The other day, this lady complained to me about how hard it was to be a parent. I totally agreed with her. She has two boys she claims give her hell and she’s tired already. She adds that this is why she got a nanny to handle them.
“When they start crying, I just hand them over to her. I just can’t take it.”
Her kids have played with mine and I could clearly see that her boys didn’t have any issues except discipline. They are sweet one minute and become bullies the next. It got so bad that my husband told me to stop letting our kids play with them. What does the mother do when her kids misbehave? She just watches. The other day, the younger son punched me for no reason while I was talking to her. I ignored and kept talking and he did it again. I smiled, expecting the mom to stop him, but she acted like she didn’t see it. Third time, I stopped him and told him that it was wrong to punch people. He got the message from my tone and stare and never did it again. But Mommy behaved like nothing happened. Instead she called her thirteen year old housekeeper to take him away.
Their father nko? Let’s not even talk about him. He’s never there. The boys have everything from him but not him. They cry when he leaves the house and once he gets back he shouts on them and sends them to their mommy. Mommy would then send them to the girl. Yesterday, the man snapped and beat the older boy so badly his friend threatened to hit him back. I could hear the friend shouting “how you go dey flog small boy like animal?”
Father got into his car and drove off. Mother came out of the house and sat to browse on her phone, pushing the boy away until the girl came for him.
The woman has subtly tried to get my opinion on her parenting technique, but from experience, I kept my thoughts to myself. Until she expressly asks, I can’t teach her how to raise her kids. This is because I know that her behavior is directly affected by what goes on in her life and marriage. I can’t just throw in suggestions when the foundation is faulty.
See, there is such a thing as bad parenting. Toxic parenting. We have seen and heard many stories. Terrible ones. Many messed up adults are the way they are because of messed up childhoods. Ever wondered why a therapist always wants to know about their patient’s childhood? The early years are very important. Unfortunately, some parents don’t know this. They see their children as half humans, people they can treat the way they desire. I agree that African parents are not so expressive in showing love and affection, but that’s not what I mean here. I’m talking about abuse. Verbal, emotional and physical.
That’s not to say that there are aren’t great parents who made mistakes along the way. There were and there are. Emphasizing, they are not the ones I’m talking about. I’m referring to bad parents. And don’t come and tell me there aren’t. Don’t make excuses for them. I have seen a mother grind miango pepper (ask Jos people to tell you about this pepper) and put it in her daughter’s vagina after beating her blue-black. I have seen parents call their kids all sorts of names for little mistakes they made. I’ve seen fathers push their sons away for no reason. This is beyond discipline. It’s pure toxicity and wickedness. And we have to talk about it.
You had great parents, thank God. I do too, but I’m not going to come here and say because my parents were great, all parents were the same.
And what is so wrong in telling your kids you love them? How hard can that be? Why can’t you hug them or even smile back at them? Are you that much of a grouch?
I’m glad this parenting topic is being discussed. Maybe if our parents had had opportunities like the ones we have now to discuss these things, some of them would be aware of things they did wrong to their kids.
If you’re a parent reading this and you have borrowed something unhealthy from your parents and you’re passing it down to your kids because you feel it’s the way to parent, have a rethink. Re-evaluate yourself. Maybe you didn’t ask yourself why you wanted kids in the first place, and you’re beginning to cave under the pressure. It is hard. I’m not going to lie here. Very hard and scary. But you’re raising an entire human being who would affect the world around them. Stop and think. Do the right thing. Borrow what’s good from your parents and others. Throw away the bad. Not everything in tradition and culture is good. We evolve, and whether you like it or not, it’s as much your child’s era as it is yours. You have to work with the time and still do what is right.
If you’re not a parent yet, have it mind that you have to sit and ask yourself why you want to be one when the time comes. Providing for the kid is just one aspect. You have to be there. Are you mature emotionally and mentally to raise a whole human being? Are you ready? It’s not just to give birth. It’s way more than that. So much so that you will literally feel like throwing away the baby and the bath water sometimes. Some people have kids and don’t know what to do with them afterwards.
So, think hard and well. Plan for your child’s future before you have one because seriously, many people have no business being parents.