ARAYA SEB: Who’s Who

Araya Seb, an Ethiopian Broadcasting Services (EBS) television program interviewing professionals from various walks of life, broadcasted an interview with Dr. Emebet Mulugeta, Founder and Director of Nia CCFD, on August, 27, 2014.  The interview centered on the importance of good parenting, also touched upon some critical developmental concerns amongst today’s children including the much debated issue of discipline, the role of school teachers in the lives of children, and gender parity issues among children.
Dr. Emebet in her interview stressed that giving children due time and attention is of paramount importance in these changing times and increased globalization.  Several years ago the level of communal bonds and the unavailability of uncensored media, technology, easily-accessible information and other factors made it far easier to raise children.  In today’s world, however, she stated that children need parental supervision more than ever. Aside from ensuring their biological, social, and psychological needs are met, “We must pay mind to their emotions, respect them, let them know that we love them, and give them our time.  If we don’t do these things, our lack of attention may be cause for problems,” she said.     

On the issue of discipline, Dr. Emebet commented, “I believe more in ‘discipline’ than I do in ‘punishment.’”  It is important to know how to discipline children, she explained.  The point of disciplining the child is to make sure he/she does not return to doing the wrong deed.  She stated, it is important to explain to the child why he/she is being disciplined and administer disciplinary measures in a timely manner so that children understand what they are being disciplined for. 

She also explained teachers have a huge role and responsibility in the lives of children.  “I can recall how one particular teacher of mine pushed and encouraged me to become successful in my studies; I also went to her for other personal matters and consultation too,” she said.  Teachers must think seriously of how they positively or negatively reinforce children.  Moreover, parents must follow up on their children’s education, know their teachers, and ask about their behaviors in school.  When we follow up on children’s academic lives, they take notice, appreciate our efforts, and are encouraged to work harder, she added. 

Dr. Emebet further mentioned that her work in gender studies has enabled her to see that when we talk about girls/women we highlight the challenges.  “In addition,” she stated, “it would be good if we could place focus on the strength of girls. We should bring to light the individual, social, and spiritual assets we possess that enable us to overcome our problems.”  She closed her interview by posing several points to ponder:  “What does family mean?  How should we communicate?  What do our children need?  What kinds of structures must we lay out for them?  Are we emotionally ready?  In this day and age, we must focus on these things,” she said.