Many times, we wish our parents knew one thing or the other that would have helped them in dealing with us differently and of course make us better— we feel that if they knew better, we would either not be where we are today or who we are today. We probably would have learnt a lot from their way of parenting rather than despise it and make a media topic.

In as much as our parents tried their best to give us all that they can and built us to become independent adults who understand that parenting is not so easy, but we know that they could have done it better. This is not to spite them but rather to make us see how that we can be better, following their good paths and adding a bit of sleek to it.

I have outlined below what I think our parents should have known about parenting and could have made us better children.

1. Every child is unique: I grew up hearing my parents say a number of times “The daughter of Mr. Lagbaja cooks in her home for the family and can even pound yam” or “Your sister helps in the shop better than you do” or “You are too lazy. You can’t even lift it up”. Sadly, it took my parents a while to realize that I wasn’t best at physical chores and hard physical works— as a matter of discovery, I functioned best at mental jobs and things that involved planning or strategizing how Mum should run her business or how we should manage money in the house.

And so for years, I heard those comparisons, tried to be better than the people they mentioned but I failed. Until I discovered I had unique features children my age didn’t have, it stopped worrying me. This is one thing our parents need to know. Every child you have had their own uniqueness and you cannot force them to be someone else or something they are not.

2. Parents are not always right: On a fateful evening, my dad came back from work and my youngest sister ran with so much energy and happiness to my dad with Indomie wrappers to show my dad how she was going to put in for a contest with the wrappers (at the time, Indomie did a promo for people who had so many noodles wrappers— they could win different prizes) and immediately, my dad didn’t even listen, he hurled at her “Hey! Stop carrying nylons around. Don’t litter the house, go and throw them away” and almost immediately my sister ran back to the room. I corrected him and said “No, dad. You shouldn’t shout at her like that. You could have called her and calmly explain things to her and heard why she’s keeping that much wrappers”. He did so and it worked and they came to an agreement that she wouldn’t litter the room and she’d win too.

Many times, our parents are quick to take up decisions for us when we wanted otherwise. What do we think about it? What are our plans? Why do we do what we do? Can they ask us and not just conclude on what MUST be done because they are our parents?

And we can do better. Ask your children for their opinion even if you want to take them out. Don’t just wrap them in the car— ask them “I’m going to the market, would you like to go with me?” or “Would you please assist me to get some veggies in the market?”. Truth is, parents have to also respect their children so that their children grow up respecting others.

Most of the men and women who are aggressive with their opinions is because they grew up in families where the parents made sure everyone went according to their will— whether they like it or not.

3. No child is perfect: So, while a lot of parents pressure their children to become really well behaved and very mature, they fail to forget that childhood is for kids to act as children that they are and not start building so much sense of maturity and behavior that makes them act older than their age. They are meant to be children and more shouldn’t be expected from them.
So, while a child turns the flower vase upside down, you don’t yell “Can’t you just be organized for once! That’s meant to be on the table!” Because they are children and cannot be perfect or think the way you think.

Imagine a child so well behaved, neat, heads and shoulders up, good grades, good communication skills, great carriage. BORING.

This child should work in a Bank already. Ever seen a perfect adult? So why try to make your children perfect? Just asking.

4. Appreciate behaviors as well as achievements: The reason why a lot of youths today are bent on chasing achievements and not good characters is because while they grew up, there has been so much appreciation on their good grades, position in class, prizes at school, winnings, etc but no one gets encouraged or rewarded to keep being honest, integrity inclined, respectful, etc and so these attributes have been washed down to nothing that people see achievements more rewarding than having a good character.

While my mum always encouraged and rewarded me for always standing up for myself and other people, for being outspoken and not taking nonsense at an early age, my dad saw it rewarding only when I got good grades and when my position in class started to increase in number (LOL), he punished me every term. Now, this could bring up two damage. First, I could start focusing on my grade so much that cheating in the exam would feel like nothing to me— so long I wasn’t going to get beaten at the end of the term and I would come out with good grades. Second, I could start to feel my whole life depended on being excellent at my academics or nothing else. These two have thrived in children and teenagers more often than not. So parents, while you appreciate achievements, don’t leave good behaviors behind.

5. While our basic needs are important, showing affection to us is equally important: 
Our parents feel that running around to make ends meet is all that matters to life and what’s very important the most to us. Not despising that they are very important, we also have to recognize that showing affection and love in the real sense of it to your children is very important.

The last time I asked my dad why we weren’t going out on Sundays anymore as a family, his response was that now he had so much responsibilities for food, fees, bills, etc and this particularly has done more harm than good to us.

We found staying at home not too special anymore since everyone was going about their business for “basic needs”. We found it comfortable with other families because we found what we wanted there and because our dad was up for basic needs and not our emotional needs. We spent “family time” at separate places— meaning there was nothing like that anymore. It took 20 years of my life before my dad said anything to me about marriage and the opposite sex.

No, this is not supposed to be only my Mum’s job. I’m supposed to hear from the man in my life too, to know how men think and stuff— I didn’t get it. Dear parents, we understand what you go through when you want to satisfy basic needs but we also want to talk to you and not knock at your office door to have a minute with you to talk to you.
Give us that time. It’s only a child who is mentally and emotionally stable and okay that can make use of the basic needs you have provided (or providing).

These are my submissions. You would definitely comfortably resonate with a lot of my points and you may have to add yours. Childhood is a path a lot of people dread that they have to go through for one reason or the other.

I apologize if this triggers so much for you. But I’d be glad if you make it work in your time.

Let me know your thoughts.