Tag Archives: parenting

Parenting Manual

“Please write down your name sir.” I said to the man seated in front of me.

He took the pen I offered him and began to write. His daughter stood by his side. She was probably about four or five years old. I smiled at her.

Maybe it was the smile that attracted her, I have no idea but she decided to walk round the table. She stood beside me as I continued to attend to her father. She opened my side drawer and took out the milo sachet I had bought the previous day.

She walked back to her father with the milo sachet in her hand. What I heard next was definitely not what I was expecting.

“Did you say thank you?” Her father asked her.

I looked up at the man with unbelieving eyes. The milo sachet was the medium family size not the mini ones.

“Say thank you.” The man said to his daughter.

The little girl shrugged her right shoulder in defiance.

“Say thank you.” The father repeated but his daughter ignored him.

I was done attending to him and I handed him what he had come to pick up.


As father and daughter walked out of my office with my milo sachet, I shook my head. I also had kids but it was not in my place to tell a father how to train his child.

If the father saw nothing wrong with his daughter taking what was not hers, then I had no words for him.

The “say thank you” and the defiance showed by the daughter was also a source of concern but well….

If at that age, her father was unable to exercise his authority over her, I wondered what the future held for both of them. Parenting is the most important job anyone with kids would ever do. There are no perfect parents but there are bad parents; parenting definitely does not come with a manual.


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Mothering 101

Scenario 1

I was driving at 20km on the untarred and bumpy street. Rows of shops lined the street all the way down to my children’s school. I maneuvered the car carefully taking note of the fact that it was a street plied mostly by children walking to school. Rows of shops lined the right and the left of the street; most of them selling biscuits and sweets making them readily available for children on their way to school.

Suddenly, a little boy, probably aged three, ran out of one of the shops on my right. I slammed on the brakes and came to an abrupt stop. The little boy unaware that he had run right into the front of my car and narrowly escaped an accident, continued to play and run around as if nothing was amiss. A guy walking past, looked towards the row of shops and shouted. “Who get this pikin?”

His mother who was probably too busy to notice what had happened heard the question and ran out of her shop. She carried the boy and spanked his bum. The boy burst into tears immediately as she pushed him into her shop.

The guy who had witnessed the whole scenario said as he walked past my car; “Na so Yoruba people dey do. Dem no go take care of their pikin.”

I looked at him immediately and corrected the notion. “I am Yoruba and I take care of my children.” I faced the woman and said to her. “Kíni ë wá n na ömö yën fún (Why are you spanking the child?). Tó bá jé pé ë mó jú to ni, ë ò ní jé kí n wón ma sòrò sí wa (If only you had watched over your child, we would not have been insulted).

Did she care about what I said? I have no idea and did not wait to get a response from her as I drove off immediately.


Scenario 2

I was walking on a relatively busy street early in the morning. Even though, cars were not speeding by, the road was curved and most cars had to honk to notify other cars coming in the opposite direction. There were cars parked on the left and on the right of the street and this further hampered the line of vision of both the driver and the pedestrian.  A car was coming down my way on the right while some men sat under a shed on my left.

“Ë dúró sí bè. Ë má ì tíì lö.” (Wait there. Don’t go yet). I heard them call out to my right.

I looked to my right and saw two little children walking very close to the gutter. The girl could not have been more than four or five and she held her little brother’s hand who looked too young to be in school. They both wore uniforms, had knapsacks on their backs and held lunch boxes.

The car drove past and the men called out to them. “Óya, ë lè ma lö. Ibè yën ni ke ti rìn o. Ë má rìn ní títì.” (You can go now. Walk on that path. Don’t walk on the street).

As I walked past the men, I overheard them discussing about how a mother would leave such little children to walk to school alone. I shook my head as I walked away.

Was the guy in scenario 1 right to have said it was a Yoruba thing? Or are women now so confident to believe children at that age can take care of themselves? Or is education playing a factor in parental care?

My fellow Yoruba mothers, have your say. To the Igbo and Hausa mothers; have you also experienced this? I would like to hear from all.


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Sibling Rivalry, Guilty Parents

“My mum never hid her preference for me. She always showed it to my siblings that I was her favourite. That happens even till date”. She said.

“So, how do your siblings feel about it?” I asked.

“Ah, they hated me when we were younger but as we grew older, they realized that I wasn’t at fault. They understood that my mum was the guilty one. I did not seek to be favoured”. She responded. “So, do you have a favourite among your kids?” She asked.

“No, I don’t. Each child has his/her own individuality and I don’t believe it should be used as a basis for judging my love for them”. I said.

Sibling Rivalry_Guilty parents

This discussion got me thinking about the extent parents go to manipulate their children; showing preference for a child and inadvertently breeding sibling rivalry. As much as I understand that it can be a difficult task not comparing child with child, I believe parents should always maintain a little restraint. Take a step back and think before talking or acting.

Children would always fight for the attention and acceptance of their parents. A wise parent will however treat each child as an individual, noting their individual temperaments and uniqueness. Each child cannot be the same. While some children are very brilliant and excel in academics, some may be poor in academics but perform excellently at handicraft. Another may be gifted in music, while another may be gifted in administration.

I applaud the siblings of this lady for rising above sibling rivalry as she stated that she still gets the preferential treatment till date; but not all cases end well. Some siblings have gone as far as hurting the favoured sibling or in some cases, living the rest of their lives hating the sibling because of a rivalry that was bred and watered by their parents.

The victim sibling begins to wonder where he/she went wrong; forgetting that the favouritism received from the parent/s had resulted in his/her becoming a victim.

Food for thought for Parents:

Why make your children become estranged from each other by fostering sibling rivalry? It is even more difficult when you are gone as you would no longer be there to bind them together as a family.

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Old generation versus New generation parents

When I see a parent getting along very well with his/her child, I smile at the good relationship they share. This seems to be the trend with the “new generation” parents. The parents aged 20 something to 40 something.

For those of us born in the 70s and 80s, a number of us would need a rethink to answer the question, “Do you get along well or do you have a good relationship with your parents?” Our parents can be classified as the “old generation” parents.

Don’t get me wrong, we love them! But do we share a relationship with them, just as the generation Z have with their own parents? I doubt it.

You see, a number of us were whipped too many times for both genuine and false reasons. We were trained by maids because our parents were busy with work. We were shipped away to boarding houses because our parents had to make money. We had almost no relationship with our parents growing up. We all grew up independently and then our independence became a problem to our parents.

Old vs New generation parenting

They failed to realize that we were no longer children. We had become young adults. To them, we grew up too soon and they were shocked that we had learnt to live on our own. They wanted to decide which course we read in the university, which state we served our nation for our National Youth Service, which job we decided to take up and which man/woman we decided to get married to.

Fast forward to the “new generation” parents. They seem to be more liberal in their thinking. Yes, some still send their kids to boarding houses but they are more involved in their lives. They want to grow together with their kids so they are not caught unawares like our “old generation” parents. They allow their kids to be both dependent and independent in their choices. They have conversations with their kids because they want to feel their heartbeat.

Old vs New generation parenting 2

I love the “old generation parent” but I would rather be a “new generation” parent.
Which would you rather be?

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