Nelly and Feyi met for the first time on the University Campus when moving their things into the hostel. They discovered they were to occupy adjoining rooms and they immediately clicked. The next morning, they were surprised to find out that they were course mates and instinctively, they sat beside each other. This was the beginning of a remarkably close friendship that was running its third year. It was vacation time and Nelly decided to spend some time with Feyi at her parents’ home in a neighbouring town – Ibadan. This would further cement their bond and provide Nelly with the opportunity to attend Bode’s birthday party. Bode, a classmate of theirs, also lived in Ibadan and had invited them to his 21st birthday party.

To Nelly’s shock, a couple of days before the party, Feyi informed Nelly that she should be silent about the party in any discussions with her parents. Nelly was astounded and asked “How do you mean? Surely, we cannot attend the party without informing them and carrying them along!” Feyi replied “You do not know my parents, especially my mother. Trust me, once she gets a whiff of it, we are going nowhere. Her mindset is that parties are for unserious people, and she believes only negative things happen at parties e.g., drinking alcohol, smoking, doing drugs, drugging girls, rape, etc. Any invitation to a party meets with a definite “No” and her word on anything is final. There is no room for discussion. She is very authoritarian and draconian in approach.” Nelly reminded her by saying “Girl, you seem to have forgotten that you always gist me about some of the nice parties you attend during holidays. Have you been fibbing to me”?

 Feyi responded with a laugh saying “Attending parties involves espionage and planning for me. My parents are extremely regimented and stick to their routines. After the family evening prayer at 9 pm, you will have noticed, everyone retires to their rooms, and we reconvene at 6 am for morning prayers. I lock the gate before retiring to my room and by 10 pm most days my parents are fast asleep. Sometimes they check that everyone is fine when they wake up to use the toilet, somewhere between 2 am and 3 am. If I have a party to attend, I deliberately leave the gate unlocked so that I can tiptoe out, shoes in hand, and call for a ride once I am out of sight. I make sure I am back before 2 am and that is fine.”

Nelly shook her head and replied “Feyi that is so wrong and dangerous for several reasons –

  1. It is deceptive.
  2. You expose the entire family by undermining the security arrangement.
  3. If anything, unexpected were to happen to you…hmm, the family will be thrown into confusion by not knowing where to start searching and trying to fathom what could have transpired”.

She continued -“If you don’t mind, I would rather inform them about the party and try to convince them about it”. Feyi then ended the conversation with a shrug of the shoulders and a quiet “You might as well say goodbye to attending, I know my parents”. True to Feyi’s prediction, permission was denied, and the two girls missed attending Bode’s party.

Undoubtedly our parenting styles are as different in approach as parents themselves. It is however important to note that in bringing up balanced children we must modulate parenting to allow the children some input. Two-way communication in any relationship is key in ensuring a balanced view of the subject matter being discussed or contemplated. There are pros and cons to every issue and all parameters should be carefully weighed in coming to a decision. Where a parent insists on having his/her way, the reasons should be logical and explained to the child so that it is understood. The consequences of such action or inaction should be made clear so that the consequences of the offending action or inaction are expected. When parents are overbearing, this could lead to stifling the children and preventing them from rational thinking in making decisions and in some cases, rebellion. On the other hand, permissive or uninvolved parenting can also lead to unbalanced children. Parents must therefore strike a balance in guiding and nurturing the children without being overbearing or draconian, neither should the approach be laissez-faire. May the Lord grant wisdom to all parents in this regard.



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