11 Difficulties Nigerian parents face
Do you relate?
Biggest parenting challenges for Nigerian families? Families all over Nigeria face pretty much the same issues, and sadly, most of these problems are economic. The Nigerian parent has to deal with social problems, cultural issues, and domestic challenges. Parenting is already tasking enough on its own, and these external stressors make it even harder for parents all over Nigeria.
Biggest parenting challenges for Nigerian parents
Many families are staggering under the crushing weight of some of these problems, but most of them soldier on even in the face of all these challenges. So, if you’re wondering about the biggest parenting challenges Nigerian parents are complaining about, here are some of them:
1. Economic problems
With the skyrocketing unemployment rate in the country, most parents have been forced to start small businesses in order to cater for the family. Parents with white collar jobs also have to run some side gigs to supplement the family’s income.
The cost of living in most Nigerian cities can be very high. Parents have to take care of expenses like rent, grocery, school fees, Medicare, etc.
Most working parents cannot afford to pay a minder to care for the kids while they’re at work. There are daycare centres to take the kids, of course, but there’s still the problem of doing ‘daycare runs’ before and after work. Live-in childcare and daycares are not cheap, so many parents are forced to juggle work and family life, and it is not an easy balance to strike.
3. Poor work/life balance
Imagine having to leave the house at 5.am every day and returning home no earlier than 10 p.m. You can stop imagining now because that’s the reality for many Nigerian parents. Some jobs even take the parents away for days, weeks, or months on end. These parents have very little time to interact with their kids. They work hard, pay the bills, but in the end, they face the difficult option of having to forfeit the vital child-parent bond. In situations like this, the children risk growing up in a home where the parents are basically strangers.
4. Lack of adequate health care
Nigeria continues to lag behind when it comes to quality medical care. Medicare is not free, and in order to ensure that the family gains access to the best care possible, parents have to pay heavily. Most times, healthcare workers are forced to go on long strikes due to non-payment of salaries. In this scenario, many people have to go to private hospitals, which don’t come cheap at all.
5. Poor infrastructure
The problem of poor infrastructure is also a concern for Nigerian parents. When basic amenities like stable power supply, clean water and sanitation are sorely lacking in a country, parents will feel the crunch of these issues. Raising children in a place where the parents have to provide basic things like clean water and electricity takes a toll on the finances and the peace of mind of the parents.
6. High cost of quality education
In Nigeria, there are private schools wherever you turn. The proliferation of private schools is supposed to be an answer to a deeper problem. The government-owned schools are not well-funded, and teachers go on strike periodically when the government owes them salaries.
To circumvent this problem, many parents enroll their children in private schools where the school calendar is usually uninterrupted by strikes. Private schools have become the standard due to this, and even low-income families are struggling to enroll their kids in expensive private schools.
7. High rate of dependency
A typical Nigerian family is made up of the nuclear family and the extended family. Most families have to cater for the immediate family as well as the extended. You find that many families have to pay hospital bills for ageing parents, take care of school fees for nephews and nieces, or make sure an uncle somewhere has enough money to learn a new trade.
This creates a negative impact on the finances of many Nigerian families, no matter how seemingly well-off they are.
8. Accommodation problems
In this instance, an accommodation problem doesn’t just mean poor housing conditions. Admittedly, finding a nice, budget-friendly house can be daunting, as all the good places can be quite expensive. A great accommodation goes beyond that, though. Parents want to live in places where they can easily find great schools and places of worship. They also want a place where they wouldn’t have to travel very far to find a market. Since safe and secure spaces matter to parents, they’ll always worry about finding an area with a super-low crime rate.
9. Raising children: The old way VS. the new way
The older generation weren’t strangers to corporal punishment. Back then, flogging wasn’t the taboo it has become today. When your parents whooped you, they did it because they loved you too much to see you continue exhibiting a behaviour they didn’t like.
Flogging is out of style today, and many parents are torn between adopting the parenting they had learned from their own parents and trying not to repeat toxic patterns.
10. Family size
Let’s face it, it can be hard to strike the balance between too big and too small. Most couples would have sorted this issue in the early days of marriage, but the economy usually ends up having the final say. A couple who had planned on having four children could end up having only one or two children because of adverse economic conditions.
Conversely, families with many children end up struggling right along with the economy.
11. Getting a better future for their children
This is a valid concern, and whether they voice it out or not, Nigerian parents want their children to have great lives and amazing opportunities. This is evident in the sacrifices they make just so the kids can get the best education, eat nutritious meals, and gain access to excellent medical care.
Parenting in Nigeria comes with its unique set of problems. But in all this, generations of Nigerian parents have managed to make it work despite all the challenges.