There was a discussion that happened last week on Twitter NG, it was about bad parenting in the African setting.
The internet was divided in two factions, those who felt our parents didn’t know better, but they did their best in providing and therefore, we should be grateful for the way we were raised.
The other faction was not having “not knowing better” as an excuse for the emotional trauma many African parents caused, by not expressing words of affirmation, encouragement and showing empathy. They also pursued the idea of a parent providing not being enough reason for a child to be grateful because it is their due responsibility.
It was a very interesting discussion indeed. I was on the sidelines just scrolling and reading through tweets and replies.
The two words ‘love & responsibility’ were thrown around a lot. So it got me thinking, does fulfilling your responsibility to your child mean you love them? Can the two be separated? Do they go hand in hand?
I am not a parent yet, but I have been opportuned to be actively involved in raising my niblings (nephews & nieces). *I know it still can’t be compared to being an actual parent*
But I actually know first hand how tough that is, how choking and depressing it can be. It takes lot of sacrifices, a lot of self- deprivation and it doesn’t actually have an expiry date.
A parent loves unconditionally, and may never get the same in return.
I think love and responsibility cannot be separated. With love comes the responsibility to give, to protect and to nurture.
But I also think there is so much more to loving your child and raising them. It is very tempting to exert control and lord over them but parents should not get carried away.
Loving comes with letting go, allowing them to speak while you listen, allowing them to find themselves.
Loving comes with words of encouragement, even adults relish the words of a boss saying they have done a good job in the presence of others.
The aim of raising a child is not to have someone that will forever tug at your apron strings, but to build a confident and responsible adult who can believe in him/herself and make rational decisions.
I really don’t know which faction I belong to, but I honestly understand where they are both coming from.
This may seem trivial but a lot of adult issues stems from the feeling of not being loved as a child.
In my opinion, children need all the basic amenities just as they need to hear you say “I am proud of you” to really understand they are loved and cherished.