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How I Taught My Nigerian Mother To Display Affection

Traditionally in Nigeria, parents don’t tend to display their love through physical affection or words of affirmation and the same was true for my parents. As natives of a developing country, they were more concerned with ensuring that the basic needs of our family were met, so they showed their love by providing for us, as was the custom in our culture. 

As long as we were fed, clothed and provided with a good education, they were fulfilling their duties and as beneficiaries of their hard-earned money, we ought to be grateful. My parents regarded saying ‘I love you’ as a western concept because it wasn’t a practice they were raised with.

In their upbringing, it was customary for lots of extended family members to live in the same home and with so many people around, they didn’t spend much time being physically affectionate as it would have been considered awkward. They raised us using the same blueprint and as a result, this lack of verbal and physical affection was passed down.