Most young families from Africa and more especially from Nigeria are experiencing anxiety about the future well-being of their kids which has resulted in an unprecedented rush to relocate their families abroad. While this “unfortunate “ development cannot be helped, it is important for the couple to consider likely challenges as it relates to raising these kids to assist them in making well-informed decisions. In other words, LOOK BEFORE YOU LEAP.

Fatu a recently migrated mother of three, shares her memoirs with us on this all-important topic. Please read.

“Dubi and I suddenly realized that our combined income as graduate employees barely “took us home” and we needed to consider the lives of the three young children we had and evaluate the chances of giving them a good education and opportunities for a brighter future. We then decided that the key to our future lay in our relocating abroad. We channeled all our efforts and resources towards achieving the goal and within six months we were headed to the United States of America with our three children in tow – Benibo (aged 4), Soba (aged 8) and Tare (aged 11). Much as we did not expect the transition to be easy, we were blindsided by some of the challenges involved, particularly those of raising children in a novel environment.

The most daunting challenges, in no particular order, were :

  1. The difficulty in covering our expenses from our combined paychecks. To enable us improved wages, there was a need to go back to school and earn local diplomas/certificates. Covering basic costs like accommodation, feeding, heating in the winter, etc. were not considered within the context.
  2. The absence of a support system for the care of children. Home assistance and child care support were very expensive and beyond our reach. Unfortunately, there was no family structure to fall back on unlike the situation back home where our parents, siblings and extended family members acted as fallback options.
  3. Security and Safety of the children if left alone at home. In addition to this, the law makes it illegal to leave a child alone unsupervised at home as this could even result in incarceration.
  4. Discrimination at school and public places.
  5. Cultural differences relating to discipline, courtesy, food, mode of dressing, and perception among others.
  6. Impact of the residential district on the quality of education for public schools. Private schools are expensive therefore reliance is placed on public schools. However, in most cities, residential zoning is done and most residents’ children are restricted to their school zone.

It was indeed a struggle navigating the challenges and overcoming them but God came through for us. I decided to spend more time at home to inculcate the right values in the children and allow Dubi to do more of work and school. It was indeed tough times as every cent was needed but we needed to strike a balance between inculcating the right values in the children and pursuing the funds. It was a rude awakening for me after returning home, tired from work one night and having Benibo (our youngest) extend his hand to me and say “Hi Fatu”. I wondered…what happened to welcome back mum? I knew immediately that if I didn’t want to lose these children to a strange culture, we needed to deny ourselves some luxuries while I train them.

Shortly after, I observed that Tare’s grades were slipping southward and he appeared disinterested in school. When I raised it with him, his response was “Hey mom, I don’t have to go to school to make a living. Why must I go to school”? After lots of digging, I found out that 2 things were responsible for this new stand:

a) He was constantly discriminated against and teased in school and

b) the dropout rate from his school was high. I was then advised to change the school district to a better one by changing residence. This we did, and this improved his outlook while I worked on his self-esteem.

I installed security cameras within and around the house to assist me to monitor what the children were up to from my phone at any time.

I also discovered that contrary to the common belief that spanking (corporal punishment) is banned, it is still allowed in some states for the purpose of correction provided it is not excessive or does not inflict serious injury. This gave me some comfort as I was able to discipline them by interspersing spanking with the reward and withdrawal approach. I reward good behavior and performance while I withdraw privileges for bad behavior and underperformance”.

It, therefore, behooves couples intending to migrate to consider extensively and research the laws, circumstances and environment that could impact raising kids in their host country of choice prior to moving.  




  1. This situation is challenging but I am glad that thus couple were strong enough to take decisive positive steps in handling the situation.
    There is indeed a difference in lifestyle & values but with courage to stand success can be achieved


    • This is why it is important to talk about your core values while dating/married. That is not to say people’s values do not change over time, because they can be fluid. The couple can prioritize what maters to them most as a family, and find a healthy balance. Raising children is tough. God bless them and help us get it right.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s