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Extreme Liberalism or Great Parenting? You Decide.

The below are excerpts of the interview with Lawyer, activist and ex-Chairman of the National Human Rights Commission, Chidi Odinkalu, where he shares his fatherhood story with Gbenga Adeniji and its a very interesting read. You can't be Nigerian and not feel some type of way while reading it. Good some type of way or bad some type of way. Let's read. 

How do you discipline your children?: I had a dad who wasn’t averse to sometimes enthusiastic laying of hands for disciplinary purposes. So I grew up with an instinctive aversion for that. I believe children are very perceptive. I am very much against beating or spanking. My children get when I am unhappy or need something addressed with urgency. I don’t need to scream or shout about it. It’s in a bond and skill of communication. Sometimes it is unspoken indeed; at other times it’s humour. Sometimes their privileges are tampered with; at other times the tone of communication does it. Discipline also can happen in knowing when not to say anything.
What hardest punishment have you meted out to any of them?: Believe it or not, it’s keeping quiet; ignoring them. They will usually trigger a discussion. Parenting in my view is about enabling children to trust themselves, their values and their judgement. It means encouraging them to have and find voice. They can’t do that if I beat or scream it out of them.
On what his kids call non-biological ‘aunts and uncles’: For instance, my children don’t call anyone “auntie” or “uncle.” In our house, everyone has a name and when they meet you, they will find out your name and you will be called by Mr. or Mrs. or Dr. or Chief your name but not “uncle” or “auntie” etc. There is a good reason for that. A lot of child abuse is done by “uncles” and “aunties”; by people who are insinuated into the lives of the children through titles that import authority and familiarity but who should not be in those positions. In my own life also, I have come to the conclusion you can’t hold anyone accountable whom you cannot call by their name. “Uncle” is not a name, it is an institution. The burden of holding an institution accountable for abusing you is too much for a child to bear.
On sending children on errand: I remember when my daughter was seven, my perfectly healthy sister-in-law came to the house, finished eating, sat down and asked her to go take down the plates. My daughter quietly told her to please take her dishes down to the kitchen and wash up and that her dad had warned her against child abuse. I sat quietly through it. My sister-in-law knew better than ask me. The following morning, my sister-in-law left the house. Children deserve respect and a voice. We can’t reduce them to fetching and carrying merely to satisfy the vanities of adults.
On speaking to his children about sex education: Daddying up a daughter is a fascinating experience. In my house, it was my place to explain to my daughter what a period was and to prepare her for it. Her mum was like: no one prepared me for it but my view was, well, that was then. So she said: ‘okay then you go do it.’ We worked out a way to do it. With our son, his mother taught him how to use a condom. For us, sex education is central to living a healthy life and also to being truthful with your children. ”
Read the full interview at
Guys, I think he's going to raise some very solid stand-up individuals but I couldn't help but wonder how many grown folk are ready to have an 8 year old call them by name and ask them to take the dishes to the kitchen themselves and do the dishes. But... His house his rules. 
Which got me thinking, what happens when they're guests in someone else's houses? Do the same rules apply? 
Oh, and teaching a boy how to use a condom... Apostle must hear this! πŸ˜³πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚
But hey, you read the interview, share your thoughts. Great parenting or extreme liberalism? 



  1. I don't even know what to say. They are his kids, he knows them and he handles them the way he deems fit. On whether it's great parenting or extreme liberalism, on one hand Im screaming extreme liberalism on the other hand Im screaming great parenting. One would be surprised that they would turn out good except that they would have a thinking faculty different from the average Nigerian.

  2. I love his style so very much... wish I would be able to adopt this when I have my own children, but I don't think that will be possible since my hubby is a typical "ibile" (local).
    Thelma, the kids don't call people by their names, they call them by their title and name, example Miss Thelma, Dr. Paul etc, instead of the usual uncle, auntie, sister, brother, daddy, mummy etc.
    I really love his way of making the children view the world they live in.

  3. There's a lack of principle for respect and dignity to the elder ones. I believe that is wrong.

    My kids must understand and learn.

    1. For once we have similar views.
      A girl

  4. I was loving every bit of the interview until I got to the part where his daughter couldn't carry the dish to the kitchen is all shades of wrong,this is Africa and Nigeria,not America,and besides,the errand she was sent is within and not outside the house. I guess thats his style,and I hope it doesn't turn or work against him in future.Maybel

    1. He'll probably be left in a care home by these kids when he's old n frail, trust me...

      he's laying his bed and he'll definitely lie on it!

    2. Yea, when I first read this interview yesterday, I thought the day he'll know what he's done to himself is when he'll ask them to get him a cup of water, and they will politely reply that the fridge is but 3 metres away, so he should go help himself.

    3. @anon, you say this because???? And who says he would not prefer to be kept in a good care home so he won't be a "burden" to his kids?

      Meanwhile Maybel, the reason this continent is like this is because of the "this is Africa, or Nigeria. Not America" Mentality. issokay ooo!

      If this is how he wants to raise his kids, by all means! πŸ‘πŸΎπŸ‘πŸΎπŸ‘πŸΎThey are HIS kids! I hope they turn out the way he wants/expects. 😊

  5. On the sending the children on errand issue... I think his children might grow to be frustrated members of society because they would struggle to fit in, and people might struggle to relate to them. That aunty walked away. Another uncle will walk out of their lives. Another cousin will not have a relationship with them. Another lecturer will fail them, and another manager will sack them. His children are not always going to be under the auspices of their daddy and mummy who have imbibed them with values on how to survive in Utopia, forgetting that they are in Nigeria.
    As much as the values of self respect and self worth should be imbibed into the child, the values of respect and service to others should also be imbibed into them.

  6. Is that the meaning of child abuse? asking a much younger child to take out the dishes and wash.
    Then teaching his son how to use condoms?!?! well I hope he taught his daughter how to use female condoms too and when to take postinor/cytotec, or not because babies are really cute and must always be welcome no matter the circumstances surrounding their conception.You can't prepare your son to have sex and then your daughter to abstain ... what is good for the goose etc etc.

    However, I still believe that the end justifies the means. If they turn out great then it's fine.

  7. I am indecisive about this. I like and I don't.....



  8. I don't see the lesson in telling the kids not to go for small errands in the house. Teaching them to be confident must be balanced with teaching them humility. As my child i'll provide you with everything I can,the little you can do is do small errands in the house. They must take responsibility for small errands, that way they will be prepared for bigger responsibilities in the future.


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