Funke is a smart 16-year-old. She had always come out tops in her class. And when she sat for the West African Senior Secondary Certificate Exams, she aced that one too. Now Funke is your regular bookworm.
She always has her head in a book, and this makes Mama Funke exceptionally proud. Armed with her ‘As’ in the relevant subjects, Funke wants to study Pharmacy at the university.
But Mama and Papa Funke will agree to no such thing. Only the best is good enough for their Funke, so she will either study Law or Medicine. Over their dead bodies will their only daughter serve people drug prescriptions over a counter.
It doesn’t matter that their decree has made their daughter miserable, it is final. This begs the question: Why are Nigerian parents so controlling?
The above scenario is not strange to the average Nigerian. This is because it is either their personal reality or the reality of a friend or family member. Here are a number of reasons why Nigerian parents are controlling:
Reasons Why Nigerian Parents Are Controlling
1. They Inherited The Control Gene
It is simple. The first and very obvious reason is that their parents and their parents before them were controlling. To the Nigerian parent, control of your children is a sign of premium parenting. A child who cannot be controlled is a disgrace to the family. This heritage of control has been passed down over so many generations that it is the norm now. Nigerian parents don’t know how not to be controlling. The next time they issue a decree, remember this and cut them some slack, will you?
2. They Want To Protect You
Sometimes, the controlling nature of the Nigerian parent is a heavily masked desire to protect their children. Somehow, they think they are responsible for you for the rest of your life. And so, rather than guide your flight, they clip your wings instead. If you’re not flying, at least there is no risk of falling. However, this is a display of ignorance, because the flight is inevitable.
3. Because They Love You
We know you’re currently cringing, but it’s true. Your Nigerian parents see their controlling nature as proof of their love for you. They will provide for you until you’re well into your thirties; they’ll vehemently refuse that you leave the nest until you’re ready to get married; they’ll impose curfews on you, even as a 30-year-old. But it’s all love, and deep down you know this too. What they don’t know is they’re not helping you develop independence, personal responsibility and other survival skills which you absolutely need.
4. Because They Don’t Know How To Apologise
The average Nigerian parent will choke before they apologize to their own child. So before it even comes to that, or so that it never comes to that, they will shout at you and boss you around. But if you’re well-versed in Nigerianese – and you should be – you’ll see it for what it is. The Nigerian father’s apology is a gruff “how are you?” And your mum? Well, she calmly asks if you have eaten.
We’re thankful for the age of the internet. It has brought with it a simpler way of doing everything, including loving and parenting. The onus now rests on you, Nigerian child of a controlling Nigerian parent, to gently teach your parents how to love. We’re rooting for you!