Lifestyle

Growing Up In Africa VS Growing Up In The West

There’s not much information out there about how different the child’s upbringing is in various cultures. The usual understanding of raising children is typically divided to “Eastern” and “Western”, labeling Western upbringing as (sometimes overly) liberal, and eastern as (also often overly) traditional. However, not a lot is known about ways in which the children are brought up in Africa. Many assume that, due to some cultural differences, African children are raised in a more liberal fashion (even more than Western) than they actually are. But, is this true? You are about to find out.

Differences Between Western and African Upbringing.

western kids1. Parental authority

In the West, the culture of equality has been present for decades. Children are encouraged to speak their minds, have an open and honest relationship with their parents and build their confidence. However, this doesn’t mean that Western parents don’t have authority over their kids. It simply means that this authority is based on communication and trust.

On the other hand, African parents are known for being strict with their children. Parent’s word is obeyed by, with no questions asked, and with zero tolerance to talking back. However, this doesn’t mean that African parents don’t bond or communicate with their children. It simply means that children are expected to listen to their parents and there is little room left for negotiations.

2. Relationships with siblings

Since African families typically have more children than Western ones do, it is common for the older children to be responsible for younger ones. If a younger child does something wrong, the older one will be held responsible for it. In other words, the older children have authority over the younger ones. Younger siblings are expected to abide by their older sibling’s orders. On the other hand, Western siblings have an equal status at home and parents are discouraged from pushing responsibility for younger children to their older siblings.

3. Dating in teens

It’s no secret that Western countries are often too liberal when it comes to teen dating. There is also plenty of caution present, which is why families have a whole set of rules for dating, in other to protect their children from harm. These protective measures include not being allowed to stay late on a date or be alone with a date without supervision  — a chaperone. When it comes to African cultures, the majority of teens are not allowed to date until their adulthood and some cultures completely forbid dating if the objective is not marriage.

4. Relationship with elderly

Especially with other family members, African children are not even allowed to call older adults and elderly family members by name. They are taught to treat them with respect and, though loving, their relationships are based on a hierarchy in which the older ones are superiors. On the other hand, Western children are encouraged to have an equal and friendly relationship with older people and family members. Often, they will call them by their names and treat them as if they were the same age.

5. Quality of lifeafrican kids

Many will think the quality of life in Africa is poor, on the contrary, the general well-being of Africans kids is surprisingly good. Even though a handful of African children are deprived some basic necessities (factors that play an important role in the quality of life), yet you will find them happy. This contentedness amongst African children has made them almost immune to depression. On the other hand, children who are born and raised in the west, despite the fact that they have access to basic necessities of life, yet you will find majority exhibiting signs of depression.

Closing Thoughts

I have noticed that it is easier to talk to strangers in Africa societies than talking to strangers in Western societies. You can start up a conversion with a roadside Trader or a Vulcanizer which may last for several hours and possibly end in friendship — this would hardly happen in Western societies, as a matter of fact, you hardly see your next door neighbor let alone mingle. By and large, these are some of the reasons why depression is so high in Western societies compared to African societies.

 

  • Jurgen Troy Namupira

    This is a factual point of view and I’m compelled to agree with you. However, you will notice that there are certain things that are lacking on either side of the worlds.
    I also think we have higher cases of depression in Africa but most hide it behind issues like rebellion, workaholic, bullying etc.

    • You will find depression everywhere you go. However, going by statistics,

      “About one in five adults in the U.S. experiences some form of mental illness each year, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, but only 41 percent of those affected received mental health care or services in the past year”

      A popular African musician once said in his song “Suffering and Smiling” meaning, even though there is suffering in Africa, yet Africans are still smiling the face of adversities, poverty etc.

      • Jurgen Troy Namupira

        I like this one

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