Growing up of African origin, you might have seen your parents as perfect figures who have it all figured out. Whether you thought they were wrong sometimes, you remained silent because your opinion might not have mattered anyway. Can you relate to this? Then we may be on the same page. Everyone knows that growing up in Africa has its trials. Since the beginning of time, African parents have followed the parenting trends of their forefathers.
We cannot avoid the fact that our parents have seen so much racism, poverty, hunger, and trauma, but all these make them who they are; strong and unapologetic. The fact is, not all African parents turn their struggles positively. Some have transferred their trauma to their children, but every African parent knows how to get away with parenting.
Their romantic and Sexual history.
Sex is a taboo in most African homes, especially when it involves adults. It is very disrespectful to sexualize an adult female or male. To keep this respect, most parents will not tell you about their past exes or who they dated. They might never mention if they ever had an abortion or indulged in premarital sex. Their dating advice is; avoid walking around with boys because they bite (and never have sex!). You’ll never know what their romantic life was like when they were younger.
Their traumatic past.
Even if an African parent may have experienced abuse in their life, you should be lucky if they told you about it. Some parents have gone through sexual or physical abuse as children, others even neglect, but you would be surprised that they still engage happily with their abusers if they were their parents. Africa is still struggling with reporting cases of violence. If we find it hard speaking up in the modern age, think about how it would be hard for our parents to talk about it now.
They are scared.
The opinion of most people might be that all parents must have it all figured out. The thing about growing up African is that you must be tough and show no sign of weakness, from crying for men and showing fear, especially to the younger ones. Honestly, sometimes African parents will appear firm and principled because they are scared. Their reason for being scared could be that they do not want you to turn out like them. If you have grown up with a single parent, you might also know how overprotective they can get. In a world where Africans face a lot of challenges like racism, trafficking, drug abuse, and more your parents want to make sure you are safe.
They do not have it figured out.
Pride could be a familiar character in most African parents. Correcting an African parent is like proposing a death wish. Even though it might seem like they know it all and they can do it on their own, unfortunately, they do not. They make promises they will not keep, commitments they might not sustain. Mistakes are inevitable, but they might want you to think that everything is under control and they do not need your help (from a younger person).
They love you more than you know.
Affection is one thing that is missing in an African family. Sometimes we never really know if our parents love us as much, compared to other cultures where affection is evident in kisses, hugs, and handshakes. In an African family, you might rarely hear your parents tell you they love you or how proud they are of you ’. All you hear is, don’t do that or do that. It might become depressing when you constantly think your parents hate you, and worse, that you are adopted. African parents have affection; they love you deeply, even more than you might know. Think about the times you were away from home; they could not stop nagging you to come back, or the day you were injured; they stood by you day and night (even after shouting and warning you to be careful next time). They might not frequently alter their sweet words or give a kiss, but we can teach them by showing them that affectionate language first.