I watched the six-minutes plus video of this young man, Chidera.
The first thing that came to mind was, something must have triggered this behaviour. This was no ordinary tantrum. He looked like a young man who has had it. I also felt sorry for the mother because the mother is always the one who gets the blame when a child turns out bad. It’s always the mother’s fault, never the father’s.
I grew up with a real softie African mother.
Yes, I am one of the lucky few. In fact, the only time I remember her hitting me was when she came back from work one day; to find the chores undone, dishes unwashed and me playing like a crazy kid downstairs with the doors wide open.
I loved to play. Anyway, she snuck up on me and dragged me upstairs by my ears. I almost fainted at the sight of the untidy house (lol). The nearest thing she could lay her hands on was a broom. She beat me so hard that it took days to pluck out the broom sticks embedded in my skin.
I concluded she could never be my real mother that day.
People in my generation describe the African mothers who raised us as harsh! They chronicle the ‘discipline’ we endured, the so-called ifoti, igbati (back hand slaps), hard knocks on the head; belt welts on the back, punishments that often included kneeling and raising one’s hands for hours; ‘stooling down’ which involved one finger down and one leg suspended in the air, leaving any child sweating and shaking from fear and exhaustion…
While those punishments ‘reset’ our brains to good behaviour; a good number of us would later confess in private that the punishments also traumatised them for years. Which is probably why very few of us mete out the same types of punishments to our children today.
Because we realised those were not the best methods for raising well-adjusted kids!
I know friends who confessed to how their mothers brutalised them all in the name of discipline. One spoke of how her mother thought she had started dating boys and beat her so hard; she left huge welts on her back. Then not done, the mother put raw pepper in her vagina to dissuade her daughter from having sex; or getting pregnant early.
My friend never forgave her mother. Today, she still recounts how the incident gave her nightmares for years.
I know of mothers/fathers who as they beat their children for one offence or another did them bodily harm; like broken arms, deep scars…all in the name of ‘discipline.’
Most people in my generation, who saw the video thought Chidera needed ‘resetting.’
Why do we act like we missed resetting? Like it was good for us? Admittedly, for people like me who were mostly spared, it worked. After my broom encounter, I behaved myself relatively well, though not for long.
Resetting methods, either with brooms, spatula, horse-whip or any dangerous weapon isn’t the way to raise kids in this age. You even have to be careful with the words you use on them!
My father was used to calling us names when he got pissed with us. I once used the same words for my kids. When we got cool together again, they told me how my words affected them, how it hurt them. I never called them names again!
Our kids are growing up in a different era; a different environment from ours and so must be raised differently.
Like I said earlier, while I got off with many things, my elder sister wasn’t so spared. She took the beatings, with belts, cane, name it, all in the name of discipline…Her relationship with the parents today isn’t as smooth as mine is with them.
These things have a way of biting back at the parents; that is one example we saw with Chidera and many others.
While I don’t know the full story behind the Chidera debacle; he talked about enduring abuse from his mother and being pushed to do what he did because his mother provoked him. The mother of Chidera, like many in my generation, was raised with the ‘resetting’ mode. Therefore, she erroneously thought the same could apply to raising her own kids.
She missed the part where we live in a changed world.
Indeed, we live in a world where the voices our children hear are often louder; more consistent and demanding than our voices as parents. It is still true that ‘it takes a village to raise a child. However, the world which is now a global village, is raising our children for us with the internet; with technology, music, videos, animation, from devices they are exposed to…
These are the several voices speaking to our children and they are way louder than us. Their values are different, their methods more sophisticated and parents have to catch up many times.
No longer are we the only authority speaking into the lives of our children.
While you are busy looking for how to feed them; put clothes on their backs and send them to decent schools; some people are whispering things into their heads. These other voices from other clans and climes in far-flung places also have direct access to our kids. Also, their methods range between the subtle and the extreme.
They are telling our kids what to do, when to do it and how to do it. If we are not careful but insist on our ways, the old ways; the good old African mother’s way, we will lose these children to the world.
Winning your children back requires plenty of negotiation, plenty of time with them and above all; if you are a believer, plenty of time on your knees on their behalf.
That is the ‘resetting’ modern parents should pursue.