Growing up with African parents abroad was difficult to say the least. Most of the things my American counterparts could do was considered taboo in my home. If I wanted to become anything other than a doctor, lawyer, or engineer I was a shame to the family. I couldn’t get my nails done. I couldn’t go for sleepovers. I could not talk back or “speak my mind.” I couldn’t dress any how I wanted. And this was just the icing on the cake.
When it came to guys the level of strictness is unexplainable. My mother never had “the talk” with me. It was a mutual understanding that there was no such thing as a boyfriend in our house. The only boyfriend my parents have ever met is my husband! And even him they met on my graduation day! I was not allowed to give guys a hug. I was not allowed to call boys and boys were not allowed to call me! I couldn’t have guys as my friends talk less of a boy friend.
Now that I am an adult I can laugh about everything. Missing parties and not wearing short shorts didn’t kill me. These things seem so tiny and unimportant. I understand that my parents mean well. They wanted to make sure that I grew up to be the best person I could possibly be. Being strict with me was the only way they knew how.
However, as a young girl things like parties and clothes were so huge! It was frustrating explaining to my friends why I had to be home at a certain time and why I couldn’t go to all the events that they went to. It was annoying knowing that I would literally have to beg to go to any outing when my counterparts simply told their parents where they were going and did as they pleased.
The culture difference for a young girl was a lot . At the time I felt that my parents were being too strict. I resented them. I felt they just didn’t understand me because they were AFRICAN. Now that I look back at the situation I realize they were just looking out for my best interest. They wanted to make sure I didn’t get invovled with the wrong group of people. They wanted to make sure that I succeeded in life. They wanted to make sure that I had a better life than they did.
Growing up with African parents was tough but I wouldn’t change it for the world.