My Idea Of What Nigerian Parenting Should Be
What is parenting?
Only last week, social media was agog with two stories that broke almost simultaneously. There was the teenage student who allegedly snuck out of school. She returned with her mother, wearing faux eyelashes, an item prohibited on campus.
There was also another student at a private Christian university. She was caught on tape having sex. In response to the viral sex tape, the university promptly expelled her. It is unknown what transpired at her parents' home, or their reaction to the situation.
Against this backdrop, I'll attempt to make some sense of what it means to be a parent in Nigeria. I'll also add some pointers of what I think parenting in Nigeria should be.
Parenting In Nigeria
Depending on where you look, parenting in Nigeria could mean anything. I'll list a few below:
- During JAMB and WAEC, for some parents, parenting in Nigeria means procuring cheat answers so your child can pass his/her exams. Or paying the invigilator to look away.
- It is helping your child sneak out of school to attend a wedding.
- Parenting in Nigeria is insisting your child must study medicine when he would rather study Fine Art.
- It is making children hawk food items before they attend school, and right after they return.
- Nigerian parenting is children going to bed hungry.
- It is teenagers who use the latest iPhones and cars.
- Various episodes featuring the occasional slap, punch, kick.
- It is fathers sexually abusing daughters, sometimes their toddler daughters.
- Nigerian parenting is basically do-as-I- say, not as-I- do.
For some families, parenting is warm hugs and cosy beds. Amusement parks and fun places to visit every weekend. Surplus hot meals and designer clothing. Sadly, there's no in-between.
Is this all that parenting should be? As parents, should we aspire to do more and be more? Not just to the family, but to our country?
Wikipedia defines parenting as the process of helping a child develop into an adult. When a child is an infant, it involves providing food, comfort and cleaning, and allowing the infant to sleep. It addresses the intricacies of raising a child to become an adult.
I think the most beautiful thing about parenting is that it's not exclusively for a biological relationship. You're not a parent simply because you care for the children from your womb. Anyone who is nurturing a child to become an adult is a parent.
What it should be
Back in the 80s, kids were called future leaders. Very few people say it anymore. That's probably because values are in general disarray across the country. Nobody is really handing them down anymore. Kids are making their own rules as they grow. And sadly, parents have forgotten how to be role models to their children.
But quality parenting is hinged on leading by example. Walking the talk, and toeing the path of honour and having your children toe that path.
It is being friends with your children and being firm with them too.
Involves listening to your child, helping him understand how the world works, and why he must have empathy.
It is my first being a responsible and model citizen, hard-working individual and caring friend. Because my child will learn from me anyway.
Quality Nigerian parenting is possible. It in fact exists, and it is the future of our great nation.
What are your thoughts on parenting in Nigeria?