If you had to explain Nigerian parenting styles, chances are the descriptions around civilian dictators, passive-aggression champions and flogging samurais would probably make the cut.

Now I can’t think of  any one scenario where these features would be ideal, least of all when young and highly impressionable children are thrown into the mix, but somehow, these have been part and parcel of the Nigerian parenting handbook for years and years

Perhaps because Nigerian children have always turned out okay, or okay to the extent where we aren’t publicly losing our shit in public on a daily; but it just might appear that these styles work… or do they?

To know where hearts stand in the matter of Nigerian parenting styles, we asked five people if they would continue where their parents left off in raising children of their own.

“I have to say the strongest, most non-negotiable no” – Femi

I don’t want to outrightly say God forbid because there is a chance my parents get wind of this and call a family meeting on my head, but I have to say the strongest, most non-negotiable ‘no’ there is to that question.

Growing up, the minute my father came in through the door, in fact, the second we heard the double-beep honk that marked his arrival home, my siblings and I would use all of .2 seconds to turn off the television, clean up every sign that we were in the living room and make our way to our rooms. The fear was so real, I don’t recall ever sitting down with him to chat, beyond asking for school fees here and some additional money for expenses there. Mind you, these requests only happened when my mother absolutely refused to be the conduit between children and father. Of course, as I’ve gotten older, attempts have been made to forcibly create a relationship, but it’s too little, too late. I’m overly polite at best and completely uninterested in the conversation most times.

When I have children, best believe my primary goal is being their best friend, someone they can confide in and laugh with. Not someone who takes pride in children being unable to look him in the eye for the smallest requests.

“I would ask my parents to write a book” – Dorothy

I grew up in the most unconventional Nigerian home there ever was. This may have had a part to play with my mother being half-Sierra Leonian but it was the most loving, nurturing home there ever was. Rather than leaving the raising of their children to schools and parental hands alone, our home was always filled with trusted family and friends. We were always encouraged to ask questions, speak up against anything we considered wrong and were granted social and freedom at relatively young ages. If possible, I would ask my parents to write a book on how they managed to be so liberal as patients while somehow raising the most well rounded children, if I do say so myself.

“There are actually a number of places my parents got it wrong.” -Nsikan

The only thing I would take away from the way my parents raised me was how strict they were with religion. You would think they were on the left and right hands of Jesus while he was on the cross. No songs, clothings, television programs or events not sanctioned holy in their heads were allowed while I was growing up. And if you were the one responsible for somehow bringing the devil into the home, oh boy, you might actually prefer death. Honestly, I don’t like remembering those days too much.

There are actually a number of places my parents got it wrong, but this religion thing, definitely the first place I’d note.

“My mom has the whole thing down to a science” – Husseinah

I grew up with my mom, who can I add is an absolute rockstar. She single handedly raised strong headed twin girls, with only the barest of outside help. She taught us to cook, change tyres, haul a jerry can of petrol, man, if anyone needs some training on self-sufficiency, look no further than my mother. If  there was something I could change about her parenting style, I can’t think of it. She has the whole thing down to a science, I’ll forever be indebted to her. – Victor

“I won’t be making their mistakes” – Victor

I didn’t grow up with my parents. I was one of those children that attended primary and secondary boarding schools. They’ve been relative strangers my whole life. Though this had more to do with them living in a different state from where my schools were. It has made it virtually impossible to have any relationship short of perfunctory checking in and birthday wishes.

I have a child now, perfectly precious and just learning to walk. I’m considering homeschooling him, I want to spend every waking moment with him. My obsession with my child makes things a little hard from their perspective, but I guess things happen like that sometimes. I won’t be making their mistakes however.



Zikoko amplifies African youth culture by curating and creating smart and joyful content for young Africans and the world.