Ever wondered what is the Nigerian parenting style? The most common parenting styles we have heard about are the Asian parenting style (Tiger Mom) or the French parenting style (Bringing up Bebe)
Is there an African or the Nigerian Parenting Style? What does the Nigerian parent want from their child and how does the Nigerian parent get what they want from their children? Based on research, opinions and observation it appears that there are two styles of the Nigerian Parenting; the old school or traditional and the new age style.
The Old School Nigerian Parenting Style
The old school or traditional Nigerian parenting style includes tough love, discipline, instilling a sense of responsibility, diligence at home chores (maybe directed at the female child) with a big premium placed on respect and culture. There is an expectation of deference to people in position of power, which includes parents and any older person. We have all heard stories of the aunty or neighbour who would smack a misbehaving child and when the parent was informed, the parent would also be sure to add their own “beating” for good measure.
The Nigerian parenting style has evolved and today everything seems more lenient, everything seems to have changed. Parenting is not the only thing that has changed, the educational system too has changed. More schools teach children based on learning through play, Montessori and other styles, the rote style of learning is fading out. Children are no longer expected to speak only when spoken, rather are encouraged to be confident and speak their mind.
Back in our days being smacked flogged at school was expected, being taunted by teachers if you were too “slow” was normal and being disciplined in front of your class was normal. If you didn’t want these to happen to you, you simply ensured you behaved yourself. Today these methods of discipline are seen as humiliating, degrading and counter productive, leading to the disappearance of copal punishment. I remember being advised by my child’s class teacher to say to my child “how very very sad and show displeasure on my face when I want to correct a wrong behaviour” because spanking was not advisable.
Is this New Age Style Better?
The modern Nigerian parent is generally more “friendly” with more conversations happening between parents and children today. I dare say this is partly because the average child today also demands it. A typical child expects an explanation when told “No” or “You cant do that”. Children are born wired differently today and ask more questions from day one. You have probably heard the comment that babies today open their eyes quicker than in the past? Or how quickly a toddler today knows his or her colours including the secondary colours such as indigo and turquoise.
Mix of Styles
The Nigerian parenting style today is a mélange of styles; however, no matter how lenient the Nigerian parent today is there is still a thread of the typical “Nigerian parenting” streak. Nigerian parenting still includes being tough on your children and expecting a lot from them. Nigerian parents do not believe in too much praise (so the child’s head does not get big).
The Nigerian child is not expected to question elders and if they do the traditional Nigerian parent might wonder what he or she is doing wrong. We do see parenting that has veered towards over-indulgence resulting in too much leniency. Not enough discipline and children end up entitled and badly behaved. Who is to blame? the culture or parents? Whose fault is it that a neighbour can no longer reprimand a child without fear of displeasure from the parents.
The Nigerian “modern” parenting style is unique and no one size fits all. Parents have high expectations for their children woven in with the culture. A modern parent is more “friendly” while administering expectations for the child because a premium has been placed on proper communication.