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I was taught to remain silent, that my questions were too much, and I was a bother. I was spanked for disturbing the peace of the house with my constant chatter. I was told to hold my lips.

I was shunned when I tried to express my opinions. I was told to be a good child and obey my parents, regardless. I was chastised for arguing with my mother. “Would you keep quiet there? How many times will I tell you to stop arguing with adults?!” were her favourite lines, and I heard them often.

I quickly learnt to suppress my emotions. Why bother if it would only result in more reproach, more anger, and more spankings? I learnt to be a good child, make mummy happy and do her biddings without a word. I learnt to remain silent.

I learned that my opinions were second to other people’s own. So why cause a stir and possible rejection? I learned to doubt myself, to doubt my abilities, to question the validity of my convictions. I learned to remain unheard, unseen, unknown.

I grew up a people-pleaser, consenting to the expectations of others – regardless of how I felt or what I thought. I grew up knowing that the only way to be accepted – the only way to be valued – was to yield my dreams, diminish my needs, avoid vulnerability, and succumb.

I grew up dancing to the tune of others, afraid to beat my own drums. I grew up without an identity. I was who everyone needed me to be at any time. I was lost to all, even to myself.

Maybe things could have been a little different. Perhaps I could have been affirmed for all the times I threw tantrums, possibly received a listening ear to my many questions. Maybe I could have been told to hold my lips less often and had a say in the colour of the outfit I wanted to wear to church those Sunday mornings. Or how I wanted my school shoes to look.

My views could have counted for much more. My opinions could have been sought and listened to before decisions were made. As a result, I could have been less of a child who did as they were told and more of one whose feelings and thoughts mattered, whether or not they conformed to their parents’, an assertive and self-aware one.

My mother could have been more deliberate with her words, more conscious with the rod and more intentional with her actions. Likewise, my father could have been more present, not retreating to his chambers at night and disappearing before the dawn of day.

So many “Maybes” in my mind. However, my parents did what they thought best. They only did what they knew to do.

Dear Parents, “Now that you know better, would you do better?”


Writer: Yinnie_Akenzz


  1. Adejoke says:

    Such a good read. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Oluwakemi says:

    I will do better, so help me God

  3. olasumbo Nwakanma says:

    May God help us to be who he meant us to be to our kids🙏

  4. Ireti says:

    We are literally shut down while growing up as any attempt to ‘misbehave’ attract more severe punishment. The sad story is still, consciously and unconsciously the children can not approach us before we wanted personal time, the teachers are overburden and until we take our responsibility, we are supcetible to same error.

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