Wake Up Parents!
Are You Loving Your Children or Pampering Them To death?
let me add the benefit of my time as a student and then resident in the
UK - and I live in Lagos now. The first thing that I discovered about
UK-born, white, English undergraduates was that all of them did holiday
or weekend job to support themselves - including the children of
millionaires amongst them. It is the norm over there - regardless how
wealthy their parents are. And I soon discovered that virtually all
other foreign students did the same - the exception being those of us
I also watched Richard Branson (owner of Virgin Airline)speaking on the
Biography Channel and, to my amazement, he said that his young children
travel in the economy class -even when the parents (he and his wife) are
in upper class. Richard Branson is a billionaire in Pound Sterling. A
quick survey would show you that only children from Nigeria fly business
or upper class to commence their studies in the UK. No other foreign
students do this.
There is no aircraft attached to the office of the prime minister in the
UK - he travels on BA. And the same goes for the Royals. The Queen does
not have an aircraft for her exclusive use. These practices simply
become the culture which the next generation carries forward. Have you
seen the car that Kate Middleton(the lady soon to marry Prince William)
drives? VW Golf or something close to it. But there's one core
difference them and us(generally speaking). They (even the billionaires
among them) work for their money,we steal ours!
If we want our children to bring about the desired change we have
been praying for on behalf of our dear country, then please, please
let’s begin now and teach them to work hard so they can stand alone and
most importantly be content, and not having to "steal", which seem to be
the norm these days.
“30 is the new 18”, which seem to be the new age for testing out the
world in Nigeria now. That seems to be an unspoken but widely accepted
mindset among the last 2 generations of parents in Nigeria. At age 18
years, a typical young adult in the UK leaves the clutches of his/her
parents for the University, chances are, that’s the last time those
parents will ever play “landlord” to their son or daughter except of
course the occasional home visits during the academic year.
At 21 years and above or below, the now fully grown and independent
minded adult graduates from University, searches for employment, gets a
job and shares a flat with other young people on a journey into becoming
fully fledged adults.
I can hear the echo of parents saying, well, that is because the UK
economy is thriving, safe, well structured and jobs are everywhere? I
beg to differ and I ask that you kindly hear me out. I am UK trained
Recruitment Consultant and I have been practicing for the past 10 years
in Nigeria. I have a broad range of experience from recruiting graduates
to executive director level of large corporations. In addition, I talk
from the point of view of someone with relatively privileged upbringing.
Driven to school every day, had my clothes washed for me, was barred
from taking any part-time job during my A-levels so that I could
concentrate on studying for my exams?! BUT, I got the opportunity to
live apart from my parents from age 18 and the only time I came back
home to stay was for 3 months before I got married!
Am I saying that every parent should wash their hands off their children
at age 18? No, not at all, of course, I enjoyed the savings that I made
from living on and off at my parent’s house in London – indeed that is
the primary reason for my being able to buy myself a 3 bedroom flat in
London at age 25 with absolutely no direct financial help from my
For me, pocket money stopped at age 22, not that it was ever enough for
my lifestyle to compete with Paris Hilton’s or Victoria Beckham’s.
Meanwhile today, we have Nigerian children who have never worked for 5
minutes in their lives insisting on flying “only” first or business
class, carrying the latest Louis Vuitton ensemble, Victoria ’s Secret
underwear and wearing Jimmy Choo’s, fully paid for by their “loving”
I often get calls from anxious parents, my son graduated 2 years ago and
is still looking for a job, can you please assist! Oh really! So where
exactly is this “child” is my usual question. Why are you the one making
this call dad/mum? I am yet to get a satisfactory answer, but between
you and me, chances are that big boy is cruising around Lagos with a
babe dressed to the nines, in his dad’s spanking new SUV with enough
“pocket money” to put your salary to shame. It is not at all strange to
have a 28 year old who has NEVER worked for a day in his or her life in
Nigeria but “earns” a six figure “salary” from parents for doing
absolutely nothing. I see them in my office once in a while, 26 years
old with absolutely no skills to sell, apart from a shiny CV, written by
his dad’s secretary in the office. Of course, he has a driver at his
beck and call and he is driven to the job interview. We have a fairly
decent conversation and we get to the inevitable question - so, what
salary are you looking to earn? Answer comes straight out - N250,000.00.
I ask if that is per month or per annum. Of course it is per month. Oh,
why do you think you should be earning that much on your first job?
Well, because my current pocket money is N200,000.00 and I feel that an
employer should be able to pay me more than my parents. I try very hard
to compose myself, over parenting is in my opinion the greatest evil
handicapping the Nigerian youth. It is at the root of our national
We have a youth population of tens of millions of who are being
“breastfed and diapered” well into their 30s. Even though the examples I
have given above are from parents of considerable affluence, similar
patterns can be observed from Abeokuta to Adamawa! Wake up mum! Wake up
dad! You are practically loving your children to death! No wonder
corruption continues to thrive. We have a society of young people who
have been brought up to expect something for nothing, as if it were a
I want to encourage you to send your young men and women (anyone over 20
can hardly be called a child!) out into the world, maybe even consider
reducing or stopping the pocket money to encourage them to think,
explore and strive. Let them know that it is possible for them to
succeed without your “help”.
Take a moment to think back to your own time as a young man/woman,
what if someone had kept spoon feeding you, would you be where you are
today? No tree grows well under another tree, children that are not
exposed to challenges, don't cook well. That is why you see adults
complaining, "my parents didn't buy clothes for me this christmas", ask
him/her how old-30+. Because of the challenges we faced in our youth, we
are where and what we today, this syndrome- my children will not suffer
what I suffered is destroying our tomorrow. Deliberately reduce
their allowance or mum-don't cook on Saturday till late afternoon or
evening-do as occasion deserve.
I learnt the children of a former Nigerian head of state with all the
stolen (billions) monies in their custody, still go about with security
escort as wrecks. They are on drugs, several times because of the drug,
they collapse in public places. The escort will quickly pack them and
off they go, what a life. No one wants to marry them. Anyone who stops
learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning
stays young. The greatest thing in life is to keep your mind young.-
Henry Ford. Hard work does not kill, everything in Nigeria is going
down, including family settings. It is time to cook our children,
preparing them for tomorrow. We are approaching the season in Nigeria
where only the RUGGED, will survive. How will your ward fare?
If the present generation of Nigerian pilots retire, will you fly a
plane flown by a young Nigerian pilot, If trained in Nigeria? People now
have first class, who cannot spell GRADUATE or read an article without
bomb blast! Which Way Nigeria!, Which Way Nigerians!! Is this how we
will ALL sit and watch this country SINK?
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Oliver Ogbonna writes from Nigeria - Submitted by