5 Young Nigerian Parents Talk Disciplining Their Kids

July 24, 2020

Over the past couple of years, there have been a lot more open and honest conversations about the level of abuse a lot of Nigerians faced at the hands of their parents, all in the name of discipline.

So, we decided to talk to a few young Nigerian parents who are trying their best to break the cycle of abuse. Here are 5 of the most thoughtful responses we got about how they are disciplining their kids.

Sola, 34/Female/A parent for 4 years

My parents had different disciplinary methods. My mum used to beat and verbally abuse us. She also used to slut-shame me — she called me an ashawo when I was only 10. My dad, on the other hand, mostly used his words. He only beat us on rare occasions.

With how my mum’s methods affected me, I am really not a fan of spanking. That doesn’t mean I’ve never done it though. When my child was younger, I spanked him a few times. He never used to hear word before.

Thankfully, as he’s gotten older, he’s learnt to understand the ‘Nigerian mother glare’, so I’ve stopped spanking him (for the most part). Honestly, it’s easier said than, especially if that’s how you were raised.

From personal experience, I know how beating and verbal abuse can break a child, so I’m trying to be better. I talk to him when he misbehaves and it mostly works. When it doesn’t, I send him to the naughty corner or threaten to take away something he loves.

As he is growing older, he is learning to apologise once he realises he’s done something wrong. I really hope it continues like that. If either of us is upset about something, we talk about it and make amends. That’s where we are right now. 

David, 30/Male/A parent for 9 months

I grew up with the typical Nigerian parenting technique, and that’s something I would never do to my kid. I find it really repulsive that parents can casually assault their children and people think it’s normal. I feel even worse when I see young people defending it. 

I know from experience that it does not work. I was a very stubborn kid, so I got beaten a lot. All it did was make me resent my father. I remember beating my younger sisters because I thought it was normal, and I still regret it to this day.

In my opinion, beating is the lazy parent’s way out. It’s just a thoughtless, short-term solution. Looking at my 9-month-old, I know how frustrating kids can be, but that’s why you have to be ready before taking the plunge. 

Sure, I live outside the country and it’s illegal to beat your kids here, but I still wouldn’t have done it even if I was in Nigeria. You’re beating a child that cannot fight back. That’s just pure wickedness. You have to use your words.

Sarah, 28/Female/A parent for 2 and a half years

My parents beat me a bit when I was growing up. I am the first child, so I think they were still figuring out their parenting style. To be fair, they only beat us when we did something really bad, even though an “I am disappointed in you” would have had the same effect.

For my kid, there’s still a lot of room for ‘misbehaviour’ at this age. I think of it in terms of behaviours that I want to encourage and the ones I would like to discourage or reduce. For example, I am okay with him yelling and running around, but in moderation.

When the sound goes above a certain level, I calmly draw his attention to it. If he does something bad, I point at it, tell him what he did that was inappropriate, then I move on. If it’s really bad or insensitive, I give him a time out. 

The time outs come in stages. There’s time out with the door open, which he doesn’t mind so much. It just lets him know that I want him to chill out for a bit. Time out with the door shut means mummy is angry.

Honestly, it’s not very easy to uphold. It’s really difficult actually. The terrible twos are a nightmare and I hear that it gets even worse. I just try to keep a cool head and remind myself that he’s 2.5 and I’m 28.

Segun, 31/Male/A parent for 4 years

With my parents, it was a combination of verbal abuse and punishment. My mum spanked us a few times, but it was rare. My dad never touched us. He just gave us the silent treatment whenever we really misbehaved.

I’ve been a parent for 4 years now, and I sometimes find myself yelling out of frustration because my child isn’t listening. There’s some light spanking too, but these days, I try to make that the very last resort.

Now, I’m learning to have A LOT of conversations with my child about their behaviour. The challenge is that a lot of us learnt how to parent from our parents and while mine did their best, some of what they did just wasn’t right.

If I’m being honest, it’s not easy to refrain from yelling and even spanking out of anger and frustration. Parents are people too. Still, I’m doing my very best to not be the type of parent that people on Twitter are always cursing.

Ameh, 28/Female/A parent for 3 years

My parents used both verbal and physical methods of discipline. I think based on their personalities, one of them was the “good” cop, always using words and advice, and the other was the “bad” cop, beating us whenever we went out of line. 

I’m currently choosing to discipline with a lot of communication. I’m using consequences, not “punishment”. These consequences are usually related to the action. For example, if my child is being careless with a toy, I could issue one or two warnings and then take the toy away.

The hardest part is how much concentration it requires. First of all, I’m choosing not to shout impulsively because our kids mirror our behaviours. We’ve never spanked her, but I used to say “I will spank you” as a threat. I stopped when she started mimicking it with us and her friends. 

Also, there are not that many people around me using this parenting style, so there’s some judgement. They act as if we are betraying the upbringing we had, or as if choosing this style is us saying we are better than other parents. 


Join The Conversation

Bring a friend.

You'll like this

September 14, 2020

Working in Nigeria can be hectic. Sometimes, hectic doesn’t just even describe it: try abusive. We asked some Nigerians to tell us their horrible job experiences and with some of the answers we got, we don’t know whether to cry or to just give them a hug. 1. Kafaya, 26 I worked for an advertising […]


Now on Zikoko

September 25, 2021

oraimo FreePods 3 Feature LeakFor a while now, oraimo has been cooking something awesome for her consumers, and it’s finally here. I guess it’s safe to say oraimo is like a fine wine that keeps getting better with time. When it comes to delivering a product that is not only affordable but also comes with […]

September 25, 2021

The subject of today’s Sex Life is a 29-year-old bisexual woman who talks about deciding to have sex after a car accident, getting over sex guilt and how she started grading her male sexual partners.

Recommended Quizzes

November 11, 2019

Today, we are going to be using your taste in music to determine how good you actually are in bed. All you need to do is create the ultimate Nigerian hit — from the lead artist to the producer — and we’ll tell you if all your partners leave satisfied, or if you are just […]

November 12, 2019

Are you a single pringle, stuck in a complicated situationship or happily married to the love of your life? This quiz is here to guess your current relationship status, and as you know, Zikoko quizzes are incredibly accurate (don’t quote us). So, give a shot:

October 30, 2019

Kemi Adetiba’s King of Boys movie got a lot of things right, especially casting, so yes, it was a monster hit. Now, we know you may not have put much thought to this, but the personalities of some of the characters closely match yours, and we would like to help you find the perfect match. […]

October 29, 2019

We are going to be attempting to guess when you’ll marry based on your favourite Nigerian foods. What does your fave swallow have to do with when you’ll tie the knot? Please, don’t ask complicated questions. This quiz is rigorous and accurate (don’t quote us), so just take it already. QUIZ: Why Do You Have […]

More from Inside Life


Trending Videos

Zikoko Originals

December 14, 2020
What happens when a group of chatty young Nigerians talk about things they're passionate about? You get Nigerians talk. A show that discusses very familiar struggles for the average Nigerian. From relationship deal breakers to sex education with Nigerian parents to leaving Nigeria, be prepared for a ride.
November 2, 2020
'The Couch' is a Zikoko series featuring real life stories from anonymous people.
October 26, 2020
A collection of videos documenting some of the events of the EndSARS protests.
June 22, 2020
'The Couch' is a Zikoko series featuring real life stories from anonymous people.
June 22, 2020
Hacked is an interesting new series by Zikoko made up of fictional but hilarious chat conversations.
June 4, 2020
What happens when a group of chatty young Nigerians talk about things they're passionate about? You get Nigerians talk. A show that discusses very familiar struggles for the average Nigerian. From relationship deal breakers to sex education with Nigerian parents to leaving Nigeria, be prepared for a ride.
June 2, 2020
Quickie is a video series where everyone featured gets only one minute to rant, review or do absolutely anything.
May 14, 2020
Isolation Diary is a Zikoko series that showcases what isolation is like for one young Nigerian working from home due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
March 12, 2020
Life is already hard. Deciding where to eat and get the best lifestyle experiences, isn't something you should stress about. Let VRSUS do that for you.

Z! Stacks

Here's a rabbit hole of stories to lose yourself in:

Zikoko amplifies African youth culture by curating and creating smart and joyful content for young Africans and the world.