trainings, weekly question and answer sessions and also give daily parenting tips. So far, we can say we are on the path to achieving our set goals and executing our vision and mission.

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