Posted in Culture

Put the dunlop away…

Hi guys,

Hope you are all doing well.

Today’s post is going to be about the typical Nigerian way of bringing up a child.

I recently went to a naming ceremony and there was something the Imam said that stuck to me. He said, “Be friends with your children, or they will find friends elsewhere”.

From personal experiences and observing other families, I have noticed that children are brought up with fear and threats. It is the Nigerian way. Fear and threats are used to make sure that children are kept on the straight and narrow. When I was younger, you wouldn’t dare look your parents in the eye or even think of talking back to them. You hear parents bragging about how strict they are with their kids ‘my Tope wouldn’t dare do that, she knows I’ll deal with her’. All a parent would have to do is look at you, and you’d be shaking in your Dunlop slippers.

This system worked in Nigeria for various different reasons. It is a part of the culture. The system is used everywhere in the country including schools. Everyone is singing from the same hymnbook. So, wherever you go, you’re fed the same mantra ‘if you don’t do this, you’ll have me to deal with.’ You can’t seek solace anywhere else, as you’d only hear the same thing. You get in trouble with your parents. They report you to the rest of your family and they give out to you. Next, you’re reported to the neighbours, who give out to you. Next day, your mother drags you to school to report to your teacher, who then gives you more punishment.

Here, the way children are raised in the western world is completely different. Threats and fear don’t always work. If anything, threatening them is only going to push them away further, because of the different avenues they have access to i.e social services. Although, the Nigerian system is done with love in mind and the aim is basically trying to bring up the child to be the best they can be morally and in all aspects of life. Bringing up a child with fear in this part of the world only puts a wall between a parent and a child. Here, you give out to the child and they get upset. The child then complains to a person who might not necessarily understand how a Nigerian home might work. The person condemns the way the child is being treated and gives the child a ‘safe place’. A young child does not see threats and fear as love. They are too young to understand that it is coming from a good place. Especially when they’re getting cuddles and freedom somewhere else.

I don’t completely disagree with the Nigerian way of raising children. But I do think the Imam did hit the nail on the head. “Be friends with your children or they will find friends elsewhere”. Be softer with your children, so that they don’t run into the wrong arms.

What do ye think?

Till next time

-A

11 thoughts on “Put the dunlop away…

  1. Hmm, I have not lived there to observe closely. But do we now adopt the western way fully even when there is evidence of negatives. And raising a child the ‘Nigerian’ way does not only mean u get beaten all the time. There are other aspects you did not appreciate. The culture of respect and wise sayings to mention a few. Picking one aspect alone which is unfortunately a negative one and addressing it is deemed not fair

    Liked by 1 person

    1. If you read the post again, I said “I do not completely disagree with the Nigerian way of raising children…” I’m not saying that the whole system is wrong, I’m saying that this particular part of it is not working here. It is not as effective as it might have been. So, we need to adapt our ways. This isn’t a post about how the western way might be better. It is literally just trying to realise that what worked before, is not working so well now. Most people will agree when I say ‘threats and fear’ are used as a tool to raise children in our culture. It’s the blatant truth. But threats and fear on its own does not work here. That is all I’m saying. I picked one aspect. Picking on one aspect doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate them. It just meant I chose not to talk about them because that is not the matter at hand. Hence, the quote at the beginning of this comment..

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    2. Also, my posts generally talk about things that I have noticed. This blog came about because I noticed that we were losing a lot of our children to social services because of mistakes like this.

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  2. Well composed and analysed. The question is, did the African way of raising a child yield positive result? I think it did a little however most people brought up in that way are not close friends with their parents. Western way also has a lot of flaws, butat least your child can walk up to you and discuss personal matters. I think a mixture of both would help and relaying solely on one could get things complicated in the future.

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    1. Oh I completely agree. I was only focusing on that aspect of it. I definitely think that a mixture of both will yield better results. The Nigerian way on its own doesn’t really work in the western world. It doesn’t yield a positive result. Especially on children that were born here.

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  3. Worth reading again and again… and I must say there’s nothing more to add, it even gets worse when your family is a one big extended family where you get to hear everything over and over for months, however, looking back I must say there’s only appreciation to pour out to our parents/family.

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  4. I really must commend the writer for this.. It’s so real and genuine most especially for those of us who grew up here in Nigeria ……… I actually pictured my mum in the script above… Lol.. I remember so much how only the look on her face sends the msg across…… Tho things are changing now… The old generation are fading away even my mum isn’t as stern as she use to wen I was a lot more younger… It amazes me wen things that I wouldnt dare do cos I know what will come after .. I now see my Lil once do without thinking twice and mum won’t act like she use to.. I guess it’s old age.

    As for my opinion I Blv parent should be frnds with their kids but still let them know the boundaries… Make dem comfortable but not too comfortable…

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    1. Thank you so much! I think part of the reason for your mum not being so stern is age. I find that parents tend to relax that bit more on the younger kids. The first one is the scape goat lol and their first chance at parenting. They’re not sure of how things work so they put their guard up.

      I definitely agree that parents should make their kids comfortable enough to be able to talk to them whilst letting them know that they are still in charge. 🙂

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