Friday, 8 April 2011

How to beat your children...

Picture taken from
I think this follows on nicely from the previous post. The other day I was leaving church and amidst all the shouts of ‘buy your ‘daily manna’!’ and ‘buy your anointing oil!’ and ‘air fresheners for your car!’ (We sell all sorts in church these days; I sometimes wonder what Jesus would do if he visited), I heard one seller call out ‘how to beat your children!’ I stopped dead in my tracks. I couldn’t have heard right surely. ‘How to beat your children?!’ I guessed it was a parenting book of some sort but as the crowd kept pressing against me I had no choice but to ignore the shouts and move on. I kept thinking about that book though, and what the contents could be. I started to think that actually, I could write that book. Well, not the exact book itself but one with the same title. Why? Because I’ve had so much experience. Not with beating kids obviously (as I have none) but with growing up in a house where beating was the preferred way of discipline.
For those that think beating/smacking/flogging kids is more or less child abuse, you can stop reading now. I’m just joking. I think some parents do in fact take discipline too far. I was in church (again) the other day sitting next to some woman with a somewhat restless and ill-mannered kid. He looked about four. This woman kept trying to pray and get into the service but her son just wouldn’t let her be (don’t ask me what I was doing watching them). In the end, she lost it and started shouting at him and hitting him with her shoe! In the middle of a church service! When I recovered from the shock of what I was seeing, I begged her to stop. To me, she was only making things worse by beating the poor boy; whereas before she was the only one he was disturbing, now he was disturbing quite a few more people with his screams!
I think back to what it was like growing up in our house. My dad was one of those disciplinarians whose mere presence just made you behave. I only remember him flogging me twice. The first time was when I was about five. My dad bought a new mattress for me and my sister’s bed, and for some unfathomable reason, we decided to rip the mattress apart. I still maintain till today that my sister started it, and I only followed her lead, but the fact that she’s younger than me did not help my case. So, my dad flogged us. I can’t give you the details because I don’t want you to think he’s a monster or anything like that but just take my word for it that it was pretty bad...
The second time was when I went to a neighbour’s house and stayed there the whole day, playing. Now you might be wondering, ‘he flogged you just for that?’But you see we had this family in our neighbourhood that were notorious for being ‘bad’. The kids were always out and about at parties, getting expelled, and doing other stuff unruly teenagers do. So, it was kind of an unspoken rule that you didn’t associate with them. For some reason, I decided to ignore that rule that day, and I went to their house to play. My mum eventually found me and took me home to await my dad’s return. I’ll leave what happened next to your imagination. I love my dad.
My mum however, was the main disciplinarian in our family. In fact, she was known for disciplining all the kids in the neighbourhood (something you would only encounter in Africa). Even though I hated it at the time, now I’m older, I feel like my mum had the right balance between being a fun mum and being a disciplinarian. I remember she would keep us entertained by telling us stories, teaching us songs, and playing games with us. She was never too big to be a kid around us. But whenever we ‘forgot’ that she was our mum, and stepped out of line, she was quick to remind us! I won’t bore you with all the stories of when she flogged us, but one particular story springs to mind. I honestly cannot remember what I did wrong that day, but I remember crying. A lot. For some reason, even after the pain of the flogging had subsided, the tears kept coming. I think I may have been struggling with feelings that perhaps my mum didn’t love me after all, and I was adopted (I was about six, mind). In the end, whether she felt guilty, or the sniffling was beginning to irritate her, I don’t know. But my mum did something I will never forget till the day I die. She called me, held me in her arms and apologised. No, she didn’t say ’I’m sorry I flogged you’, it was more like ‘OK, sorry. Stop crying.’ But it was more than enough to make me think, ‘Woohoo! I wasn’t adopted after all!’ (By the way, I am in no way suggesting that adopted kids are maltreated by their parents).
Sometimes I think about what kind of parent I’d be; I’ve found myself fluctuating between promising never to lay hands on my kids, to deciding to beat them as and when I deem fit (after all my parents beat me and I turned out OK, I think. Plus even the Bible does not condone sparing the rod.) A friend of mine grew up in a household where the parents never for once touched the kids, and they all turned out well. I think they were just naturally good. I hope my kids are like that...


  1. lollllll linda you are soo funny. Good one girl. Please keep it coming. Personally, i know flogging is a sign that a parent loves thier children. Seriously, i thank God for every slap, flogging, shoe throwing, high heel It practically saved me and my dear brothers expecially. Big ups!! to discipline.
    From Bunmi

  2. Haha Bunmi, I know you can relate! I don't know if I'll go as far as 'thanking God' for the beatings, but yeah I guess it didn't kill me, and who knows what I would've turned out like if my parents didn't beat me? :)
    Btw you and Dami are taking this your 'oneness' to a different level! ;)

  3. Nice post. Like you, growing up in our household meant the occasional, or actually in our case frequent beating. Coincidentally my last post was related to the beatings my brothers and I got as kids. All of them well-deserved. My mum smacked us alright. Dad, was more the kind that would lecture you till you felt worse off than had you just gotten a beating.

    BTW would a "How to beat your children" book ever sell in Africa. Me thinks, as Africans we never need to be taught how !!

  4. very funny! was laughing so much that someone else logged in to read the blog. interesting too, however discipline must be done with wisdom and if possible,not in the heat of the moment. children must be told why they're being disciplined because they may not know why what they've done is wrong. great read!

  5. The Bible says that the rod of correction will drive foolishness from a child! Obviously, and no disrespect meant, you guys were foolish to have torn up a new mattress! Lol! While i wasn't beaten as a child i remember my mother's shouting being just as bad a beating, because if i broke a tumbler, i'd already be shaking with fear of what was to come from the sound of her voice. I only remember i and my twin being flogged once on the palm of our hands cause we opened our school snacks a couple of days in advance! Lol!
    I think the western world needs to wise up, their kids are berserk thanks to no rod of correction! These days its the kids who can slap the folks and get away with it! I hope not and know better than to beat my kids senselessly but i wont hesitate to smack, its necessary.

  6. @Wendal, I think our dads are quite similar. My dad didn't have to lecture you though, he just had to give you 'the look' and that was that. No idea if the book will sell, as it's true we Africans have discipline in our blood! I would've bought one though...

    @Chisome, our parental guidance counsellor! I'll meet you for advice when I have my kids oh! But you're talking out of experience though, no one ever laid a hand on you! ;)

    @Chinny, lol! I know we were silly to tear up the mattress, but I think we were bored...they should've bought us more toys! ;)
    I completely know the feeling of breaking tumblers at home, it was like the worst thing you could do, and we broke them like everyday! It makes me shiver just remembering the feeling! Seems like you and your twinnie had a pretty easy childhood, being the last and you're not qualified to comment! :)

  7. LOL! I am so laughing at you!!! What got into you two? tearing up a mattress? A new one for that matter?
    The silly things we did as kids...
    Given that I'm male, I need to learn 'the look', is there a book on that? My dad had the look too, and I thought my dad was the toughest meanest man on earth until I started meeting other Nigerian parents. Made it easier for me to forgive my dad.

    ... I can't count the number of times I made up my mind about packing and running away from home, after a well deserved beating/tongue-lashing... somehow, the thoughts of hunger, cold, etc and the beating I'll get when I eventually return changed my mind.

    My mother would beat us, then preach at us.. then plead with us... and we sometimes ended up feeling sorry for her. 5 kids of her own, and about 4 cousins... with pa on the road a lot... she later resolved to making the oldest beat the second oldest, and bla bla bla.. to the youngest... Oh, and the torture of being asked to go get the 'Cane'...

    Does/did it help? yes, as against no-discipline, I however still believe that other forms of discipline could have been employed... and even though smack'em up effect was scary, it didn't stop us from being naughty...

    And the reference to sparing the rod, is that really meant as 'beating' or discipline in general?

  8. OMgoodness!!! I know this is probably the worst thing you could ever say to a guy, but, I THOUGHT YOU WERE A GIRL!!! To be honest, I don't even know why, and I've had to go read back some of your comments to figure it out, and it now comes across completely differently when I know it's a guy writing. I'm in shock. (Not literally)

    Back to your comment. Your third paragraph is hilarious! Your poor mum! You know my mum would sometimes shout at us so much that she'd go from shouting to crying. And that always worked, because we'd be like, flipping heck, we just made mum cry! And we'd stop whatever it was she was trying to get us to stop doing. Although now looking back I think she was faking it.

    I love the idea of the oldest beating the second oldest and so on. That is what I call division of labour!

    And as for getting the cane, the worst was being told to go pluck a branch specifically for yourself. You had the dilemma of deciding between a small one which usually gave more of a stinging lash, and a large one which was obviously going to be more painful. To be honest I think sending a child to go get their own cane was the actual discipline. Talk about mental torture!

    As for 'the rod', I've heard different explanations, but I guess it probably means discipline in general but most parents would tell you that discipline has to involve some form of smacking or beating at some point, obviously depending on the child and what they did.

  9. :) It isn't my first time of hearing that. So, how did my sex-change (at least as far as your knowledge is concerned) sway/change your view of my opinions? In fact I want a to-a-male response too all the to-a-female responses you gave earlier (kidding).
    I don't think it's the worst thing you can say to a guy either, I see it as having a wealth of personality :D, depending on what it was that made you think me feminine.
    You're female right?

  10. Hmmm...wealth of personality indeed. Actually, you're right, because even though I thought you were female, I did think that you must be a very interesting kind! :) And what made me think you were feminine?
    1. the fact that you were asking me lots of questions about virginity. I just assumed you had to be female. I know, stereotyping.
    2. you actually used the words 'females of our kind' and I took that to mean 'females like us' and to be honest I'm still not sure what you meant.
    3. you liked my play-list. I can understand that though, it is awesome.

    So, there you go.

    p.s.I hope your last question is a joke.

  11. hahahaha....i've always thought i was the only one that grew up in this kind of home. sometimes i think mine was even in the extreme 'cos the beatings didn't just end in my house, i attended a secondary school where they beat (the hell into you) at will. they beat me so much i considered my secondary school a maximum prison where i was sentenced for being a rough kid...
    Most people I've met have classified me a "good boy". The beatings thought me survival/pretending skills(the external god boy features) but the teachings and prayers made me the good person i am today..
    good job

  12. @Chuka, Of course you're not the only one; discipline runs in the blood of Nigerians! ;) Don't even get me started on secondary school beatings- I was in boarding house for only one semester (I would've died if I stayed there any longer) and it definitely felt like prison sometimes! Thank God for teachings and prayers ...