The approval of parents

25Jun08

So yeah, I love my gap and everything, and I’m fine having it for the rest of my life, but the thing that I find really annoying about it is that small drops of spit can easily escape when I’m talking, thanks to the large area for it to escape through! It’s a good thing that it’s rude to talk with my mouth full or I’d be spitting food at people too, and we all know how sexy that is.

While I was getting comfy in my chair, getting ready for an evening of blogging last night, my sister called me to come and see something on tv. I was not impressed at having to leave my computer but she insisted I wouldn’t regret it so I went to see what the big deal was.

They were doing the last 10 minutes of a documentary called Where I Belong and today’s story was about a rather attractive Nigerian male, Arinze, who was born in Canada, raised in Nigeria who returned to Canada to work as an adult. He had been dating a non-Nigerian and was dealing with how his parents, who hadn’t been to Canada in a while, would react to this and his career change from engineering to arts (I guess his motto is “go big or go home”). According to the synopsis (we missed most of the show) he was torn between wanting to please his parents with his life choices (with respect to spouse and career) and also wanting to live the life that appealed most to the person he had become. His parents seemed very cool and easygoing, though part of me wonders if that was because they were being filmed (even my opinionated mama can tone it down for the sake of not wanting to come across as rude—how many of you have invited friends over and had your mother treat them so graciously when they were there, only to tell you later that they don’t like the person one bit?).

Aaaaannnyways, the thing that jumped out at me is this idea of seeking parental approval. I’d say there are probably three categories of people out there when it comes to seeking parental approval:

  1. those who seek parental approval for all aspects of their life and will generally defer to their parents’ wishes if it comes to that (it rarely does sha because these approval seekers rarely have opinions apart from the ones of their parents because they know it’s just easier to do and think what the parents want them to do and think)
  2. those who would prefer that their parents approve of their decisions, yet have made some big decisions that differed from what their parents had suggested/hinted at/insisted upon
  3. those who couldn’t care less what their parents think of their actions: they do what they want when they want to and rain curses upon anyone who disagrees with their decisions.

Before we continue any further on this topic, which one are you?

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31 Responses to “The approval of parents”

  1. Firsttttttttttttttt

  2. lol…

    Coming to london was without my parents permission…They were divided and kept giving reasons why I shouldn’t go…I came anyway and after the first month they were the ones asking me to send a new phone home…

    If there is one thing I have learnt in life, it is that it is easier to get forgiveness than permission….

    I also have a big gap tooth…hated it as a kid cos it drew attention to me…When I smiled adults would go….ohhhhh she has a nice gap tooth…

  3. 3 anonymous

    girl I love your blog …. cos it sounds lke it could be my own thots as well as the thots of most of my firends.
    I fall into the 2nd group because while it’s great to get their approval sometimes I have had very views/feelings and gone ahead without their permission. E.g. the wanted me to read medicine but I hated biology and was much better at math so I opted for engineering ….. they were so angry especially since I was only 16 at the time. Eventually they come around :)

  4. 4 sting

    I definitely fall in the second category, although i would like not to give a hoot but i do. And yes, my mom totally does that thing where she’s all nice to ur friend and when they leave, she’s says she doesn’t like them.

  5. Lets see, I have a baby out of wedlock, “only” an associates degree, joined the US Navy and I date non nigerians, that’s pretty much my answer lol

  6. 6 Oluwadee

    I make my own decisions but I don’t take for granted the wisdom of my parents.

  7. Parents approval is a yes-yes not as a function of being lacking in opinion or depth though. Hence, it behooves us to convince (whatever ’twill cost as that is the main project) the parent.

  8. 8 30+

    I think there should be a 4th group for those who make their own decision generally but inform their parents as matter of respect.

  9. I listen to what my parents have to say but I have always been independent and I have learnt that the decisions I make I am the one who has to live with them. Growing up requires you to make personal decisions, I seek advice but the ultimate decision is mine.

  10. great post! i’d say im a number 2 and 3 combined LOL.

  11. First of, let me say that I find the idea of the documentary brilliant.

    I think I’m more of the second category. I would definitely like my parents’ approval (especially my dad’s) but I have taken (and will certainly keep taking) some decisions without an overwhelming consensus too. But sometimes, I think it’s so much ingrained in me (their opinions) that I don’t realize that it’s not my personal choice until much later.

    Great topic, as usual.

    And by the way, I love your gap! My daddy has one, it’s pretty!

  12. I’m number two. I think it’s important to have opinions coming at you which are not just your own – and differ from you own – I do. But in the end, I think you’ve got to act in a way that secure’s your happiness first and foremost. In the end, it’s your life that you’re living. You can’t control anyone but yourself. The person you should be holding yourself accountable to is you. If you can’t be happy with yourself and the life you’re living, then what is there to live for? I really believe it is important to respect your parents – even when it’s hard to some times, and if they believe in different things then they do – but you also have to love and respect yourself. A GREAT blog post and topic you have here. And the man IS cute.

    Ahem.

    And have you gathered (from my name), that I’m Nigerian too? Igbo Nigerian to be exact. I was born in US though and raised here in Canada. Thanks for visiting my spot on the blogosphere!

  13. I’m number two. I think it’s important to have opinions coming at you which are not just your own – and differ from you own – I do. But in the end, I think you’ve got to act in a way that secure’s your happiness first and foremost. In the end, it’s your life that you’re living. You can’t control anyone but yourself. The person you should be holding yourself accountable to is you. If you can’t be happy with yourself and the life you’re living, then what is there to live for? I really believe it is important to respect your parents – even when it’s hard to some times, and if they believe in different things then they do – but you also have to love and respect yourself. A GREAT blog post and topic you have here. And the man IS cute.

    Ahem.

    And have you gathered (from my name), that I’m Nigerian too? Igbo Nigerian to be exact. I was born in US though and raised here in Canada. Thanks for visiting my spot on the blogosphere!

    I love the gap, it adds character! Any gap I may have had was swiftly straightened by the teeth doctor’s, I’m afraid.

  14. i am no 1

  15. i dont have parents to seek approval from so i turn to my older sis who gives me a certain degree of discretion…seeing as I am old to do so…..so i have no idea where i fall into.
    maybe two

  16. I fall into the number 2 category. I think it comes with age, wisdom and maturity. When you are a child you have to rely on your parents to make every decision for you but as you grow older, you have to start making your own decisions. Any reasonable parent should respect that. As an adult, parents should stop dictating and start advising. And even then, it is still up to me to take their advice. Once I moved out of my parents house, I knew and they knew too that I’m now old enough to make some decisions for myself. Sometimes they agree and sometimes they express concern. And even though I might prefer it if they always agree with me, sometimes I just have believe in myself and to go with my own choices. And I’ve never regretted doing that.

  17. Well I have no parents but I have older sibblings that i respect…I am a combination of all the types plus more depending on type of decision I need to make…okay maybe except number 3…though i’ve been known to flip when pushed to the wall…very rare and too far between!!!
    I seek for advice a lot…but I’ve come to the conclusion that the arm of flesh will fail me any day…so while taking my siblings advice seriously…I may have my own plan…they always go like:”with noLimit, you never can tell! I like it that way!!!

  18. 18 GoodNaijaGirl

    @ Afrobabe – first ke? Which kain blog do you think this is? lol it seems the parents got used to having you abroad pretty quickly ehn?

    @anonymous – what a shame you didn’t leave your email! Thanks for the compliment and it’s awesome to meet like-minded people. I think every parent wants their child to go into the medical field but in your case I think its great that you knew your strengths so early and made an educated decision based on that.

    @sting – I feel you. There’s nothing wrong with giving a damn about our parents’ opinions though, is there?

    @notperfectdotcom – Um, sounds like you’re every parents’ dream ;) I bet your parents have a lot of respect for you now, seeing how things have turned out.

    @Oluwadee – do you inform them of decisions before they’re made, or come to them when you want or need a different perspective?

    @Rethots – I sometimes find myself trying to convince my parents…I like it when they approve of my decisions for some reason…maybe I’m a people pleaser.

    @30+ – hmmm, I think you’re right. I’ll try to incorporate that into the next entry, perhaps as a subset of option 2?

    @tairebabs – I feel you although sometimes parents can make you feel like your decision will reflect more on them than on you.

    @Onada – thanks! I think a dash of 3 can be useful sometimes.

    @Ms. Sula – you bring up a really good point about how being raised a certain way influences your decision-making so that really, whose values are you considering before coming to a conclusion? Can they ever only be your own when you’re so influenced by your parents and environment? That’s great food for thought; thanks.

    @Adaora – you have a good argument for self-awareness /knowing one’s self. If you know yourself well, knowing the right decisions for you will be easier, I think.

    @pink-satin – you’re the first 1! I may have to pick your brain one of these days…

    @naijababe – I’m sorry about your parents but glad you do have someone’s approval to seek out when needed.

    @Favoured Girl – well said. Not all parents are able to stop that dictatorial decision-making they are used to…some will even tell their adult children that they are still their child so they will continue to tell them what to do…

    @noLimit – awww, pele. I’m glad you too have siblings to depend on when (and if) needed! It sounds like you generally know what you want and will go for it no matter what :)

  19. My moms opinon on my choice of marriage partner matters.. my career also matters.. everything else is a crosswalk.. and even with those that matter.. if im sure its right and she isn’t… she’ll change her mind in due time.. is my philosophy…

  20. 20 mizchif

    Hmmm! i’m proud of all these number 2 ppl. like i sooooooooo wish.
    Pls o, me i’m the first no1. Really, just going along with my folks ideaologies makes my life sooo much easier. I can’t even shout. To start with, i’m the first child and i’m a girl, and they r still paying sch fees. maybe when it comes to some more life changing decisions like who to marry, i’d prolly do my thing, but i agree with Ms. sula, their opinions r prolly so ingrained i just can’t tell the difference.

  21. Hey you trying to take the joy away from my being first????

    I am first jare..

    They came round soon enough…the trick is not to show how scared you are as well…look strong and they will be forced to beleive everything will be fine…

  22. Well, i think i am neither of three. My parents trust me so much that they trust whatever decision i intend to take. I started my education with Architecture, then i changed to Interior Design. Most of my parents friends were bad mouthing my career change but my parents stuck by me. I guess they felt that they raised me well to be able to make important decisions myself.

  23. 23 sherri

    none of the above.
    while i value my parents’s opinions, i value mine more.
    i am def with 30+ on this.

  24. i just saw my comment!!i fall into no 2 not 1 o!!!lol!!

  25. I think Im a combination of 1 and 2… more so #2…
    as per the marriage arena… it’s #1… that is soooooooooooo important….

    how are you doing chicka…

  26. Well.i agree with 30+.there shud be a 4 which is where i fall.I don’t discuss my plans with my parents cuz there’s every tendency they would change my mind easily.
    And like u said,knowing urself makes decision making easier.

  27. 27 nigeriandramaqueen

    Im definately a No 2! I respect my parents advice. There is much truth in this African proverb: ”A parent can see sitting, what a child cannot see standing on an iroko tree”. There have been decisions that I have taken however, that my parents did not completely agree with.But I have been blessed with parents who support me in almost every way imaginable. I am truly blessed.
    And oh! I just read your post about being gap-toothed. I was gap-toothed for a while-but then I got braces and closed it completely. I felt alot better, but thats just me. Bottom line: I did it because it made ME feel better. A lot of people digg gap teeth..infact some people go some procedures to become gap toothed. So smile as wide as you can sweety! Cuz ur beautiful!!

  28. Nice post. Let me confess, I learned a long time ago to trust my gut. As such, I do what i think is best after having weighed the options. I trust myself above and beyond any person on this earth, so while I would appreciate the support of my loved ones, I recognize and understand that it will not always be forthcoming. That, is no biggie. As long as we can all agree to get along, its smooths ailing for everyone.

    Disclaimer: I do not encourage this attitude for everyone. And yes, this attitude can be modified and adjusted when the situation calls for it. But, this is an ~ism that has guided me since I was a child, and it has never let me down. =) ‘Buyer’ beware….

  29. 29 Nogo

    I must be number 2. My mom wanted me to do the traditional Lawyer, Doctor thing at Uni but in the end gave in ‘cuz she didn’t want me to be a drop-out. I take her concerns into consideration but at the end of the day I don’t want to be unhappy without reason for the sake of approval. xoxo

  30. 30 isha

    I agree with OluwaDee, it’s a smart idea to keep your parents wisdom in consideration.

  31. okay before i read the other comments i wanna say that afrobabe u rocked me boneless with
    “If there is one thing I have learnt in life, it is that it is easier to get forgiveness than permission….”
    Its so like the word i had been waiting to hear all week. I am sure u are a prophet of some sorts. I will be back, gotta go work afrobabe’s wisdom…lol

    nuff said… for now



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