Nigerian Parents Believe Disappointment Looks good On Toddlers! By Joy Isi Bewaji

It seems Nigerian parents believe disappointment looks good on toddlers. How then do we explain this tradition of telling an 11month old child to “go and wear your slippers, uncle will wait for you at the gate”. The child, having suffered disappointment for months in her young life, is torn between believing this statement and actually going for her pair of slippers.

It always is the same sad ending. That uncle will not be at the gate waiting for little Miss. He has to return to where he came from. Tell the kid so, as opposed to lying.

Then aunty shows up, and is about to leave too; the same task is carried out. The child begins to cry. “Aunty will wait for you at the door, come and wear your slippers.”

You begin to wonder – YOU the onlooker, if the child shouldn’t by now understand the silliness of adults; how annoying we are.
Maybe it is the thing with children to constantly believe.

-Because I am always shocked to see a child run to welcome a verbally/physically abusive parent everyday from work. Are children born with outstanding conviction that they persist in pursuing devotion and commitment?

And there’s the habit of killing the spirit of a child. When you come back from work, and the kids are in “darkness”, probably all day… They are happy to hear you knock on the door. They skip to the generator house, believing that you’d naturally head towards that direction, after all it’s 9pm and the house needs some light. But you bark at them, “ma fren’ will you leave that place! Who is on-ing the gen? Go an’ sleep; I am tired!”

And with that, we sink their hearts into depths of misery.

You don’t have to put on the generator, but you could be thoughtful, display some kindess with your words to a child.

I sincerely don’t care about adults. All of you will figure out your own prejudices and find your own salvation. But with kids… I just think we could always be more genuine, nicer, more considerate.

“Daddy, you said we will go to the beach this holiday.”

“Which beach? Where’s the money! Please don’t disturb my life!” Is verbal abuse and that parent should be ashamed of himself.

“Mummy can we buy Cocopops?”

“Eez as if you are mad! N2,250 for ordinary cornflakes! So if I buy you will chop, abi?! You berra remove your hand from that shelf! Nonsense!”

You don’t have to buy Cocopops, but you can be nicer when turning down a child' s offer. People buying Cocopops don’t have two heads. Instead of rebuking a child for wanting the best cereals on the shelf, you should admonish yourself for not ever having enough to buy these things. Your children should be your biggest motivation to be better.

I am certain I will not have discovered half my potential and abilities if I didn’t have children.

I write screenplays. I write stage plays. I write radio drama. I have a column in a newspaper. I manage a media company that covers every aspect of media. I handle celebrity blogs. I run shifts at night writing scripts up until early in the morning when the sound of “Ole! Ole!!” breaks into my routine, and I hear the sound of a bike speeding off with the bag of a banker, who is left distraught and in the hands of artisans who always happen to be up so early, waiting to console a banker; then I know morning has come and I didn’t grab enough sleep.

There is no other motivation other than to see that my kids are comfortable. Left to me, I’ll be in New York as a live-in-lover, attending workshops and writing scripts for movies. I do too much because I have kids. And I have decided to like being a workaholic because it is what is required to keep my children happy. They don’t need to see me every hour, but they need to eat every day. And they need to eat like Queens. It’s what I want.

In another life, I wouldn’t have kids, so I can faff around, and it’ll be accepted as “creative energy”.
You get?

I know of fathers who are missing in the life of a child and the mothers constantly pressure the estranged dad to call. The father never calls. The child is always disappointed. My advice is always to let the dude go! Focus on the emotional health of your child. Cut off unnecessary disappointments.

I really hate seeing kids treated like shit. They didn’t ask to be born. If you made that decision to have them, then everything changes. You live for them. This convenient parenting where we allow children grow unsupervised is nerveracking.

The worst kind of parenting is involving a child in your mess. Your office problems, relationship issues, and menstrual cramp is none of their business. They are not the reason your life is a clutter. It is not their fault you failed.

You are a failure because YOU failed.

Don’t pass that mess on to them.
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