I stumbled on a story that stated that the 15 year old son of David and Victoria Beckham got a job in a coffee shop, where he is earning minimum wage because his parents want him to learn the value of money. The Beckhams are some of the richest set of parents in the world and they are having their son get a job. It is not about them or how rich they are, rather they identify that there are certain life skills that a child needs to learn in order to become an independent adult in the future.
So the question is why do Nigerian parents refuse to instil certain values in their children. Why are Nigerian parents raising child-adults? The average Nigerian parents thinks that love includes providing for the child 110% or keeping the child living at home until they get married (never mind those who choose to live with spouse in BQ after marriage). We see lots of parents pack their children into business class for summer holidays and mid term breaks.
I have spoken to a lot of recruiters who complain that there is youth unemployment, but part of the reason is that there are a lot of child-adults who are unemployable. The parents are the ones carrying out the job search for the child-adult in question while he or she shows total lack of interest.
We term them child-adults because biologically and according to the calendar they are grown but in relation to everything else they are still children.
The rate of marriages that break up is high because the child-adult cannot compromise, is impatient and selfish and cannot put the needs of someone else before theirs. Parents spend huge amounts of money on lavish weddings to show off to their friends, family and Ovation without really spending time counselling the intending couple. All the couple do is to pick the clothes for the bridal train, meet with the wedding planner, join the gym for toned arms, invite Dj Cuppy and then show up for the wedding day. They are usually totally unprepared for the real work and journey – the marriage that comes after the wedding.
I speak to a lot of teachers who complain that they cannot discipline students because the mum or dad will show up screaming at the teacher for daring to discipline their prince or princess. Parents remember they are your prince and princess and seem cute now. If you make them unable to function in society as an independent adult in the future you will have yourself to blame.
I have read that even Richard Branson who owns a whole airline, Virgin Atlantic, lets his children fly in economy. Not to say that everything about the western world is better or must be copied, but where we can pick up useful examples then lets do so.
Lets keep in mind that the cute, cuddly toddler and child of today is really a passing phase. The goal of parenting should be to envision the finished product – the adult who is the product of your parenting. As an adult yourself you know the realities of life, you know how difficult it is to hold a relationship, to get and keep a job, to earn a living and what really makes life worth living.
We should not fall for the lie that love means showering children and indulging them with so much love and attention. Kids who do not ever break a sweat because everything is done for them risk growing to become child-adults who sweat because real life comes with a rude shock.
Lets focus on what some of the real values are, delayed gratification, learning the value of hard work, learning the value of money, maintaining good relationships, respect and so much more. The core values do not change whether you are born with a silver spoon or a kpako/wooden spoon. Values are universal and must be kept in mind when raising a child.