Parents don’t always know what’s best for (the adult) you

My voice is a lot better (voice recording to come after I buy a new mic), but I still can’t really sing. I’m going to stay in the contest and submit some singing I recorded last year, as long as that is ok with the bosses. I would hate to be eliminated based on something from last year though, so I’ll continue drinking my hot drinks and taking the cough medicine and cough drops and maybe I should pray too.

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Remember a week ago when I started talking about the approval of parents? Not surprisingly, the topic of parental approval is one that the majority of us, especially as we become adults, have to deal with. I asked you where you thought you fell within the following categories:

  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.

and most of you were in category 2. The delightful Ms. 30+ informed me of an important fourth category that was completely missed:

  1. those who make their own decisions and don’t seek parental approval of their actions, yet inform their parents of their decisions, a fait accompli as it were, as a sign of respect.

so if you need to vote again, please do:
[poll id=”2″]

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I think you (if you’re an adult) should be a 2 or a 4…unless you can convince me otherwise. Today I’ll give you some reasons why, if you’re an adult, you should not be in Category 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):

You have to live for you
Does that sound familiar? It can be tempting to always do as your parents say and suggest, especially because your parents generally have your best interests at heart and they have gone through a lot of the things you’re dealing with. However, there is one small fact to remember: they are not you. They may know you really well and think they know what is best for you but only you know what’s best for you.

(Ok, that’s a lie: you might not know what’s best for you yet because you haven’t really thought about it or figured it out for yourself but you should. Soon. Figure out what you’re good at, what your goals for the next month, year, five years, life are and work toward them. It doesn’t even have to be goals and plans, it can just be getting to know the type of person you are personality-wise. This is a process that can be ongoing but knowing who you are and what you want is really important.)

Armed with a good sense of who you are and what you want, you should realize that you are the one person who really knows what drives you and how any decision you have to make will affect you either today or in the future.

Making mistakes is how you learn, and you will make mistakes
How many times have your parents told you that they don’t want you to make the same mistakes they (who am I kidding, Naija parents don’t make mistakes!) the child of someone they know made? Even if they try to direct your every move, I can guarantee that things will still go awry and through the process you’ll learn those painful/hard lessons. At least when those bad times happen, if you’re the one who made the decision, you know it’s your fault. That might not be what you want to think at the time but it’s sort of nice and adult to own up to your mistakes, isn’t it?

You will one day have to live without your parents
One day your parents will not be in this world to guide you (such a sad thought!). In fact, some are already dealing with this reality and as a result have had to learn to find their own way. It’s hard enough to adjust to this new reality without also wondering who you will turn to about each decision you have to make. If you put off learning to make your own decisions and choices until much later in life, you may have a hard time as you try to learn skills that others learned at a much younger age. Some of you may have noticed like I did that age has a way of making us less likely to try new things so it’s important to make the change now.

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I speak only for what I have observed, but Nigerian parents mothers can be quite vocal in what they think is best for their children. When you’re young (ie not yet an adult), it’s very smart to go along with these ideas because one biblical passage Naija parents know well is “Spare the rod and spoil the child”, and I never worried that my parents would spoil me by sparing the rod, did you? But as you get older, you should show them that they have raised you well and that you can be a fully functioning adult. Show them that by being a Category 2 or 4 sort of person (I’ll share why Category 3 is hard for me to take another time.)

10 thoughts on “Parents don’t always know what’s best for (the adult) you

  1. I still think i'm fall in the number 2 category. As much as i don't like anyone telling me what to do, i still prefer my parents approve my decisions. Being the stubborn goat that i can be, i usually do what i want to do anyway, but i'm not too happy that they are not happy with me. Let me not say they, cos is usually my mother. I can still remember dating the Jamaican weed head (not a stereotype, he used to smoke weed everyday). My mother almost had a stroke, but i dated him anyway until he DUMPED ME, just like she predicted. Sheesh!

  2. I just finished reading the post. I didn't see the rest of it initially. I love how u crossed out parents and wrote mothers, cos that is sooooooooooo true!

  3. Nice look!!! All best though…hope you do go far nevertheless…am also a contestant!!

    Good Luck


  4. @sting – I knew you'd back me on the mother thing. Don't you hate it when moms are right about the guys you date (dads rarely have a strong opinion…or maybe they do, and they let the mom share it)?

    @ms.emotions – thanks!

    @Backtonaija – hehe, thanks! Hopefully I'll be able to claim one day that I totally rock Yoruba, and pidgin too!

    @solomonsydelle – I'm not trying to offend o; just trying to let them know that once they reach adulthood, it's ok to move to another category ;)

    @Tears – good luck on blogville idol! I'm off to go check out your blog :)

  5. Feel better GNG!!

    I fall into Parental approval is nice, but I do my own thing too"

    It is ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY that everyone learn to make their own decisions in life. Parents need to learn to let go. You're 'baby' isn't going to live with you forever, and how can you call yourself a proper adult when you're running to mom and dad to ask what they would do. Who cares what they would do. Ask for advice when you want it, but learn to rely on yourself. Self-reliance is key. Parents have to become a shoulder to lean on when you need it, but you've got to stand on your own two feet. That's what I believe. Sometimes it's hard to get my parents to hear my opinion on matter – they tend to be older so think I don't have as much 'life experience' etc – but I do it, and I do it shamelessly. I tell it like it is and I make no appologies for it. And deep down, they respect that, and they respect me for it.

  6. Quick bit to add: The next time they want to molly coddle and control you and you want to do any particular thing independently, say this; You've spent X number of years teaching me, and filling me with values you hope I've retained. Don't you think it's time I got the chance to put it all to good use?

  7. well i'm definitely a number 2 person. I have made decisions that my parents thought were not right, but they ended up accepting it. When i made a move to London from home, neither wanted me to but now the situation in Zimbabwe has deteriorated and well, they did appreciate my 'stubborness' enjoying the blog

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