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