Are you Raising an Ajebutter or Ajekpako ?
Do you know her? The mum who feels that her child must be the one with the latest electronic gadget and a nanny to lift each foot. Her child does not do chores because she is too young and besides there is a housekeeper for that. Her child does not get disciplined because mum thinks it might bring psychological harm. Discipline at the most is 2 minutes naughty corner facing the wall (while still being able to watch television). As the child gets older; he or she could be disciplined by being threatened to fly in economy class and not first class. This is the raising of a full Ajebutter.
For our non-Nigerian readers an ajebutter means a pampered and indulged upbringing. What does this ajebutter you are raising have in common with butter? They melt easily! You are raising a child who melts easily.
Have you wondered why this child melts into tantrums and noisy fits when he does not get what he wants? When the tantrum is ongoing mum and dad are the embarrassed ones making excuses for Bobo – “oh you know he didn’t sleep early today” or “it is just because he is hungry” (complete with the sheepish smile). Mum, dad, you are being unfair, because you might not be there when he or she finally realises that not everyone dances to their every tune!
Who is the Ajekpako? Kpako is Yoruba for wood. Wood is resilient and can withstand pressure. Wood can be rough and give you splinters, but wood can also be polished to shine. These are the kids whose parents are tough because they want to be sure that they are raising an “I can take on the world” child.
Disciplined and scolded with every slight misbehaviour. This is the case because mum has read that you are to train up a child in the way he should go so that he will not forget. This is the child who is washing clothes from age 2, does not get toys on a whim and definitely does not call the iPad his iPad. He is required to greet everyone respectfully. This child dares not let mum repeat a request more than once before it is obeyed. When this child hears mummy drive-in, he starts to run around the house to tidy up before mummy steps in the door. You mean mummy will come home to a messy house because junior has been expressing his creativity?! No way!
Butter (Ajebutter) or Wood (Ajekpako)? Which will it be? Butter is the child who melts easily under pressure, who melts when as an adult, she finds out that delayed gratification is necessary. She grows up to find out that she does not have many friends because no one wants to deal with someone who throws tantrums every time she is in a bad mood.
Or will it be wood? This is the one who faces the realities of life and doesn’t take no for an answer, he is the one who seems to have been raised in a military camp. Is a bit too hard but surprisingly can bounce back from any tough situation? He is in control of his emotions.
Parents the choice is ours, to raise the child into the adult that he or she will ultimately become. I always remember the Lagbaja song that says “if the child does not learn at home the child will learn outside” literally this is saying that whatever values and good behaviour that the family unit omits to teach the child…the child will definitely learn it in the real world (the harder way!)
Let us assess our parenting styles and measure how resilient the children we are raising will be for the future they will inherit. [Read: Nigerian Parenting Style]
They will get jobs or own companies and have relationships with people who will not tolerate their bad attitude. They will realize that the way mummy and daddy loves and cocooned them ends with mum and dad. Finally, they will find out that in real life it is not cute when an adult behaves like a child.
Keeping this in mind which will it be? Ajebutter or Ajekpako…You decide!