‘MUMMY CALM DOWN’…THIS IS NEITHER CALM NOR COOL

Sometimes last week, the video went viral of 4 year old boy, the same having been filmed and shared by the mother, Mrs. Toluwaloju Lawal

The child in the viral video was seen to be terrified and pleading with the mother to calm down. The mum was heard saying that the child was in the habit of taking whatever he was told not to take.

The governor of Lagos State has ratified the action of the mother.

The implications of the action of the mum are of diverse dimensions. To do justice to it will require a symposium discussion.

Because I have vowed to desist from writing long posts, I will only make few points and leave the rest to you members of this Family Parliament.

First, my idea of what constitutes discipline does not in anyway agree with what I saw in the viral video.

The root word for discipline is to teach and teaching begins with example. Besides, teaching cannot happen without a curriculum and curriculum must draw it’s foundation from the value system of the family. The seriousness of the commitment of the family to their value system is to reduce same to a Family Constitution.

Therefore caning children or threat to cane makes no sense to me and research has shown that it doesn’t work.

So, if I choose to accept, like the majority has accepted that the content of the viral video constitute a type of disciplinary measure, should I also accept that child discipline is no more a private matter?

If the parents do not feel embarrassed or ashamed about this show, does that mean the 4 year old did not? Could it be the reason why the child asked in amazement towards the end of viral video, ‘mummy, what are you doing, are you videoing me?

Could it be that those who argue that the subject of the viral video is just a child, are colossally oblivious of the fact that a child is a person, who has worth as a reasoning being with the power of choice and who begins to feel shame from roughly age 2?

Again, if I choose the path of those who claim that the child was being disciplined, should I also choose to accept that I do not know that the purspose of discipline is to protect and preserve the child’s dignity of human person?

How is the child’s dignity of human person protected when private matters are brought to public domain like it is done in this viral video?

Should I also accept that child discipline should be equated with a public trial in the court of law open to public viewing, when even if the child has attained the age of criminal responsibility and was in conflict with the law, he can not be tried in public under the Child’s Rights Act, 2003?

If it was a querell or disagreement between husband and wife or even older siblings, would it be acceptable for same to be turned into mini reality show to be filmed and beamed to the public?

If it was a querell between two adults or older children that was filmed, as I mentioned above, would our focus be to bring out the smartness and the negotiating power or acting capacity of one of them or the shamefulness of the show of the unnecessary?

If it was a teacher in a school, who recorded and showed on social media, would this be acceptable to the parents and all of us?

It is possible that this video may become an instigator of bullying against the child from his peers, who may nickname him, ‘mummy calm down’ boy like the media is already doing or ‘crying crying crying boy’?

For those who argue that the mother might have recorded the video to show the child in his later years how he was as a child, what would she want to achieve with that? That being a child and behaving like one is strange enough to be a news item to be stored for the future viewing of the child? And if I accept, without conceding that that was the intention of the mum, now that the video is in the public domain, has that purpose as unnecessary at it is, not been defeated?

The mother of the 4 year old alleged in the video that the child was in the habit of touching what he was warned not to touch, should I pretend that I do not know that it is a clear tenet in child protection that whatever you do not want a child to touch you do not put it where the child can reach it? 

Are we aware as a society of what constitutes an emotional abuse to a child and that the child does not need to understand or feel the act of emotional abuse for him/her to suffer the immediate and future consequences, which is chiefly dehumanisation?

If we laugh over this matter and say the child was funny, are we aware that though it was funny to us on our interpretation, it was not in anyway, a funny moment for the child, who was in fearful expectation of the mother’s usual judgement? 

Could the fact that the child was in fearful expectation of judgement been established by the response of the child in an interview I listened to where the child was asked, ‘is your mother always really angry when she wants to beat you,’ and he responded sharply in the  affirmative?

Though, the mother did not beat or record her beating of the child in the viral video, has the interview referred to above not revealed that the mother was in the habit of beating the child and the child was fearful of the same?

Now, that the governor of Lagos State has glorified the act of the mother on his Instagram page and also further publicising the video and reaching out to the family in commendation, which in my humble judgement is not in the best interest of the child, could it be that the Lagos State Ministry of Youth and Social Development and UNICEF need to organise an urgent and basic sensitisation training for the governor and his cabinet members on the issues of Securing A FRIENDLY and PROTECTIVE Environment® for the precious children of Lagos State under the Child’s Rights Law of Lagos State, 2015(as amended)?

Am I not a jobless fellow, asking a lot of questions on a less than 2 minutes video of a mother and son reality show?

Is this not the point where I should bring this conversation to a close and give room to your own comments as I wish you an INSPIRED week ahead?

Yours IN THE BEST INTEREST OF THE PRECIOUS AFRICAN CHILD,

Taiwo AKINLAMI
The Preacher

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14 comments

  1. Hmmm. You have definitely given us a lot to chew on. We have to act always in the best interest of children.

    Thank you for sharing sir.

    • I have been expecting this blog post since that video went viral sir. Knowing full well that you would give a birds eye take on the Child’s rights and interest.

      Thank you very much for sharing this sir.

  2. My sentiments exactly the first time I saw the video on someone’s status encouraging her to pull it down. A child has been exposed without consent for acts portrayed in the negative. In other climes, this will be termed as abuse and harassment, and any one in possession of the video may even be termed as accomplice. Deploying other means of correction still remain a major learning point for us.

  3. I appreciate the post and the view of the preacher. I differ a bit.
    The boy’s dignity is protected as there was no sign of molestation, dehumanised or subjected to torture, No, no, no. Corrective measures differs such temporary denial of gifts, mild punishment, spoken words etc. In as much as some of us believe in saying” Spare the rod, and spoil the child” we should understand the developmental stages of a child which is influenced by the immediate environment of the child and this could be positive or negative influence. Should parents observed negative behaviour, are we not to employ corrective measures in sharpen the behaviour? Environment differs as what obtain in environment A is different from environment C. In the said viral video the responses of the child to query and gesticulation clearly show the boy’s smartness in escaping punishment either mild or severe. The said mother’s queries shows that the boy’s behaviour towards disobedience is preputial which need serious attention. The fearful behaviour shown by the boy could be deceptive as he constantly engaged the said mother in conversation which clearly showed that he wants to outsmart the said mother. Also, the said mother is tender in query as there was no evidence of cane or objects to suggest dehumanisation. If the boy had not disobey or err he would have query the said mother or question the rationale for correction. Yes, Child rights is important and be respected to the ultimate benefits of the child. Different strokes, for different folks.

    • I quite agree with you on the fact that a child should be disciplined. We are Africans and should not completely adopt the western culture of ‘sparing the rod’ for the undeniable fact that we have African traits and genes in us which can not be substituted for any form of westernanization. However, there is a clear difference in child bullying and discipline. On the contrary, i would not absolutely agree with you. The child’s protection right was trampled upon for the fact there was a discipline process and it was made public. What could the mother be thinking? Aiming to gain cheap popularity at the expense of the child’s dignity by making the child an object of public discourse. I may be wrong but my opinion is the child’s psyche may be affected.

  4. Good morning sir and happy Sunday.

    While I respect your view and I also believe in not sparing the rod, I would ask like the preacher , what was the mother’s intention of making the video in the first place and why has it been a subject of discussion on social media?

    If this were to have been in the UK, the child would have been immediately taken from the mother by Social Services and the police would have arrested her. Apart from the points made about the purpose of disciplining any child or even adult, the root work also connotes discipleship! If this child were to start exhibiting the mothers antics here then other children would be at risk of assault from him. While this Child is being shown to us as being deft and intelligent, there is no visual of the source of how terrified the child was as we have not been shown whether the mother had a cane or similar tool in her hands which got the child scared. The level of fear and desperation only comes from the experience he must have had in time past.
    What has hardened this Child? Could he have acquired certain traits and behavior of the parent? Children learn more from what they observed from us than what we say.

    If the discipline was privately and even if the mother’s plan was to make the child to become well behaved, his emotions has been seriously damaged and while at this stage it may not look like much has happened, watch the relationship between this Child and the mother 10 or 15 years from now and if she doesn’t repeatedly appease this Child and show remorse for this ignorant display of lack of the understanding on human self worth and confidence, the child is like to deeply distrust her and possibly be an additional problem to the Society.

    My prayers are that the child would be healed and overcome the challenges in life that the mother’s actions here will birth.

    My parents brought me up with strong hands and I lived in the boarding house from Nursery School to post secondary education. It hardened me until I met my Redeemer! I found it so hard not to flip and fight at little provocation and it’s all stems from the level violence I grew up with. Might was always Right in my view until adulthood. It affected my own perception of Child discipline as well until I started getting more information and exercising self control.

    Please sir, believe me also that physical violence at times doesn’t leave worse wounds and scars than emotional violence.

    God bless and happy new month 🙏

    God save the Nigerian Child 🙏

    • Hi Emma,

      I equally lived in the boarding house in Nursery School in Ibadan over 100km from my parents living at Lanlate, Eruwa in the late 70s until my grandmother (God bless her soul) visited my parents and was enraged when she heard I was in boarding school at age 5. It was based on her insistence I was withdrawn the next week. On my side I still have vivid images of the hostel matron, the maltreatment, exploitations, neglect and unhygienic acts I witnessed as a child and how staff of the school whitewashed their activities and pretended all was well whenever parents visited. I recalled we were often threatened not to say negative things about the school to our parents. So terrifying.

      Why I am opening up like this is that hearing your experience, I can picture and imagine how it must have been like because u know if I hadn’t been withdrawn from that school I would have turned out destroyed socially and maybe mentally as well. Those first 7 years of a child’s life are the formative years.

      Thank God for Christ’s redemption.

  5. Words from the child like,”dont let it be hot”…and The strong survival instinct of the child tends to suggest that it was a scenario the boy was too familiar with.
    Flogging appear to be a normal occurrence.
    Most parents would record milestones and achievements but recording this is somewhat off. Perhaps the parents may be able to explain better

  6. I am really happy for your long awaited response.
    Some people just take things and some actions for granted.

    All sorts of comments that was not palatable to the ears.
    Even some adults need to be given instructions severally on how to behave, what do or what not to do repeatedly.
    Then the mother, talking to a 4year old like an adult.

    * Did she teach him*?

    *What does she do in his presence*?

    If I may ask, what is the Governor rewarding?

    Thanks for sharing sir.

  7. Thankyou the preacher for your ineffaceable passion for the total well being of the African child. As much as I do not entirely concur to the preacher’s opinion on totally sparing the rod. We adopt western lifestyles neglecting the fact we are not western by traits. For instance Take a local breed dog and an American breed, they would react differently to the same situation. It is not just the fault of the African child that Africa is its heritage. That not withstanding the child should be treated with dignity. There is a clear difference between discipline and bullying. The mistake most parent make is that they instill fear in thier children rather than imbibe discipline. If a child would not carry out an act in your presence and the same child does that in your absence, it is called fear not discipline. Fear will ruin a child’s self esteem. In my own opinion ‘ ‘calm down’ boy’s mother public drama may have a negative impact on the innocent boy’s dignity and self esteem. Just like it has become an argument on social media. the boy becomes an object of discourse in his environment with people reacting to the situation on thier different opinions. For a boy of that age? it is too much to handle. God bless the preacher

  8. Thank you so much for this post sir. I really wish that parents can come to the understanding that flogging is not discipline rather rebuking the child in love and living outrightly by example to the child. I hope the child will get a counselor, for this will affect his self esteem and dignity. I also hope people will know the implication of what they post on social media before posting it.

  9. Thank you Mr Akinlami for always being our voice. I truly wonder why a family matter should become a public one and the motive behind it.

  10. Thanks for this writeup, but the video shows nothing like molestation or abusive content. Many Africans looked up to the trash given to them by western world and nobody complained because the trash painted beautifully; it just like a joke by displaying the way the boy acted when ever the mother about to scold him. I know we are in the world that a child will call is mother BITCH, WITCH, CRAZY and if the mother dares him/her the mother will face the court,,,,,,,,,hell know! it can’t happen in Africa. Mind you I actually understood the point of the writer but not totally.

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