SPARE OR WIELD THE ROD: A LITERARY ANALYSIS OF IGBO PARENTING STYLES

Ogechukwu F. U. Chukwuneke, Chinedu C. Ezebube, Chioma M. Akaeze

Abstract


The overriding need to produce responsible adults who will steer the world affairs and maintain a sane society, necessitates the need to study parenting patterns. This is because the outcome of a child has been tied to the method of upbringing. There are basically four parenting styles – the authoritarian, the permissive, the authoritative and the uninvolved. However, these styles do not capture the Igbo parenting methods. Igbo parenting styles can be classified into two namely, wield the rod and the spare the rod methods. These two methods stand in opposition and have come to form a binary pair. Like all binary pairs, they share a hierarchical relationship with wield the rod method privileged over the spare the rod method. This study therefore, examines Igbo parenting styles so as to ascertain if the privileged method is actually better than the subservient one and to determine if parenting is the sole and/or major cause of poor child outcomes. To this end, data are objectively and purposively drawn from five Igbo novels as literature mirrors life. The strategies of deconstruction serve as a premise for analysis. It was observed that the dominant parenting style among the Igbo is wield the rod. It was also realised that the privileged wield the rod method produces both desirable and undesirable results. More so, it was discovered that parenting is only but one of the various factors that can influence the outcome of a child. It is hoped that the study will help parents, especially those of Igbo origin, to take a break from their ideological presumptions and identify an adequate method for parenting their children.


Keywords


parenting, parenting styles, Igbo, literary and deconstruction

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