With all the recent talk on the different parenting styles, the Asian parenting style (Tiger Mom), the French parenting style (Bringing up Bebe)…I have been asking myself what is the African or particularly the Nigerian Parenting Style? What does the Nigerian parent want from their child and how does the Nigerian parent get what they want from their children? It appears that there are two styles of the Nigerian Parenting the old school/traditional and the New age style.
The true Nigerian parenting style includes tough love, discipline, instilling a sense of responsibility, diligence at home chores (maybe directed at the female child), a big premium placed on respect and culture. Deference to people in position of power including parents and any older person, we have all heard of the stories of the aunty or neighbor who would smack the child for misbehavior and when the parent was informed, the parent would also be sure to add their own “beating” for good measure.
The Nigerian parenting style has evolved and nowadays the parenting style today seems more lenient…everything has changed and even the educational style has changed. Children are no longer expected to go the rote style of learning/instructions, or only expected to speak when spoken to and the disappearance of copal punishment – back in our days being
smacked flogged at school was expected, being taunted by teachers if you were too “slow” was normal and being disciplined in front of your class was normal. If you didn’t want these to happen to you, you simply ensured you behaved yourself. Today all these methods of discipline are seen as humiliating and degrading. I have been advised by my child’s teacher to tell my child “how very very sad and show displeasure on my face when I want to correct a wrong behavior” because spanking is not advisable.
The Nigerian parent today is generally more “friendly” than in the old school days, there are more conversations between parents and children today, partly because the average child today also demands it. The typical child today cannot imagine being told “No” without having things explained to him or her. They are born wired differently today, how many of us have had grandma’s remark at how quickly the babies today open their eyes? Or how quickly a toddler today knows his or her colors versus in our days, including the secondary colors such as indigo and turquoise.
The Nigerian parenting style today is a mélange of styles…no matter how lenient the Nigerian parent today is there is still a thread of the typical “Nigerian parenting” streak. Nigerian parenting still includes being tough on your children, expecting a lot from them, not over praising them, expecting them to be respectful especially of their elders, not really questioning their parents (or even if they do the average Nigerian parent will frown or wonder what he or she is doing wrong), having fun but within reason.
Nigerian “new” parenting style is unique as we have high expectations for our children woven in with our culture but we manage to be more “friendly” in administering our expectations for our children by placing a premium on communication.
Lagosmums do you agree? is there a stereotype of a Nigerian Parenting Style? or is there too much talk and there is no “style” of parenting.