How Strict were/ are your Parents?

‘Strict’ is always viewed on the negative side, every time I check. And truly, parents who are described by their children as ‘strict’ are usually painfully strict. I saw that question ‘how strict were/ are your parents?’ on a post on Facebook where readers were supposed to choose their answer from a scale of 1 to 10 percent. I made use of the comments’ box, and my answer was 4 percent. I think the author of the post was mesmerized as he couldn’t understand how my percentage was that low. Since he knew me in person he took interest in replying my comment and he wanted to know how 4 percent was really that possible. How I ‘carved’ my answer for him even interested me more. ‘My parents were not difficult, neither was I a hard a kid.’

I grew up in an African home, but maybe not a totally typical one. My mum especially flogged me and nagged during some certain years, but all that soon stopped. Even when she did, she never did so violently or used any crazy object to whip me__ she had the kind of canes used in schools, well not the wicked fat ones or brutally lean ones, the canes were just normal. And one thing I know for sure is that I cried because my mum beat me not necessarily because the strokes were unbearable, better put, the strokes become unbearable because my mum lashes them out. This is not to say that my mum flogged worse than the teachers at my school, but maybe hers came with a greater love and intent to correct my wrong.

In the comment section of that particular post, I realized that majority of people’s fathers were the beaters while their mothers usually nagged. I told you already that my mum nagged during certain years, and she flogged me more as opposed to the popular count that fathers are the main beaters. My dad would apologize whenever he flogged either me or my siblings, I don’t know who else’s dad did that but mine did and I think it was a really sweet thing. In his apology he makes you understand the reason why he flogged you and wishes that you don’t mess up that way again. My father’s favourite object was the spatula, in fact that was the only one he ever used on me in his physical punishment game, in Nigeria we call it ‘garri turner’ or ‘turn garri’ because the primary use of a spatula in a local Nigerian kitchen is in preparing garri to be served.

In addition to countless sessions of beatings from some parents, another quality kids used in gauging the strictness of their parents were the kind of rules they set. Some families may have written rules but mine was totally unwritten, and looking back now, I don’t think there was anything extreme. Except for when my dad really disliked us keeping our legs on the sofas whenever we sat on it and will constantly remind us by shushing if we did. I do not know what his reasons were but personally I still think that act makes sitting more comfortable and relaxing. Other unwritten rules in my younger age were, a bath would always come before breakfast and there was no way you’d do the latter before the former because we usually gathered at the table to have breakfast so everyone must have had their bath before the gathering. Immediately after dinner I and my brother would share between sweeping the house and washing the plates we just used and I mean immediately, there was no way we’d go to bed with dirty plates in the house or sleep in a house that hasn’t been swept that evening. And the third major unwritten rule was that you will always have a bath every evening, this would only be a problem for anyone who tries to skip that special bath because you’d be unable to sleep that night.

As years went by things began to change and the major one was, you shall always return to the house whenever it’s 5p.m if you went outside to play. An exception to that rule occurred whenever it rained, you must go back to the house if it starts raining no matter how many hours before 5p.m it is. Things became clearer as time went on and we didn’t need rules whether written or unwritten anymore. We knew how to do some basic things for ourselves and the main goal was to be well behaved at home or elsewhere. ‘Cause the thing is, you only get lashed when you misbehave. Years passed without me receiving any beatings from my parents again but I noticed a new stylish and unwritten rule surfaced much later in my teen years, I’d drop the name, phone number, address of which ever friend I was visiting, I would drop it with my mum. That wasn’t a big deal for me.

If the amount of merciless beatings received by one from his/ her parents during childhood or any stages of their lives plus the series of harsh/ unfriendly rules they needed to follow at home or guard their lives outside home which are set by their parents are a yardstick to measure how strict one’s parents were, then I’d still maintain that my parents weren’t strict. My siblings might have different opinions and that is totally acceptable since we are different personalities & human beings. I look forward to writing about my childhood intrinsically and I hope you’ll walk with me through that journey. Meanwhile, leave some comments telling us any memorable event from your childhood and don’t forget to tell us whether your parents were/ are strict or not, and maybe add a hint or two why you say so.

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