“Mummy, why do you always shout at me?”
My 5 year old son asked looking at me with aggrieved eyes.
Anyone looking would say I was a horrible ogre of a mother looking for ways to punish this cute innocent little boy. What you will not know is that I had asked him twice to do his homework in a gentle voice but he ignored me. It was the third “MY FRIEND IF YOU DON’T START THAT HOMEWORK NOW, YOU WILL SEE WHAT I WILL DO TO YOU” that brought results.
Does he really think that I enjoy shouting? I asked myself later because that’s how, tomorrow, he will grow up and be making memes, instagram posts, and youtube videos typing “I can relate to this” in the comment section of Zikoko as he guffaws at how neurotic African or Nigerian Parents are.
Cut Nigerian Parents some slack.
You see, till I had these kids, I was like you. I have fully crossed over now and I think you guys just don’t get it. I will explain some things to you.
NIGERIAN PARENTS WANT THEIR KIDS TO BE ENGINEERS, DOCTORS OR LAWYERS.
I know that you want to ‘follow your heart’ and ‘discover your passion’ because you can achieve whatever you conceive (or what is the ish those motivational speakers say).
Nigerian Parents are interested in all those things and even more. They want you to have a job that will put food on the table and the aforementioned professions are legit ways to guarantee food on the table. Being an Accountant is not bad as well. There is no organisation that does not need an accountant. Forget all those incessant strikes by doctors, they know they are essential that is why they do all the shakara. From youth service they are already earning multiples of the stipend you get. You want to be the next whizkid abi? Or Chimamanda? Or Kevin Hart? Kikikikiki (laughing in an African language). For every one of them, there are literally thousands of failed writers, musicians and comedians. But you are right, you could succeed but first of all give us that degree as an assurance that you will not be hungry tomorrow and sneak back into the BQ.
NIGERIAN PARENTS DO NOT ENCOURAGE RELATIONSHIPS.
They don’t want to see you with girlfriends or boyfriends. They are constantly warning you of carrying or giving ‘belle’. You see, we were all once a ‘children’. We know what you guys do because we ehmm we ehmm did them too. Have you any idea how ‘belle’ could derail the life of a young adult or teen? Or worse some STD or a desperate homemade abortion? Valuable years of growing and gradually becoming can fall of track because of the wrong relationship. And there is nothing like being friends with the opposite sex, one of the two is in the friendzone and the other does not know about it. So, don’t date till you have a steady source of income and are ready to marry. In Nigeria, that simply means to wait till you are 30 years old. Sex is pleasure, pleasure spoils children. So, sex is best when you are responsible enough for it. After marriage.
NIGERIAN PARENTS SPANK WAY TOO MUCH.
I was briefly anti spanking. That changed when my son brought home a marble that was not his. Was this a sign of things to come? What if he ends up taking people’s things for a living? Me? TUFIAKWA (I just spat for good measure and prayed some serious prayers.) So, I did what any sensible non-oyibo parent would do. I spanked the possibility of carrying-things-that-did-not-belong-to-him-out-of-him. He knelt down for ages and I even paid a visit to his teacher (who reassured me that all the kids take the marbles at one point or the other.) So do you get it? We are desperate for you kids to turn out right. That is why we pray hard and help you cancel out the bad omen you unwittingly invite by making careless statements. “It is not your portion@@!!” By the way, he never brought another marble home again. So it worked.
NIGERIAN PARENTS DON’T DO HUGS AND KISSES
How would all the training work if we opened our 32 teeth all the time. See Goodluck was nice but what did people say? He is too soft, that is why corruption thrived. We need a stern no nonsense Chief Jailer with a body language that will change this nation. See how white people call their parents by name? I am in my late 30s and my parents are dead. Even in my dreams, I do not call them by name. That is what effective training does to a child, you never forget it. So, permit us for not playing with you too much, it is for your own good.
NIGERIAN PARENTS LIVING ABROAD THREATEN THEIR KIDS WITH ONE WAY TICKETS HOME?
This should be obvious now. But I will still say it. Your typical Nigerian child understands privilege. Living in Nigeria for example teaches you that nobody will hand over anything to you just like that. You must work for it, scam for it, bribe for it etc etc. These ‘abroad’ kids of African Parents have so many liberties and they don’t even know it. In Nigeria, a parent could slap a minor so hard that he/she falls down right in front of the police. On hearing the offence committed, the police could join in to dispense a good whopping. AND NOTHING DEY HAPPEN. So kids abroad, forget what your other friends are saying and take our word for it. Life is easier there, appreciate it.
NIGERIAN PARENTS ARE OBSESSED WITH YOU GETTING GOOD GRADES AND RESPECT
Yes, we may exaggerate about how well we did in school but that is no reason why you should not do well. You see Iya Titi? That snooty nosed big-bum woman thinks all her children are the brightest and most respectful. That is not true. The onus is now on you to prove it to her and give us stories to exchange with her of how you were the best engineering student in the class. And when people talk about how respectful you are, they are automatically saying we trained you well. We have toiled too hard to allow you ruin our names.
What did I leave out?
NIGERIAN PARENTS WILL CALL YOU FROM IBADAN TO COME AND GIVE THEM THE REMOTE CONTR THAT IS ON A STOOL BESIDE THEM IN LAGOS
Kikikiki permit me to laugh.
This last one is called the ‘fringe’ benefit of having a child. After all, we slave all day looking for money to pay your school fees, the rent, put food on the table etc etc. All the ‘Oyinbo’ you are using to yab us was bought by our hard earned money. We battle with hypertension, deal with stress and wrack our brains endlessly so that you will be comfortable. And although nothing you could ever do will pay us back we will manage owning your backsides and using you in any and every way possible.
So there you have it. Nigerian Parents are not that bad. We just want you to be happy and marry from our villages (trust us, it is better that way.).
(a loud crash)
That boy is breaking something… time for some ‘home training’…