Do Nigerian Parents Show Affection and Love for their Children?

Happy New Month! Welcome to the beginning of the rest of the year :-)

Now for today's topic.

Every Nigerian child knows what a cane is.  I am sure some children probably jumped out of the womb screaming their first words.  I believe those words came from the same pool (pick yours): koboko, cane, NEPA, kpoto-kpoto, etc.  Some of the more tush babies said "Mama" or "Papa" as their first words.  I am pretty sure my first words were "Relentless."  I can't prove it.  Neither can you.

Anyway, since every child knows what cane is, it means that parents (and relatives and any other wicked adult) introduced this instrument of torture early on in the child's life.  No one needs to tell you that Nigerian parents believe in discipline, and their instrument of choice varies from koboko to anything else that is within reach e.g. slippers.  But the pertinent question is this: do Nigerian parents show affection?

Let me put this another way.

One thing I have noticed about American parents is that they show a LOT of affection for their children, and for each other generally.  They kiss, hug, and otherwise physically show their love for their children.

For the average Nigerian child, I would say that your parent hugging you is quite unusual.  I think it is a generational thing, as in people in my parents' and grandparents' generation were raised in very strict households and respecting your elders somehow involved physical distance from them as well.

I have no doubt that Nigerian parents love their children.  So, my question is how exactly do Nigerian parents show their love and affection for their children?  Kindly share.

*Image Source making sure there's food on the table and clothes on their children's back. End of.
But no, seriously, it's rare to see affectionate Nigerian parents, but I'm sure they exist. My mum's a hugger, thankfully, so can't say I've been too emotionally deprived in that way lol

Vegan Nigerian

Your first word was 'Relentless'?! LMAO!


Nigerian parents show affection, the only way they know how......feed, clothe and scold .lol....often times, mummy may be the kind one..that showers affection via hugs and kisses while daddy is the disciplinarian and shows his love through the koboko


Well, thanks to a culture that portrays respect as maintaining physical distance as you rightly said. Nigerian parents do show love through discipline most times so that the child doesn't turn out like 'the other neighbour's child' who is engaged in numerous vices.

It's just that despite the good intentions, the approach is sometimes wrong.

You can also see this trend in the corporate world where the boss (a.k.a 'oga') is one distant guy who dishes out instructions from that top position unlike some other standard environments where you call your boss by the first name and discuss the weekend's football game at the dispenser.

From those two, you can tell which one of the bosses you would likely feel more at home with.

Michael Onobote

Vegan Nigerian: Lol! true though. Affectionate Nigerian parents exist o, e.g. your mum :-)
I suspect that when the people in my generation become parents, they'll be more affectionate than the preceding generation.

Mjady: Of course it was. You can't prove otherwise ... hehe!

Sykikblog: Feed, clothe, scold. That about covers it, in that order too. That division of labor as per parenting which you described is common not just among Nigerians, but in other cultures too. Love through koboko? Lol! I am sure kids will disagree, but when they grow older, they'll understand.

Michael: You know there are kids that still turn out like the neighbors' kids in spite of all the flogging. That's the argument people raise when they speak against corporal punishment. Some children develop a strong resistance to cane ... Lol!

There are ways to discipline a child apart from flogging, but in our culture, it is widely believed to be the most effective.

Thanks for raising the power distance issue too. I plan to address that separately, but like you pointed out, it is the same reason behind the lack of affection, i,e. culture. I personally prefer the boss I can call by his/her first name, but I can see how odd that would be in Nigeria, where titles are taken VERY seriously. Even gateman sef go dey insist on title.

I remember having this conversation with some American friends and they thought it was weird that I had never kissed my mom. but to me its so awkward. I remember once I tried it, and she looked at me like " weytin shele." Nigerians just aren't the emotional type but they do show it in their own way, which is leading us towards the right direction.

Nollywood Rave: Knowing how affectionate Americans are, compared to Nigerians, I can see how they would think this was strange. Some people have never even hugged their parents because of that power distance and the belief that parents are to be revered. Simple.

Lol at your mum's reaction. My mum would have asked me what the special occasion was or in the alternative, what special favor was I about to ask from her. Hehe! I think it just depends. All these displays of affection are perfectly normal in some Nigerian families.


I would love to hear your thoughts. Please Share.

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