A typical Nigerian home with regular Nigerian parents and lifestyle in Nigeria is a whole vibe to experience. From the mornings of waking up by 4 am to get ready for school, picking up your food pack and dashing off to school, to the weekends when aunts and uncles visits, to attending family gatherings, I can say we saw the different parts of life and the best of it too. If you then have to deal with parents who struggle to the ends of the clock to keep the family or an overly dramatic mother, then I must congratulate you, we won las las.
In the midst of all the memorable experiences, it is easy to pick out that in many cases, emotional and psychological support were butchered at the table of obedience, seniority, and respect. Needless to say a lot of young people in Nigeria are dealing with issues that minimal things like saying you are the best to that 4year old son, or nobody is like you to your beautiful princess, or as simple as I love you, or you know you can trust me, or you are so beautiful to your 9 years old daughter struggling with issues from school, would have prevented. Being born in the mid-1980s to late 1990s, it is easy to have experienced parents, who provided clothes and food and education while forgetting time and trust. Talk about parents who are judgmental and paranoid, anyone in this born in this time bracket will definitely have a story to tell.
In all honesty, when any of these kids begin paying their own bills in the real world, deciding the path for their lives and bracing up to responsibilities, the usual reaction after the first few months of doing this is gratitude to our Nigerian parents. But that doesn’t erode the part that a lot of us still have holes we are struggling to fill.
Talking to a couple of people born within the above bracket to find out what hole they are trying to fill and if they think the parents contributed to that, the results of that exercise were amazing and eye-opening.
See What They Think.
- Briana: From her experience, she had to deal with the issue of fear. Growing up, her mother always hit her at any given opportunity. She also noted that she was the only one out of her siblings whoever had to go through that experience from her mother. As a result of that, she discovered that she had to consciously put in the effort to overcome the fear. According to her, during her days in secondary school days, she constantly had to deal with the fear of seniors and teachers. As a result, she was always found trying to be too careful just so she will not be caught at any point being in the wrong to avoid being punished. This, she somehow found a way to overcome and she feels the journey would have been easier for her if the mother took the time to talk about things and corrected her differently. Well, now we know. Thank goodness she is over it.
Stella Adeyinka: Miss Stella made it clear about one particular thing she wished her parents had done differently. She wished her parents had worked on being more financially free before deciding to raise a family. According to her, the effort to raise children without sufficient resources limits what you can offer the children or what they can be exposed to. As an effect, this became a hindrance to the speed at which they achieve their career goals. It even limits them to a certain social class where they will not reach people who are relevant to their dreams and goals in life. Even though they eventually have to work to be what and who they want to be, it takes more effort (sometimes translating to stress) and time to arrive at the said destination.
Chinedu: For him, he enjoys the freedom and independence which he was allowed to have from his Nigerian Parents while growing up. They cared for him but did not bug him with attention which he specifically thinks made him able to be in control of his life. While growing up, he is sure his parents were only there for his events about 35% of the time. This really made him realize how much he has to be the man for himself. Although he thinks as an aftermath of their actions, he finds it a bit out of place when people pick offense if he doesn’t show up for them or attend their events. For him, this means almost nothing. Also, talking about his previous relationship with the opposite sex, he says he is not the type to get jealous or react to thing. He trusts his partner to always do what is right and in their best interest. From experience, this could be as a result of consciously putting effort not to expect anything from anyone. This could be as a result of his parents disappointing his expectations at a very early age. As a defense mechanism, he decided to quit expecting and take everything at face value. This, however, is great, except that he should try not to apply it even when and to whom he doesn’t have to.
- Habeeba: Hummmm for this one she is really grateful for all the efforts by her parents but there is a “but”. According to her, she has two love languages which are words of affirmation and physical touch. For her parents, they never ever mentioned the words “I love you” to her hearing. For the physical touch, her mum always made sure she had kisses which made it easier for her. Although she wished they said they love her to her directly, she did not have any reason to doubt their love for her. On the other hand, talking about life choices, she wished they had allowed her to make some decisions for herself concerning her career and where she wanted to study. According to her, she was made to attend a school in a vicinity she would pick on a good day. This sort of had an adverse effect on her education and academic performance. Her career too suffered from this by extension. It took more time for her to achieve her dreams because she and her parents realized it would be better to consider how and what she felt and thinks. Though this might have happened much later, she wished they had listened. This kind of parenting style if care is not taken might result in low self-esteem for the child as she might begin to feel left behind by her peers because of the time wasted. It could also lead to rebellion just because she cannot have their way peacefully.
From the above, it is clear that everyone has a demon or two that they are fighting and trying to work on. We do not fault Nigerian Parents for anything. However, there are better ways of treating certain issues without causing more damage. The above stories and experiences only show a little part of the foes faced by a lot of young people in Nigeria because of the typical Nigerian Parents attitude towards some sensitive issues which in most cases, they are not even aware of. For everyone out there struggling with internal issues that they cannot talk about, hang in there, you are not alone. And for the young parents, you have a chance to make it right and better. No go use suffer kill pikin because you too suffer your own, no be the pikin do wetin make you suffer. Be there for your children as much as you can. A mistake is no longer a mistake if it repeats itself.