Nigerians, you must calm down very well – Viola Okolie

Nigerians, you must calm down very well – Viola Okolie




That “calm down” video, and matters arising thereof; has had me in stitches as I made my social media ward rounds. I am sure it has had the same effect on many Nigerians.



Basically, there have been two camps, as always, in terms of reactions among Nigerians to the video. Those who think the mother was being rather high-handed and wicked to the child; both in attempting to punish him and in making the video. On the other hand, those who felt it was an excellent example of good parenting.



The one thing both sides of Nigerians seem to unite in, as this war over a non-issue rages; is that those who have not had the privilege of actually parenting a child should “kip kwa yet’’. Indeed, they should allow those who have, duke it out over how to and how not to raise a child.



So, I’ll start this by conducting a quick poll.



How many of you have ever had the rather dubious honor of being involved in the raising of a child; especially when they are between the ages of 3 – 6 years? That age when they are beginning to talk and attempt to make full sentences; or when they have grasped enough vocabulary to think they can play you at your own game?



It is an interesting yet hilarious period. This is because you are almost always forced to choose between collapsing into laughter at that moment; or maintaining your straight face so that you pass across the message that a line has been crossed and should not be messed with. As far as I am concerned, the “good or bad parenting” debate should revolve around how you comport yourself; specifically, when these children begin their shenanigans, and not necessarily in the heat of the moment.



Nigerians, you must calm down very well – Viola Okolie




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Again, have we talked about almost nearly every child born on earth’s penchant for drama at that age? Should we? Okay, here goes…



When my daughter was about five years old, I needed to dash down to my friend and colleagues house. It was in a neighbouring estate. I was going to print some documents and make photocopies. My daughter was being fed by her nanny. So, I took my leave of them both, promising them I’d be back in “five minutes”. Of course, I needed more than the five minutes to even navigate out of our estate. But who was keeping time?



The answer to that question, was “small madam”.


calm boy


I went to my friend’s house, printed the documents, jisted a little with her husband and herself; even ate small – don’t judge me, folks – and then headed home. All in all, I would estimate that I spent a maximum of one and a half hours. But as I got to the house and hit the door bell, guess who opened the door?



Small madam.



“Where are you coming from?” – I looked around and yes, this question was directed at me.



“From Aunty Carol’s house. I told you I was going there to photocopy.”



“Just to photocopy is what you spent ten hours? You left me all alone for ten hours? You will not enter this house today!”






This girl was not in the house alone o. I had two nannies at the time and my cousin who also lived with us. Alone ke? Well, that was for my back pocket like we say in Naija. I was not entering the house and she barricaded the door. Everyone in the house begged and begged but she refused to hand them the key.



Of course, with her small mind, she totally forgot about the kitchen door. So, my cousin signalled to me above her head. I turned back and sneaked in through the kitchen; then lifted her off the floor and tickled her until we made up.



If I had a video camera then, I would have videoed it because somehow recounting the story for family and friends; and showing them evidence that this actually happened – are two different things.



Sometimes, you have to see to believe, especially for many Nigerians.



I believe that that was what happened with that video. The video didn’t start from the beginning. So, it was obvious that when the mother saw this drama was turning into something no one would believe if she ever recounted it, she turned on her video.



I don’t think that boy was in any harm. We have also seen videos of Western parents showing their children “tough love”. Threatening them with calling the police on them, arranging a prison visit, etc. We, Nigerians, usually applaud, laugh at and share such videos o. I don’t understand why we don’t want to give a Nigerian mum the same amount of kudos.



And again, this is arguable. But if the boy were truly in any fear of his mother; he would not have been so precociously daring even as he was shedding what I am convinced are crocodile tears. For those of you citing trauma at the hands of your parents while growing up, quick question; would any of you have had the guts to speak as much as that boy did when the inevitable turning garri made an appearance into your mother’s unofficial disciplinary committee?



Would you?



I looked at that video and I laughed.



Nigerians, you must calm down very well – Viola Okolie




It was a young man being highly dramatic; trying to talk his way out of some mischief he had committed. I also saw a young man who had been observing his mother closely. In fact, he had noticed her crisis de-escalation tactics.



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“Calm down.”



“You must calm down very very well.”



“Rest first and we can talk about this later.”



I don’t know much about that woman or where she uses those skills – at home with her husband; at work with her colleagues, in the neighbourhood with other adults. But I think she does a really good job of managing crises situations and her child; as little as he is, had observed her in action and seen that her tactics work. So, he tried to use them on her to de-escalate the situation.



So apparently, many Nigerians appear to have a problem with a child in today’s society who would rather talk his way out of trouble?



Not me.



I think they are both doing well, fantabulously well as a matter of fact!



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