Wendy Ologe: On Better Parenting
Words By – Josephine Agbonkhese
Wendy Ologe is a parent coach, speaker, and bestselling author who aims to equip parents with everything it takes to raise an excellent child mentally, physically, spiritually, emotionally, and psychologically.
She is a leading parenting expert with an amazing following on social media that allows her to reach the hearts of thousands of parents.
Ologe has spoken on many stages including being featured by CBN, FOX, NBC, abc and CBS news USA. In October 2019, she represented Africa at the Facebook Global Parenting Panel at their headquarters in California, United States.
She is also the Convener of the famous online parents conference ‘The Intentional Parent Conference’; a global annual program for parents. Also a corporate executive, Ologe is the Executive Director at Smart OFFICE, an organisation with a focus on developing businesses through capacity building, provision of serviced work spaces and hostels for students.
She speaks to Allure in commemoration of this year’s International Children’s Day.
You are a highly successful parenting coach and author; what is your background and what brought you to this point?
Some 12 years ago, I was presented with an opportunity to parent a foster child. On that journey, I realised that I wasn’t equipped enough and I went for knowledge. I started my journey into parent coaching after I realised that many parents were struggling to raise their children better, especially in the current state of the society we are in. The knowledge gathered has helped me in teaching over 5,000 parents worldwide about the type of parenting style that is applicable in our today’s society, including how to build connections and also discipline strategies that work. This message of intentional parenting is being delivered in our famous Inner Circle program which runs yearly. It is a place where parents from all walks of life are gathered to learn and share their experiences, testimonies and challenges; and of course, in the Inner Circle, we are driven by results. That is why we call it the solution ground for modern day parenting
Why is parenting so difficult?
Parenting is difficult especially in today’s world, which is why it becomes very necessary to get trained to be parents; not being perfect but many parents are chasing perfection instead of knowledge. That is why I always say in one of my favourite quotes: “An intentional parent follows a goal, while the unintentional parent follows the crowd.” Being intentional about your parenting would mean that you have agreed to dedicate ample time for your children. Parenting is no longer as it used to be. Parenting now is a big deal.
Creating ‘A better future for the child’ is the focus of this year’s International Children’s Day. How can this be used to address the array of moral decadence that has eaten deeply into the society?
‘A better future for the child’ is about preparing the child for the future and not the future for the child because, you cannot control what happens in the future; but you can equip your child to navigate their world. The question is, how can you even prepare your child for the future when you yourself are not prepared as a parent? You need to get knowledge. Get trained on the dynamics of modern parenting. You can only equip your child when you are equipped with knowledge of what parenting is about. You cannot give what you do not have.
Between parents and schools, who should be blamed for the lack of moral values such as the recent saga that rocked Chrisland Schools?
There are three strong stakeholders in raising a child: the parents, the educational system and the society. Unfortunately, even the society is a product of the family; which also translates that, for us to achieve a better society, the family (parents) has a greater role to play. So, the family has a large part to play. However, every part would need to understand what their role is and play it well for us to make headway.
You run a parenting academy; can learning formally about parenting actually aid parenting?
Yes, I have seen the family system transformed from what they have learnt in the Academy. Truth is, you can’t give what you don’t have. The level of knowledge you have is how much you can lead your child. Just like no one wakes up to go into the theatre to perform surgical operations, the same way, parents need to learn parenting and not assume it.
What evidence do you have to prove this?
In societies where formal education on parenting is offered, there is a huge difference. Moreover, the “devils” these days, require that you do your homework well as a parent because it’s an era of knowledge. When you fail to do your work well as a parent, there are external influences waiting to take over the job from you and negatively influence your child. The internet, for instance, plays a huge role today in the lives of children. So, it requires adequate training to be able to teach your child what to do and what not to do. Nowadays, children get more information from Google than they get from their parents. This is a huge lapse in parenting, and it requires urgent correction to remedy these lapses.
Nigeria is a busy place and most parents live very busy lives; how do you suggest we manage this amid the need for thorough parenting?
Time is the currency of destiny. The reason Paul the Apostle decided he didn’t want a family was because he knew he wouldn’t be able to give it what it takes and if he did, his ministry would suffer. If you have made up your mind to become a parent, then you will need to create time to shepherd the destiny you have committed to shaping. There are no shortcuts. We need to understand what is essential per time on our journey as parents.
That is why in the Academy, immediately you sign up for our Inner Circle programme, the first thing we make you do is to make an affirmation: “I have time to parent my child.” Absolutely nothing is left out. You must give the needed time to your parenting, or you risk your children seeking advice elsewhere. Most times, these advices are often misleading. In the Academy, we always say, “Parenting is about you, not the child.” So, you have to put in the work if you must achieve desired results.
What are your top tips for parents to instill self-esteem in their children?
The number one tip would be to build connection and communication skills. It’s been proven over and again that children who are responsible at home are usually confident in other things. Raise your child to be independent and assign appropriate chores to them. Expose them to the things they need to know at a younger age so “when they grow old, they will not depart from it” as recorded in the Holy Book, the Bible. It’s competence that builds confidence.
What is the difference between being loving and being permissive and how do we distinguish between the two?
A loving parent understands that discipline is a very important tool your child will need; a permissive parent doesn’t understand this. He/she misinterprets lack of discipline as love. One thing I keep telling parents is that, “You can love your children and still end up destroying them.” In parenting, intentions are not enough. You may have good intentions for your children, but still end up setting them up for failure. How? By failing to teach them the basic life skills they ought to have learned when they were younger. Remember, you would not always follow your child everywhere they go when they grow older. So, teach them skills that are capable of making them independent wherever they find themselves without you.
At what age in your view should children be introduced to social media?
Well, as much as age is important for many parents like me, in the Academy, we are more focused on teaching and guiding; not just introducing them. I usually say that no one ever hands over a car key to their child without learning how to drive just because they turned 18. Children need to be thoroughly taught on different areas bordering on sex, drug abuse, pornography, LGBTQ and other trending and misleading practices that are ongoing in our today’s world. These are most of the things we find everywhere on social media today. Again, if you do not teach your children about these things, they are likely to get the wrong information elsewhere, including the Internet. As I would always say, “Discipline is not an emergency, it is an intentional act.”
Do you support that parents wield the stick when necessary to effect discipline?
Discipline is structure. Discipline is teaching. Anything that won’t teach a child is not discipline. Unfortunately, what we see as discipline today is beating and yelling which does not really teach the child anything. At the end of the day, the child ends up doing the same thing he/she was beaten for, and the process continues, without any form of learning and correction that will stop such an act from taking place. This process of discipline is likened to doing the same thing over and over again while expecting a different result.
Is there a key principle to make parenting better and easier?
That would be knowledge and raising skilful children. The Bible says “My people are made to perish for lack of wisdom” and that “Wisdom is profitable to direct.”“Wisdom is not in the things you know, but in the things that others know, that you do not know.” Parenting is not about perfection, but about training. You need knowledge to raise skilful children. I always say that “An unskilled child is a burden to you, the parent and the society at large.” Do not raise an unskilled child.
What are some simple steps that can be taken to make parenting a better experience for everybody?
Simple steps: Acquire knowledge, read parenting books, attend courses and teach your children habits that last and skills that transform. Most of all, create connection and bonding.
You are a busy coach and a corporate executive; how do you manage these along side your over 100,000-member online community on Facebook?
We run a very structured system and every aspect gets allotted the required time. I also have a team that handles all the arrears of the academy.
What’s a typical day like for you?
A typical working hour is 8am – 5pm. Spend about 1hour with my husband at the gym at least 4 times a week, then get home and spend time with my family. I am big on the issue of connection and family bonding.
How do you relax?
Watch movies, gist with my husband, play games with the children, hang out with friends.
Your most priced fashion item?
Perfumes, perfumes and perfumes.
Describe yourself in three words…
Structured, bold and intentional.