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Parents As The Major Cause Of Struggle In The Life Of An Average Nigerian Youth

Author  Mgbemena Chukwuebuka

The average Nigerian youth is born into what might be tagged as a middle class family; even though in reality that class no longer exist and it's just the rich and the poor. From the time such an individual begins his/her academic life, there is the constant do or die approach towards excellent performance at school. You hear, "make sure you get first position in school", "Cynthia, you should win that award this session", little by little, throughout primary school, it is the constant clamor for first position and it seems like a mere nudge or support towards success...only that it gets worse.

Soon, the child is done with elementary school and is about to get into secondary school, then it becomes a serious issue to pick a school for the child, the child has to write about three or four entrance examination for different schools. That child is lucky if he or she is successful in that exam and is accepted into that school or else, at such a young age, the child is hurled every possible insult and derogatory statements about how such a child can't pass a "common exam" that his or her mate passed until the child successfully gains admission into one of the schools he or she applied for.

In secondary school, it feels like a little upgrade for the child, this time the child starts to prefer certain subjects to the others but of course, only in his/her mind because if they tell their parent "I prefer English to mathematics", you hear "you better like everything, people that score A's in all their subjects don't have two heads". This continues until senior school when such a child is required to be put in a department that the school considers best for him/her; judging from such a child's general performance in Junior school. But, because of the mindset of the average Nigerian parent who feel that those placed in the science department are better than those in arts or commercial department, they immediately start to treat such a child with malice and exhibit so much anger towards that child. They say he or she needs to improve. After grumbling so much and trying to change the child’s department from arts or commercial to science all to no avail, it's almost like they accept "fate" and finally agree that the child stay in the department chosen by the school.

This child starts to perform well, obviously because these subjects are what the child genuinely loves. They find it interesting to read novels, articles of various sort and all of a sudden the next thing is "Bayo our lawyer", "Amaka you would be a judge o", this child in all honesty is excited that for the first time his/her parents are happy and not the regular insult. 

Years go by and it's time for external examinations!!!.

Jamb (Joint Admission Matriculation Board) examination is an essential examination for anyone who wants to gain admission into a tertiary institution. The constant cry of "if you don't pass Jamb, you would stay at home till next year", is constantly heard. This always brings an unbelievable level of fear for the child because no one wants to stay a full year at home preparing to retake an exam because of the stress involved. Although that wouldn't have been so bad if it didn't come with constant reminders of "your mates are now in the university" and the unending anger towards such child and in some cases, flogging. And so, the child constantly walks on egg shells throughout that year till he or she takes another exam and pass.

This particular situation make students do everything single thing to pass at one sitting either by hook or by crook, little wonder some pay for “chips” (examination answers) and any other way possible just to make sure they get into the university. This in the long run, does a lot of damage to the mental health of that child because from that day, they cultivate a do or die approach to life but to the parent, "my child is doing well".

Then its time to choose a course to study in the university and some parents become dictators. They sometimes threaten their child with statements like "you either read medicine or I won't pay your school fees", "you either study engineering or forget about school this year" and it feels like his/her parents have planned the direction of the child's life even before birth and this kind of attitude leaves a negative effect on that child.

The exact thing that happened when the child was put in a particular department in senior school in which the parents tried everything possible to change the child's department comes into play once again but this time they are in absolute control and the child suffers terribly if he or she doesn't study a particular course. This child enters the university and starts to perform maybe on an average level and eventually starts to fail after the first two years in that course. The same people that shoved that course down the throat of the child comes back to tell him or her that "Aunty Chidinma's son just graduated with first class in medicine & surgery", "pastor Gbenga's daughter just finished as the best graduating student in Unilag, did they go to better schools than you?", "You would go to school and instead of you to read, you would go there to sleep", "don't you ask yourself questions?" and this young Nigerian youth becomes traumatized.

He/she is now up against the wall, has had enough and now tries to complain or vent his frustration, the next thing is "you are still under my roof, so you would either do what I ask you or leave my house". This is because they know they have planned the child's life so much that the child barely has any means of survival other than them and with no place to go, the child slips into depression and it gets really bad.

At this point, there’s a lot going through their mind, the child either wants to take his/her life, join the fast lane through cultism, prostitution, armed robbery, online fraud or just anything in a bid to live on his/her own terms. In the long run, the child is met with untimely death or having to spend so many years in a federal prison as a result. Until parents become open minded, do away with unhealthy societal norms that have been infused into their thinking process, give their children the opportunity to discover themselves through proper guidance and not entirely dictating how their lives should be, the struggle continues......


Parents As The Major Cause Of Struggle In The Life Of An Average Nigerian Youth

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