Over the week ending August 31, 2018, African millennials took to their Twitter accounts to claim that they were abused by their parents for every beating they received.
What is abuse?
Dictionaries will determine abuse as a misuse of something to bad effect, for bad purpose or treatment with cruelty or repeated or consistent violence.
Were we all then abused by our parents?
The answer; we cannot know for sure. As there were parents who beat their children because they wanted to correct as a form of discipline, there were also parents who definitely abused their children.
The girl, Storm, from the latest episode of I Said What I Said was very sadly, a victim of abuse. But, as much as we all want to pelt parents, we were not all raised that way — sadly, we all want to pelt parents and claim offence at every instance. It’s lazy — not for anyone like Storm however, nobody should be treated that way.
Disciple through beating was the reality our parents grew up on. They didn’t know better. If they had known better, they would have acted differently and made better decisions.
They were not as informed as we are or liberal as we are. Asides that, evolution is a natural part of humanity. Part of that means shedding faulty ways for newer ways.
It is why slavery, colonialism, misogyny and homophobia were — or are being — outlawed and even punishable as part of an ongoing conversation.
While it is sometimes no defence, you cannot act better if the norm of your time says validates you. Asides that, our parents did what they thought was an idea of love — setting us on the right path, by whatever means necessary.
What is a norm?
Something usual, typical or that is a standard.
The most extreme ways of discipline for that time was beating. It was like an Austinian idea of deterrence from you engaging in such activities in the future.
What is the Austinian idea?
John Austin was a proponent of Positive Jurisprudence, a deviation from the Natural School of Jurisprudence.
He believed that people will only obey the law when punishment is attached to it because the fear of punishment promotes adherence to the Law. It is not without fault, but it is true.
Human beings are naturally rebellious and wrong things are usually more attractive than good things. It is why we need measures in place to deter us from the throngs of the seeming beauty of consistent wrongness.
Let’s face it, if our parents hadn’t used the element of force through beating on a lot of us, we might have turned out very differently. I however do acknowledge that sometimes, beating can be detrimental.
Equally, screaming and excessive pressure were a form of emotional abuse, way worse that physical abuse — which leaves far lasting effects because it is more subtle. It’s why some people cry when they are angry — they cannot deal with pressure.
Beating was not always the answer
My parents beat me. My Dad beat me more than he beat any other children. He only beat my older sister twice. My younger sister, he only beat a few more times — maybe five.
I was always gentle, but I was always strong-willed and confrontational, pushed by an almost malevolent force of confidence. I wanted to do things my way and it got worse in my teens.
I can confidently tell you that looking back, I deserved every beating I got — not least when I beat my two sisters for changing the channel while I was watching wrestling. Our then neighbour still calls me “Tyson”.
The only time my Dad lashed out unnecessarily, I partially deserved it as I pressured my Mum for food in the presence of a visitor. Fam, I was hungry after playing football alone for two hours.
My Dad punched me on the right side after the visitor stepped out. Also unknowingly, my shorts were torn. He felt disgraced and lashed out. That night, he came to apologize.
I admit, I didn’t grow up like a lot of people. But the truth is, while some people really got abused by parents who just wanted to beat for every slightest wrongdoing, not everyone claiming abuse for beating was abused.
If that were the case, we would be saying 80% of Nigerian parents who beat their children were abusers and that’s just downright trash. Parents, not the devil.
And while it might seem an excuse it’s not. It’s a reality and you have not been in their shoes to understand how to deal with bratty children like I was.
If you haven’t experienced something, don’t go all out to attack
Let’s face it, even in your youth, you’re lashing out. Some of us even hate the sound of excessively crying infants during their sound stage.
When you’re in a bad mood, you lash out and you don’t even have the pressures of a bratty kid and maintainance of a home and high level job to deal with yet.
You lash out at your boyfriend, your gateman, the bus conductor, the driver, the cleaner at your office, your girlfriend. Hell, you even lash out at every Twitter user that disagrees with your life views.
Hell, during your NYSC days teaching in some secondary school in Sokoto state, you probably beat a bratty student for being downright disrespectful or wanted to beat him or her but for fear that he might waylay you and revenge with a pitch black beating on you.
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But you’re there, saying you were abused by your parents for every beating you received. Do you even know what abuse means? Have you asked yourself how you expected your parents to do with your bratty behaviour?
Have you considered how you would have turned out without the fear of being beaten?
Some were abused
There are however people like Storm out there and it breaks my heart to see the unfortunate excess of discipline by parents who thought they were doing good when they probably needed help.
But I’m sure that her mother still loves her. She just didn’t know any other way and I’m seriously sorry she had to go through that. Nobody should.
However, even though some of us were beaten, others more than people like me by unapologetic parents, it does not equate abuse.
If anything, look how you turned out. Would you have turned out differently if you weren’t beaten? What would be different about your life? Food for thought.
Excessive beating also ruins pain tolerance
When I was 8, my aunt had a son. She used to beat him with a cloth hanger by the time he was 4. My father had to call and warn her that though he is not against beating, sometimes, he encourages conversations.
Not everyone had that luxury. My parents also forced their ideals down my throat for a while, but then I turned 21. Nonetheless, I still went to Law School because my dad thought it was going to be a good idea — he was right, it turned out to be.
Life was hard for our parents. Beating was the norm they knew. It’s no defence for anything, but it was their reality. Evolution didn’t avail them any alternatives.
Sadly, when people find an excuse or avenue to blame their shortcomings on, they take it. It’s why a lot of people won’t be honest with themselves and blame all their shortcomings on being beaten. That’s the fact.
Anyways, I am legitimately sorry for those who got abused by parents who lashed out unnecessarily, but even though parents lashed out on some of us, we were not all abused.
Though some of us were beaten regularly, we were not abused. Sadly, it’s a nonsense narrative peddled by Twitter NG as it always does, without thought or actions.
For one, every beating was not abuse. Anything less would be lazy, circumstantial and unbecoming as Twitter NG always brandies together for lazy causes.
I do however liked how Jola Ayeye sought a distinction smacking from beating. Even at beating. Discipline through beating and abuse are two very different things, though the lines sometimes get blurred.