Growing up in my time, this title would not even exist because who are you not to be spanked? “Spanked” is our middle name. In fact “Flogged” is the main name. We eat, live, breathe ‘Flog’. In fact, if you weren’t being flogged, you are a strange child. If you coincidentally wrote with your left hand, that makes you even super strange. Some people had the luxury of being asked to bring out their hands to receive strokes. My Dad’s style was ‘flog anyhow’. Then, I used to admire my friends whose dads asked them to open their hands for strokes. I felt that was couth and organized. You see how pathetic our thoughts were? We had to think “your flogging is better than mine. I like yours”, as if we were shopping for artwork. Lol. Anyway, thank God we all turned out great. Didn’t we?!
Africa/Nigeria was built on this notion from the Bible that says “Spare the rod, you spoil the child”. We religiously go by it. I know of a man who had trained his kids to University level just from selling Canes. Oh yes, he was the best-selling advocate then. Each house had a cane. I got so upset when my Dad would request for a new cane because the old one was ‘weak’. Chai! I also remember one time, I visited a friend and there was a revolution in their house. The father said ” I will keep flogging you because the Bible says spare the rod, spoil the child” and my friend interrupted loudly and rudely, ” The same Bible that says, Do not provoke your Children”. I looked at her dazed by her guts and left that house as fast as I could because I didn’t want to witness what would happen next.
Now, whether you choose to accept it or not, things have changed from the Millenial age to this Zillenial age. Spanking/Flogging has been seen as a ‘Physical abuse’ for most people that I call the anti-spankers. It’s been said that spanking a child doesn’t correct the child. It’s also been said that, the act of spanking a child is done out of frustration of the adult, not out of the need to correct. According to anti-spankers, In circumstances when the child is not obeying instructions, critical reasoning is applicable but is it me, or do I think ‘reasoning’ doesn’t work for the average Nigerian child? Yes, I try to avoid spanking my toddlers. They are toddlers now and I hope I don’t spank them regularly as they grow but I mean, a little “tass tass” on their bumbum wouldn’t hurt when they are having that ‘the-world-is-my-oyster’ moment. You can relate, right? That moment, when you are talking and talking and talking and it’s like they just pledged in their hearts to be deaf to your words, littering, loitering and ruining anything they touch.
I always say, parenting never comes with a manual. You have to figure it out as you go. I am all for a Spank-free life if there’s a possibility that kids would behave without the ‘ladle’. Something happened recently, that’s made me churn up this blog post. I am all lovey-dovey with my kids but I could growl like Mufasa when trying to put up my stern-voice. At first, the stern- voice thing was working but my daughter stepped up her game. So I joined the bad gang. I would give her a spank on her butt. I feel it’s a light one but she gives me this dramatic look like ” Mommmmm, you hit meeeee”. Oh yes, I did! Now, what I noticed was that, ever since I started spanking her, she’s tended to retaliate that same act to her younger brother. Her brother does something naughty or not-so-naughty and she follows my ‘threatening antics’. She starts with “Where is that my cane?”, then she paces about aimlessly looking for this ‘cane’, just the way I do. Then goes straight to him and gives him several spanks on the butt. Just the way I’d do it. She’s so determined to get it just like Mommy and you’d see in her eyes she’s not going to let go until she finishes the task, even when I yell for her to stop. This scared the hell out of me. Was I doing something wrong? Why would she beat her brother like that? And all I could relate it to, was to when I started spanking her. Guys, At first, it’s cute seeing your child do a stern voice like you, trying to mimic you but when they want to spank their sibling like you, it’s disturbing. Out of frustration, I’d want to spank her for spanking her Bro but I quickly hold back and try to be stern and ‘reason’.
So Parents who have dealt with kids this age, what is your form of discipline? ‘Time outs’, I thought was a myth done by the Oyibos. Does ‘Time out’ work for the Nigerian child? I know alot of people are fast to judge and say, “spank the kid jooo, will they die?” But seriously, I feel if there’s a better way to do these things, shouldn’t we explore it? There is a notion that we (spanked kids) turned out great ‘cos of the rod, while ‘Americans’ (this represents any foreigner outside Africa) are disrespectful because they weren’t spanked. Is this analysis truly correct? I know I have respect for my dad but I know I feared him as well. I related more with my Mom ‘cos she hardly spanked me. So are we missing it, as Africans/Nigerians? What’s your form of discipline? Let’s rub minds at the comment section. To spank or not to spank?
Ps: Spanking/Flogging here are in the context of disciplining a child without causing physical or mental distress. Not a graphic, gruesome act done by some.
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