How I teach my children to Love

Eyin temi,

Hope y'all are having a good week. Remember I told you I reached out to 2 of my friends to share love stories (click here if you missed the post), today's post is a guest post by my friend, Zarah, who's married with 2 beautiful children.  I hope you enjoy it.

Growing up in 90’s Nigeria, the word ‘Love’ was implied in almost all parent-child relationships. There were no public declarations of love from your parents either because the mere sight of you made their heart swell or because you’ve made some incredible achievement in your life and they’re simply bursting with pride. They just never said it, but you knew it was there.  That was the bro code, or shall I say; the fam code. LOL

You knew it was there because you could see the sacrifices they constantly made for you and the fierce way in which they protected you from all forms of evil (i.e. maths teachers who caned the crap out of you for not memorising your times tables up to 12; Mr. Oduola, I will find you and I will make you pay for all those canings, if it’s the last thing I do) I kid.

As a child, obviously, I didn’t understand sacrifice and protection, but as a young adult, I saw all the things that my parents deprived themselves of for me and my siblings and the love I had for them grew even fonder. But not to the point where I actually said it to them, I mean they KNOW I love them now. Abi?

Now as a adult, I can psychologically diagnose myself as being both emotionally challenged and emotionally secure at the same time. Stay with me, I know I sound positively certifiable but you’ll soon see what I mean, and maybe even relate to what I’m saying if you’re honest with yourself.

I am naturally incapable of being that mushy-lovey-dovey person; in fact, those people irritate me. You see this person right here?

Yeah, the weirdo with the broom? That’s me. 
I’m not evil, I swear, I’m just not one of those people who get a release of Dopamine (or whatever it is the scientists call it) when they hug others. Except when I hug my kids and babies; babies are delicious lol.  It just feels awkward and like someone is invading my personal space. Especially those people who you’ve literally just met and they’re already hugging you and blowing air-kisses- ‘uhh do I know you?’ I mean it’s nice to meet you and everything but surely it’s not THAT nice? Or maybe I am evil. Meh!

On the other hand, I am so emotionally secure that I’ve been incredibly blessed to not be one of those people who thrive off of the love of the people around them. In fact, I think I have become quite selfish because of this; I automatically assume that no one needs to be regularly assured that they are loved. Hence, I don’t tell the people I love that I LOVE them. See? I told you it would make sense in the end.  Now, I would never place my inabilities and shortcomings completely at my parents’ footsteps, because my parents are AWESOME. But, they’re not perfect and they definitely made mistakes, just like every human being does.  I won’t blame my parents for my weirdo behaviours because something has to be said for the nature/nurture argument. I am who I am because of genetics and upbringing.  Now nature, you can’t change, but you can choose to nurture differently.

Which is why as a young mother, I find myself saying to my kids very often that I love them. Not because I feel like I HAVE to, but because I really do love them and I 5don’t want them to struggle with emotional challenges when they grow up. I want them to know that saying I LOVE YOU isn’t THE most important thing in a relationship, but that it IS an important part of it. I remember that episode of Grey’s anatomy where Derek and Meredith are writing their wedding vows on a sticky note, and one of them says “That we love each other, even when we hate each other” and I think; wow that is incredibly meaningful.  

P.S: I will NEVER forgive you for killing all the McDoctors, Shonda. R.I.P Mcdreamy and McSteamy. LOL

Anyway, this is what I want for my children; to know that saying THE words every day can become meaningless and mundane but it is the import of those words that they need to hold dear. I want them to understand that some people need re-assurance more than others and thus they should be sensitive to that. And finally, I want them to know that those who seem to need that re-assurance are not weak, or needy, or insecure; they are just a gradient in that incredibly wide spectrum that is known as human character. 

Sharing is caring guys: share memories of growing up and what those memories have taught you about love and if you have children, share how you teach them to love. 

You can find Zarah blogging about modern parenting, Islamic values and  the African culture on her blog:


  1. This is beautiful, lovely and rich post. Thank you Zarah for sharing this and thanks Fehintola for sending it to me, I LOVE IT. I always tell my kids I love them with lots of hugs and kisses. I also tell them to say I love you to one another especially after a fight.

    1. Thanks for reading Kenny. I appreciate your support. I think it's great that you tell them to say 'i love you' after a fight, growing up in the 90's wasn't like that for so many Nigerian siblings.

  2. Spoiler alert? Derek died!? Noooo!!! Good write up

    1. Lmao!!! Ada, you still watch Grey's Anatomy? I gave up after season 3 and I think that was while we were serving.

      Thank for reading and the support babes! Muah!