Nigerian Fathers: Why don't they ever tell us they love us?

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Nigerian fathers never told us they loved us but they showed us

Nigerian fathers suck at expressing themselves to their kids especially to their sons.

"Why do majority of Nigerian fathers find it hard to say 'I love you" to their sons?" reads a tweet from a young Nigerian.

This sentiment is popular on Twitter NG. Nigerian fathers suck at expressing love to their kids especially their sons.

Mothers are angels. They fed us with words of affirmation and countless "I love you" declarations. Fathers, on the other hand, were gruff with their sons. They weren't in the business of expressing emotions.

 

If your father was born pre-Independence or in the 60s, chances are that he is not the expressive type. It is most likely he was born and raised in a polygamous home.

As the head of the house, your grandfather did not have time to express love to your father and your uncles. Fathers back then were disciplinarians. They knew nothing about pampering a child or telling him "I love you." What was the point?

Your grandfather's job was to provide food for his family and that is what he did. There was no time for sensitive talks or emotional bonding. This was how things were done. Our grandfathers were especially hard on our fathers.

 

That style of parenting comes from the school of hard knocks. Tough love breeds men and this is the law that they followed. Our fathers were raised this way. From an early age, our fathers were groomed to be men. It was tough love and there was no room for sentiments or display of emotions.

Undoubtedly this style of parenting passed down from grandfather to father. Our fathers were more in tune with the modern style of parenting but they were children of the past. The tough love style of raising kids never died.

 

Also, our fathers had to deal with the economy of the country. Thanks to bad economic policies by successive military administrations, the middle class was virtually wiped off.

Our fathers had to work extra to put food on the table during this period. Expressing themselves to their children especially to their sons wasn't on the agenda. They had to provide for their families and this meant often than not working late into the night.

There is a strong scene in the movie Fences starring Denzel Washington that is applicable to the relationship between Nigerian fathers and their sons.

In the clip, Denzel's son asks him "How come you ain't never liked me?" Denzel Washington replies his son by giving him a gem of life straight from the school of hard knocks.

"A man is supposed to take care of his family. You live in my house, feed your belly with my food, put your behind on my bed because you're my son. It's my duty to take care of you, I owe a responsibility to you, I ain't got to like you! Now, I gave everything I got to give you! I gave you your life!" says Denzel Washington in one of the most riveting scenes of the movie.

 

This perfectly explains it all. Our fathers never told us they loved us but they showed us. If you had a roof over your head, went to school, had food to eat and never went to bed hungry, your father loved you.

True love is about expressing your feelings but also in this context, let's not forget that true love is also about responsibility. If you had a responsible father then he loved you. Chances are that he didn't know how to verbalize it because he was not raised that way. 



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