Parenting around Africa
Sometimes the best parenting advice is hidden in ancient African proverbs.
Parenting around Africa (Shutterstock)
Is old African wisdom in agreement with modern parenting? Below we compare ancient proverbs with modern parenting advice.

1. A stick is straightened while still young - Kiga proverb (Uganda)

The Telegraph  reports that, "A best-selling Swedish academic has concluded that permissive parenting is creating a generation of arrogant young adults who lack social empathy, personal resilience and, after a childhood of pampering, are destined to be bitterly disappointed in life." 

It’s obvious from this advice that starting to lovingly discipline a child early works to his or her advantage later in life. 

2. Train a child the way he should go and make sure  you also go the same way – African proverb

Dr Jeffrey Bernstein in Psychology Today  states, "Set a good example. Like it or not, you're a role model for your child. If you want to teach your child that being inflexible won't help resolve conflicts or problems, then don't be rigid yourself. Remember, yelling is nothing more than a grown-up temper tantrum. Is that really the kind of example you want to set for your child? Is that the way you want your child to remember you?”

Setting a good example is definitely a powerful parenting tool.

3. It takes a whole village to raise a child – Nigerian proverb  reports that in India parents are so busy that "…fathers spend around eight minutes a day talking to their children, while working mothers spend around 11 minutes. Even stay-at-home mothers do not talk to their children for more than 30 minutes a day."

One would wonder who is raising those kids? Obviously it takes a whole village to raise a kid so grandparents, uncles, aunts, nannies, teachers and many others fill in the gap that is left out by busy parents. Of course it is the parent’s primary duty to spend as much time as they can with their child. 

4. Patience is the mother of a beautiful child – Bantu proverb  tells us, "Your children will push you to the limits of patience. They don't mean to do it. When you are in a rush, they will dawdle. When you want to focus on a project, they will interrupt you. When you simply want a moment of quiet, they will shriek, make annoying sounds, and fight, often for no reason, it seems, other than to disrupt the peace... If you catch yourself losing patience (or even if somebody else points it out to you), simply stop, close your eyes, take a deep breath or two (count if you have to), and remind yourself that you are going to try to be more patient because it will make things easier in the long run. Then calmly address the problem.”

The quality of patience is a must for every parent.

5. A baby that never cries soon dies on its mother’s back – Zimabwean proverb

Mayo clinic  writes: "Decoding the tears - A crying baby is trying to tell you something. Your job is to figure out why your baby is crying and what — if anything — you can do about it. Consider what your crying baby could be thinking."  
The same article goes on to list what your child might be trying to tell you when it cries:

- I’m hungry
- I want to suck on something
- I’m tired
- I’m wet
- I want to move
- I’d rather be bundled
- I’m hot
- I’m lonely
- I’ve had enough

So the next time your baby is crying don't get frustrated but remember that your baby could be trying to talk to you.

Do you live by any particular wisdom or proverbs? Share them with us below.

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