Having sat down in front of my laptop for over ten minutes now with the cursor blinking ever so mockingly at me and reminding me that I have nothing to write as my introductory paragraph, I have decided to wing it and just write whatever the heck comes to mind. In a semi related note,
The topic above is pretty self-explanatory (I hope) and I’m sure you know that I’ll probably be talking about some controversial “stuff” on here today. I can assure you with a clear conscience that I am not lying when I say that this entire topic was not formed from some random tweet I saw online. I’m not that cheap.
Anyway, as I’m sure you already realized, I totally flopped my introductory paragraphs. As such, I’ll be delving right into the topic for this week.
Contrary to what you probably think, I won’t exactly be attacking our black, amazing parents. Although, there are a couple of things that I’m sure you agree with me should be different about the way we were raised, I’m not here to crucify. Instead, I’ll give advice?
Whether or not you like to admit it, there have definitely been times that your parent(s) did something to you that you were not entirely comfortable with. Yes, yes, we are kids and we won’t understand until we’re older but we’re not all stupid. At least that’s what I think. I can’t speak for you but I do know that for myself, there have been times when I honestly thought to myself that “Naa, I won’t make this same mistake with my kids.” To be honest, I know parenting is hard and I do know that I’ll probably flop on all the things I’m about to mention but here are a couple of things that most African parents do that I would not make the mistake of doing and that I hope you will learn from as well:
1. Making Fear the Sole Means of Motivation
In the case of children, I guess this is acceptable? I don’t see how I can convince a five year old that sitting too close to the television for too long might cause his eyes to deal strenuously with the strain of having to absorb excess light into it which might cause him to have to spend the rest of his life wearing glasses and even possibly lead to more complications so I’ll just tell him to move back a little otherwise, I’ll beat him.
Fear as motivation might make sense when dealing with kids who don’t have the ability to grasp what you’re trying to tell them but using it all the time regardless of the age just makes you an iron fist ruler so to speak. Instead, I’d make my kids understand the moral and physical implications of their actions. “Stealing isn’t wrong because I will punish you if you do. Stealing is wrong because it robs people of their hard earned possessions and you wouldn’t want it done to you either.
See Also: Things I Probably Shouldn’t Have Done
2. Becoming a Dictator
Apart from your biological parents, another set of people who play an important role in bringing you up is your teachers at school. Back then when I was still a secondary school student, teachers would often beat students for the littlest things. Like not turning in assignments early or not ruling margins. They never really told us why we had to do those things they were beating us for. They just told us we had to do it and enforced those rules.
While I was able to understand that you need to submit assignments early in order to be awarded appropriate marks to help build your grades, not everyone would have gotten it and to an extent, it is the fault of upbringing. We were made to think that we just had to do these things. Not because it’s right or because it would help us but because they wanted us to and when we eventually “gained freedom from them” we stopped. Like slaves set free of their shackles, we saw no need to follow those rules anymore.
Coercing kids to do something and withholding the reason from them might not exactly be the best idea because when they leave you, they just might not see the reason for it any longer.
3. Being Just A Parent
Far too many times, the father just provides money and disappears like a cheap Charlie Chaplin trick. Far too many times, the mother cooks (or whatever else) and just becomes unavailable to the kids and hides under the canopy of “I’m stressed”. This shouldn’t always be the case. When you do have kids, you shouldn’t just be a parent, be a friend as well.
Let your kids know that they can talk to you. Let them know that you can be trusted. It’s not every time they come to you that you’ll pull up that distant unapproachable façade. Be someone they can trust.
Unlike most of my other articles, I’m sincerely not sure whether or not this makes sense. This is one of the worst cases of writer’s block I have had in a while but I certainly do hope you get my point.
I am well aware that you do not have kids yet and might not even have for another number of years but still, it would do no harm to keep these pieces of information in your heart. You aren’t entirely happy with everything your parents did. Do not repeat those same flaws with your kids. Be the change that you want to see.
I gotta ask;
- Did you enjoy the article? I feel it was too serious.
- Are you a hundred percent comfortable with how you were raised?
- What did your parents ever do to you that you feel you wouldn’t want to do with your kids.