If you don’t LOVE Life, Do NOT CREATE LIFE: True Confessions of an ACE adult (Part 1):

What is ACE? Good question!!
ACE stands for Adverse Childhood Experience(s).

What I wish someone told my mother before she had children: “If you do not love life, do not create life.” (Youtube Comments Section)

“Bad parenting is a health crisis. If you have stable, well adjusted, loving parents. You don’t know how lucky you are…” (Youtube Comments Section)

“The worst thing about abusive parenting, is the parents many times don’t realize they’re abusive. This is why I believe every new parent should take a parenting class to understand child psychology.” (Youtube Comments Section).

I would encourage you to stop here to watch Dr. Nadine Burke Harris’ Ted Talk on youtube: How childhood trauma affects health across a lifetime.

Welcome Back!!

According to Dr. Harris: ACE is:

1. Physical, emotional, or sexual abuse

2. Physical or emotional neglect

3. Parental mental illness, substance dependence, and incarceration

4. Parental Separation or divorce

5. Domestic violence

For every yes for any of the above you get a point on your ACE score.

My ACE score is a 7. I encourage to stop here to calculate your own ACE score.

My childhood background:

I am the fifth child of two US-trained professionals. My father is a retired college professor and my mother is a retired nurse. I hate that I am revealing my family like this, but I must because I want parents or future parents like yourselves to learn from my parents’ mistakes.

First, my parents both grew up in a Nigerian society that treats children as sub-humans who can be maltreated or man-handled anyhow by adults. Some of my sibling are childhood victims of extreme physical abuse. The Nigerian mentality is children must be beaten to shape or they will become insubordinate members of society, at least this is how I saw childhood in Nigeria. My father was extremely maltreated in his childhood. Unfortunately, he perpetrated the same pattern of abuse unto his children.

My paternal grandfather was a married man to three wives. My father’s mother died at a young age which left my father and his two siblings at the mercy of two stepmothers. One of my father’s stepmother attempted to poison him at a young age. A few years after my father lost his mother, he eventually lost his father.  My father grew up into adulthood as an orphan. Thankfully, my father’s eldest brother stepped up, and provided for my father from a young age. My father’s childhood was turbulent. Which leads me to lesson number 1: Believe it or not, your childhood has an impact on your life. If you had a turbulent childhood, you must make a conscious decision that your children will not through the same experience, as you did. You MUST HEAL FROM YOUR Childhood. There is a saying that abuse people abuse other people. Hurt people hurt others. If you do not deal with the pain from your past or childhood, you may subject your children to the same pattern of abuse.

Interesting Plug: my father wrote a book about his life if you are interested in reading more. Hit me up! The book is not free! You must buy the book. Let me know at [email protected]

My mother’s childhood experiences are still unknown or not clear to me. My maternal grandmother was given up for marriage at an incredibly young age like 16 or 17. My grandmother became a mother at a young age. My mother does not talk about her past even to her own children. We rarely know what happened in her childhood. The lack of disclosure to her own children could be an indication that it was not all good. Or maybe it was, I do not know.

Turbulence plus turbulence = ACEs for the children (solely my opinion).

Future parents, you can change the trajectory of your children’s lives through self-awareness. You must be aware that your past informs your future. You must be proactive to change history. Because your mother or father abused you does not mean you have to follow the same trend for your own children. ACE is real.

Back to Dr. Burke Harris, there is a correlation between ACE score and health outcomes. The higher the ACE score, the worse the health outcome. “67% of the population have at least one ACE. 12.6% of the population have at least 4 or more ACEs” (Dr. Harris). The person with an ACE score of 4 or more has a relative risk of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease two and a half times that of someone with an ACE score of zero. For Depression, also 4 and half times, that of someone with an ACE score of zero. For suicidality, it was 12 times that of someone with an ACE score of zero. A person with an ACE of 7 or more has triple the lifetime risk of lung cancer and three and a half times the risk of ischemic heart disease. The number one killer in the United States (Dr. Harris).

Remember, I said my ACE score was a 7. According to Dr. Harris, I have triple the lifetime risk of lung cancer and three-and-a-half-times risk of ischemic heart disease. ACEs is not a joke, people.

How has ACEs influenced in my life? Well, you must wait for Part II to find out.

4 Present/Future Nigerian Parents

I laugh as I watch this video of our Nigerian Parents but deep down I am scared that some of us will use this parenting style to raise our kids.
A lot of Nigerians children including myself were raised with an authoritarian parenting style.

I learned in college that there are four types of parenting styles:

1. Authoritative: Here the parent set rules and boundaries. The parent is responsive and nurturing and the parent is less likely to control their kids by induction of shame, guilt or withdrawal of love (Source)
2. Authoritarian: Parents are very strict with their kids (Most Nigerians can relate)
3. Permissive: Parents act as a friend towards their kids.
4. Uninvolved: Parents don’t care about the child.

Source: http://blog.lib.umn.edu/meyer769/myblog/2011/11/the-four-types-of-parenting-styles.html

I grew up with parents who used authoritarian parenting style and I have seen its damaging effects. It scares me that more Nigerians couples and future parents will use this parenting style without questioning it.

I am pleading with you present/future Nigerian parents to use a different parenting style because an authoritarian parenting style doesn’t help kids develop emotionally. Based on my observation of myself and siblings, I can say this parenting style has different effects on children. For me, I noticed that I became emotionally distant from the people I love. Agreed, this parenting style produces obedient children but at the cost of their emotional development.

This parenting style produces negative results because God created parents to be nurtures not dictators. You can discipline your kids without withdrawing love from them. A lot of Nigerians think that discipline is a form of love and I completely agree, but discipline is not the only form of love.

Providing for your kids financially caters to their physical needs not their emotional needs. Nigerians parents, your kids need to know and feel loved by you. I knew my parents loved me by their actions but they didn’t do much to make me feel loved. This is why I hate this parenting style because it focuses more on discipline and neglects the emotional needs of children.

You need to balance the discipline with love. You need to make sure that your children feel loved. Cater to their emotional needs because it is important. You need to hug, kiss your child, talk and play with your children regularly this will help them with their emotional needs. Once in a while sit down and have a communication with them without scolding.

Again, your children knowing you love them is not enough; you need to physically hug, kiss, talk and play with your children to help them develop emotionally. Be affectionate towards your children. Children are a gift from God, enjoy the journey.

Rule of thumb: As the discipline goes up, the love needs to go up as well.

In summary: Discipline your kids and still be affectionate because it is important for their emotional development. 

Love and MEN..

I was reading Genesis 25 and I realized something.
Ladies, if a man loves you, he will love your kids as well.

Genesis 25:1-5
1. Abraham again took a wife, and her name was Keturah.
2. And she bore him Zimran, Jokshan, Medan, Midian, Ishbak, and Shuah.
3. Jokshan begot Sheba and Dedan. And the sons of Dedan were Asshurim, Letushim, and Leummim.
4. And the sons of Midian were Ephah, Epher, Hanoch, Abidah, and Eldaah. All these were the children of Keturah.
5. And Abraham gave all that he had to Isaac.
6. But Abraham gave gifts to the sons of the concubines which Abraham had; and while he was still living he sent them eastward, away from Isaac his son, to the country of the east.

Abraham had children from other women but as you can see..
He loved Issac more than all his other children.
As you read the old testament, you will see this trend.

The same is true for men today,
a man who loves a woman will marry her and care more for the children she bares him.

I heard about this lady who thought she was the only child, but as she grew older..
she discovered she had a lot of step brothers and sisters.
Unfortunately, she was the only child her father fathered. This should tell us something women..

Sleeping with a man and having his baby doesn’t mean NOTHING.
If he didn’t love you before the baby,
he wouldn’t love you after the baby..
it’s really a gamble if he will love your child.
There are rare cases that a man will step up and take care of his responsibilities even if he doesn’t love the woman.

As we can see,
LOVE is very important.
Abraham gave all he had to the child he loved and on top of that sent all the other kids eastward away from his precious Issac.

Ladies, we have to do our kids a favor and marry men who love us.
Again, if he didn’t love you before you had kids, he wouldn’t love you after kids..
Plus, it’s a coin toss if he will love your kids.