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Letter from Africa: Parenting tradition conflict

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Ghanaian kids have a tendency to not deal with adults by simply their first names

In our collection of letters from African journalists, Elizabeth Ohene appears to be like at how parenting types in Ghana examine with these within the US.

I’ve been conducting my very own completely unscientific survey of the distinction between kids introduced up in Ghana and people introduced up within the US.

If you happen to requested me which kids are the higher behaved, American or Ghanaian, I’d don’t have any hesitation in choosing the Ghanaian ones.

I suppose there could be no shock in such a solution.

I’m an outdated Ghanaian lady and my definition of a well-behaved youngster might be weighted in the direction of one that’s liberal with pleasantries: “Please”, “sir”, “madam”, “thanks”, and is aware of it’s unacceptable to deal with somebody older in a “bare”, unadorned method – to borrow a contact of Ghanaian English.

In different phrases, it’s a signal of dangerous upbringing to name an elder particular person and not using a title, as in calling me Elizabeth with out “Auntie”, or “Da”, or “Madam” or “Miss” or no matter title involves thoughts.

A toddler introduced up within the US would name me Elizabeth and a toddler introduced up in Ghana would discover a title so as to add to the Elizabeth.

In my a part of the world, kids converse and behave, or are anticipated to behave, in a different way from grown-ups.

Elizabeth Ohene:

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Elizabeth Ohene

“There are some unadorned “Elizabeth” callers that appear to be doing as properly and generally even higher than a few of the “Auntie Elizabeth” callers”

Admittedly it is a culturally biased notion, however there’s nothing new in that.

Now in the event you requested me which kids are the happier lot, American or Ghanaian, I’d most likely say the Ghanaian ones.

Nonetheless, I now hesitate about this conclusion after I used to be not too long ago instructed that many Ghanaian kids now imagine happiness is measured by what number of instances their dad and mom purchase them Kentucky Fried Rooster.

I’ve so as to add that the KFC quick meals chain made an entry into Ghana about two years in the past.

On that foundation after all the American kids have to be miles forward of the Ghanaian kids within the happiness league.

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Does acknowledging your kid’s opinion assist to construct their confidence?

I’ve tried to verify on my “Sure Auntie Elizabeth” youngster and examine them to the “Sure Elizabeth” youngster in later life to see if being introduced as much as say “Auntie”, “Sir” or “Madam” makes any distinction of their lives.

I confess the outcomes are blended and I’m subsequently starting to assume my judgement on a toddler being properly introduced up doesn’t have an effect on that kid’s efficiency in later life.

There are some unadorned “Elizabeth” callers that appear to be doing as properly and generally even higher than a few of the “Auntie Elizabeth” callers.

Controlling dad and mom

It’s predictable subsequently that I used to be excited however not fairly certain what to make of the current survey carried out by an American college on the parenting of adolescent kids in Ghana and the US.

In the study, by Clark University, across two cultures, it was found that “when dad and mom acknowledge the views of their adolescent kids and encourage them to specific themselves, the younger folks have a stronger sense of self-worth, intrinsic motivation, and engagement and there’s much less melancholy”.

The youngsters answered questions concerning the extent to which their dad and mom acknowledged their viewpoint and allowed them to make choices, have selections, and categorical their opinions.

Questionnaires additionally assessed the extent to which adolescents perceived their dad and mom as controlling their behaviour, in addition to their educational motivation, sense of self-worth, stage of melancholy and notion of themselves as impartial from their dad and mom or as a unit with their dad and mom.

One thing tells me these are phrases, which when stripped of the flamboyant cloak of educational verbiage, imply permitting kids to behave like grown-ups.

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Elizabeth Ohene’s grandmother felt kids shouldn’t be in a rush to develop up

The research additionally discovered that permitting adolescents to make choices and have selections was related to optimistic outcomes solely within the US.

In different phrases, the Ghanaian dad and mom tended to imagine that they need to make the massive choices for his or her kids.

I’m not in any respect certain whether or not a toddler having to say “please”, “thanks”, “sir”, “madam” or curtseying and bowing to greet an elder particular person rely as not permitting kids to make choices, however I do know that over right here in Ghana, we do prefer to have some distinction between grown-ups and youngsters.

As my sainted grandmother of outdated used to say, “You should have a whole lot of time to be a grown-up, there isn’t a have to hurry your childhood.”

In different phrases, you’ll have a whole lot of time to make choices, a few of which will likely be disastrous; benefit from the interval during which your dad and mom are making the choices for you.

At the least you’d have somebody responsible.

Extra Letters from Africa:

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Yasir Ali
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