Why do we want our parents to say that they love us? A few weeks ago, Nigerian-American rapper, Wale, appeared on Jada Pinkett-Smith’s Red Table Talk. He mentioned that he never witnessed his parents express love for each other or their kids in clear words of affection. He said that this affected the way he has handled relationships as an adult and stated that it was important and admirable that Jada and Willow had the type of relationship they have.

This sparked up a conversation on social media, with many Nigerians expressing their views on why Nigerian parents are almost never affectionate. I thought about it and realized I never got to hear my parents say ” I love you” to themselves or their children. I remember wanting to hear them say the words when I was a young adult and still want them to even as a grown woman, so I decided to conduct a simple research to find out why I was craving that so bad.

We are consumers of what the media produces, so we often watch, read or listen to people say those words often. The regularity with which we absorb this type of content, the way it is portrayed and the effect it has on the characters, makes us want to experience that feeling as well. It can be likened to an advertisement. Products or services are displayed in the best way to attract customers so the audience can be enticed and pays for those products.

I came to the conclusion that the reason I wanted to hear my parents express their feelings with words was that I watched a lot of TV or movies where parents express theirs in that way. We forget that feelings can be expressed in different forms, there is even something called “The Five Love Languages”.

Our parents show us love how they were shown love. They have committed acts of service by paying our bills, feeding us, sacrificed many things physically and mentally in order to afford us our needs. They enjoy spending time with us, giving us gifts when they can afford to and even hug us when they want to comfort us. These are four out of five love languages, so why do we hang on to the part where they need to say that they love us? We forget that most of the time they are consumed by all these other events that they do not feel the need to say actual words.

Thankfully, through our experiences, we will become better communicators with our children and bring the cycle to an end.

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