Tips and Thoughts On What It Takes To Be A Good Parent.

Written by
Written by

Deolu Akinyemi

Yesterday, I had the privilege of spending close to 3 hours in traffic on the journey to honour a friend who got a miracle and bundle of Joy. After waiting to have a child for 18 years, the child finally arrived. The joy had texture, you could really feel it, and it wasn’t their joy alone; it was all our joy. I called the time in traffic a privilege, first because it wasn’t long enough to top myself and my wife, and also because we never experienced more than 5 mins traffic on the average commuting to work. Times like this are opportunities to catch up on so many other things.

So, a baby was born at the exact moment a parent was born. Even if a couple gives birth to 5 children, each of them will be parented in unique ways, so each time, a new parent better be born. One of the questions I have ruminated in my mind is, are there good parents? Are there bad parents? What makes the difference, and where can people go to get an education that makes it different? We prepare for and celebrate the child’s arrival but don’t do enough to prepare for the parent’s arrival.

As human beings, we seem to have left the most important topics to instinct and intuition. Think about it, there is a school of driving but no school of marriage, and there is a school of midwifery but no school of parenting. We teach basic life survival skills, but real-life skills are scarce.  There are interventions to solve this problem, no doubt. They are not formal, but they exist. They constitute part of the body of knowledge that everyone with an experience of failure or success owes to their friends, family, community or tribe.

A popular African proverb says, “it takes a village to raise a child”.  I think it’s time to see the other unspoken side of that quote, “it takes a village to support and make a parent”. Once we understand the implication of the first proverb, we just need to weave the interpretation of the second one.

“It takes a village to raise a child” is an African proverb that means a child’s upbringing is not just the responsibility of the parents alone but also the entire community. It implies that a child needs support and guidance from various individuals and institutions beyond the family to grow and develop into a responsible, well-adjusted adult.

The proverb emphasises that a child’s well-being depends not only on their parents but also on the support of extended family members, teachers, neighbours, coaches, and other community members. Everyone in the community can contribute to the child’s development in different ways, such as by providing emotional support, sharing knowledge and skills, and being a positive role model.

The village concept recognizes that parenting can be challenging, and parents need support and help from the community to raise a healthy, happy child. When communities come together to support families and children, they create a nurturing environment that promotes the child’s well-being, enhances their social skills and emotional development, and builds a stronger, more cohesive community.

In this process of bonding together to provide structures and communities that offer the child the best experience, some experience gives the parents insight into what makes a good parent. Somehow in that cloud of support, there is a lot of data, and the parents’ mind has a rich resource of perspectives and begins to form their own ideas to make them good parents.

In view of this model, one of the most dangerous things a parent can do for their children is to isolate themselves or isolate their children from their tribe. In that isolation, they are not learning, and the child does not enjoy the wonderful privilege of having their ears twisted by a loving but tough aunty who is not taking nonsense.

For as long as there are good and bad parents, every parent needs to strive deliberately to be a good parent. This doesn’t only come from the community; we must learn to be gatekeepers who know what being a good parent entails and can play the role of deciding what to let in and what to keep out. Our desire to become parents should drive us to seek knowledge and wisdom. First, we need to know what we don’t know, and then we need to discern how to apply what we know.

I feel this can be a series already, as many of us were not deliberately parented and need insights to do better than what was done to and with us.


Kind Regards,

Adeolu Akinyemi.

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