Raising kids comes with a lot of responsibility, and focusing on the wrong things can affect their values and belief systems when they grow up. These are 5 things African parents often do, which they should not be doing.
- They do not encourage ‘curiousity’ in kids
In most African homes, a child is not encouraged to ask questions. The child is easily tagged as ‘mpayins3m’ which translates to acting like an adult, when they ask certain questions. Children are encouraged to be quiet and respectful and not ask too many questions.
- Do not challenge what an adult says
One of the most troubling qualities that African parents, especially Ghanaian parents consciously try to imbibe in their children is the art of staying quiet. Ghanaian parents forget that the timid young people who grow up in society and roll with the status-quo without questioning the actions of leaders were raised by them.
Children are made to believe that all that an adult says is right, therefore kids have no place to question the actions of adults.
In some cultures, even if an adult tells a lie, the child has to say that the adult has either omitted or playfully deceived them; this is wrong. Children have a voice and must be allowed to voice out their thoughts and concerns.
Even when kids get harassed in various forms by an adult, they are often scared to say it for fear of being victimized. Kids learn to be quiet in the face of oppression.
3. ‘Leave Everything to God’
As someone who believes in God, I will be going against my own beliefs to say God cannot solve our problems; he does, but he does not work the way African parents make their kids believe. When someone harasses or cheats you, if you are jobless, ill or broke, you are made to believe that God is the solution to all your problems, even without taking extra measures to change your situation. The response to most issues is, leave everything to God even when you can do something about your situation.
4. Limiting roles
I always refer to the story of how I was unable to replace a light bulb until my mid-twenties. This was because of my orientation of the things I should be doing as a girl, compared to those I could not care less about.
When you walk into an African home, usually after school hours, it is common to see the girls helping their mothers in the kitchen while their brothers are out in the neighborhood playing football. Most African parents raise their kids to believe in gender roles; some roles being assigned to men and other for women. This is wrong.
- Your child is always a child; they cannot be your friend
The best way to raise a child is to make them comfortable around you and confide in you whenever they need advice. Most African parents until recently would not hesitate to crack the whip when their child makes the least mistake. This makes their kids scared and uncomfortable to share their concerns and problems with the parents, leading them to seek advice from their friends, who in most cases are equally ignorant.
This can go further to explain the rising numbers of teenage pregnancies for example; if they had access to the right reproductive health information and advice, they probably would have made better choices.
Can you relate to any of these five traits? Share them and let’s interact in the comments section below.