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Is coercive parenting practiced by African cultures the reason for the lack of innovative African youth?

i am an African and i am currently living in the U.S.A and so far what i find most moving and inspiring is the innovative spirit which the American youth have. .Every time i ask someone what they want to do with their lives i get interesting answers about these different profession where as back home all i hear is the same old things such as accountant, lawyer, teacher etc.i did some research as to why this is so and the one sticking point i found was the difference in the parenting style.i is the coercive parenting style practiced in many African homes the reason for the lack of innovation in Africa and the reason for the slow economic growth experienced by many African countries ?

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  • Sep 9 2013: Then again we mgiht ask is coersive or non-coercive parenting practiced by American parents the cause ofthe lack of innovative American youth.
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      Sep 9 2013: this is an interesting point George,

      It's what I found to be the main problem in terms of the scope of the question and I tried my best to address that in a post down below.

      But I wonder what kind of conversation we might be able to have when looking at something as specific as what the OP asked. How does a varying predisposition of a child impact his/her reaction to coercive or non-coercive parenting?...we might ask.
      We can consider the following situations:

      1) A child emotionally sensitive toward aggressive parenting with an non-coercive parent(s)
      2) A child unscathed/unemotional/neutral toward aggressive parenting with non-coercive parent(s)
      3) An child hostile toward aggressive parenting with non-coercive parent(s)

      1) A child emotionally sensitive toward aggressive parenting with coercive parent(s)
      2)A child neutral toward aggressive parenting with coercive parent(s)
      3) A Child hostile toward aggressive parenting with coercive parents(s)

      Considering only the variables of hostility, neutrality, and responsiveness to coercive and non-coercive parenting we can see how complex the situation really is. Which of the children with the right combination of predispostition and circumstance are most likely to flourish? Even at this point it's impossible to say. Enter in the multiplicity of variables that surely contribute to personality, socioeconomic values, and both ethnic and nationalistic cultural values and you have pretty cumbersome project on your hands. When considering the complexity of Human identity you can always expect a reductionistic argument to have problems
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        Sep 10 2013: Like many of the TED conversations, this one appears to be multi-faceted, and can be discussed on many levels.

        Generalizations, when it comes to issues such as this one, are usually not a good thing.

        As an educator, I have seen children flourish despite coercive parents. I also know parents who are coercive with one child and not another......almost like they feel a need to treat one child with threats in order to get them to act.........while the other child is left to their own device because they are independent and focused.

        This is a most interesting topic.
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          Sep 10 2013: Mary,

          It is very interesting indeed.

          As an educator, how do you approach teaching students that you have realized have issues at home?
      • Sep 10 2013: Good points while I don't know about parenting in Africa this certainly may be applicable to parenting in America, too.
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        Sep 10 2013: Hi Shawn, thank you for the interchange....

        You know, oftentimes a little bit of empathy goes a long way.

        Like adults, children may not know that their emotions and feelings are theirs to control.
        So, as an educator, at the elementary level, I have been trained and have been supplied with a lot of resources to help little ones who have issues.

        Children are very special. If a teacher provides them with a nurturing environment in the classroom, and respects their dignity, this little bit of encouragement and kindness may go a long way.

        Even for the 10 months we have a student, we are able to make an impact.............sometimes the child realizes the impact we have made on their lives many many years after the fact Shawn.

        One of the worst cases I have ever had to deal with was the child of a military dad.
        He treated the child with such severity, that each time we would be administering tests in school, the child would throw up. The child knew that anything less than an A would be unacceptable.
        After speaking with the mom, and attaining knowledge of what was causing the vomiting, I had to refer the situation to the school psychologist.

        Sometimes I am able to help, other times, in the child's best interest, I have had to pass the information further on down the line.
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        Sep 10 2013: Oh, here is a talk that kind of shows you what some of us do in the classroom.
        Have you seen it?

        http://www.ted.com/talks/rita_pierson_every_kid_needs_a_champion.html
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          Sep 10 2013: Mary,

          Wow. Your example is heart-dropping. I have to thank you for being an educator who has a passion for both child-learning and child-well being. You are truly making an impact on the lives of others and I hope to someday follow in your footsteps.

          One of my main interests is education reform and I hope to apply my planned graduate work in Philosophy and cognitive science to the field.

          How do you balance your position as an educator to a large class and a nurturer to individuals? It's surely impossible to give every student the attention they deserve in light of the circumstances of our schools, but the effort is what matters. If I were to become a high school teacher, for example, and I had a class of 50 students who ranged from receptive to rebellious personality-wise, what advice would you give in establishing respect for the entire class without burning bridges by seeming authoritarian? Also, how to do you approach students who don't want your help or, probably more likely at the elementary level, parents who don't want your help?
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        Sep 12 2013: Hi Shawn,

        I 'm glad you are able to glean some sort of lesson from my experience.

        I will share this........being a teacher in an elementary school affords me the opportunity to work with the same group daily, for an entire 10 months. Unlike high school, where you teach several classes a day, elementary school teachers can have a really big impact on the young ones because of the enormous amount of hours we spend with them.

        As for establishing respect Shawn, it is really hard for me to put into words.
        I think that if you want respect, you have to give respect. Respect is something you earn, you don't demand it of anyone, especially students.

        It has been my experience that kids usually know who is deserving of their respect, and who isn't.....it's like they have a sixth sense......

        As for students who don't want help, or parents who don't want help, well, I have always respected other's free will. Tact is very important when dealing with children with issues.

        In the elementary school we deal with hygiene issues (lice, dirty finger nails, etc...), I have also had children who have had rotted teeth......from eating candy 24/7.......sometimes parents just don't realize their kid is eating candy at 8:00 in the morning......yes, believe it or not, I have been known to blow the whistle of candyholics.........being a teacher is a very wonderful career choice.........oftentimes, you learn as you go.........there are a lot of books out there Shawn. With time comes a wealth of experience, and a lot of it is trial and error. It's not one size fits all...........You have to be a people person, and take a personal interest in each individual, in order to really be effective. For the caring teacher, this is a labor of love.

        I hope I did not ramble.......I'm a very passionate educator.....I love what I do......I hope you are able to use some of what I have shared with you my young friend. :)
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    Sep 7 2013: Although I cannot speak for African adolescents, I can try and give a bit of my experience of the phenomena you're speaking about here in California. Although there are many reasons, and most definitely parenting is one of them, specific class' conception of success and cultural values (both ethnic and nationalistic) play a large role on the identity of individuals and their aspirations.

    This topics warrants extensive study in psychology, sociology, and anthropology but i'll try give you the gist of what i'm getting at.

    I don't think we can necessarily argue that specifically coercive parenting impacts child innovation, the line of causation would be inconclusive, although i'm sure it does have some impact on individuals. What we can look is the the specific culture and the parent/child relationship values it has. In terms of coercive parenting, it is probably safe to say that rates vary by culture. For example, as a Hispanic and although my parents we're never hostile toward me, have heard extensively about the hostility of many of my peers parents. But even here, we cannot really draw conclusions. Some of my friends, whom were hit or screamed at consistently, had absolutely no spite toward their parents while others were driven into complete revolt because of their repulsion of their (arguably) abusive parents.

    Again, this is still too inconclusive.

    What we can look at, and what a Professor and a few colleagues of mine are working on for Research in psychology, are the Cultural conceptions of success; at the level of ethnicity or heritage, the culture of success demographically (ex. born in Los Angeles, what is wealthy or successful?), and at the level of the state.

    At the macro-level, it seems that education choices have been impacted by economic need; more students view university education as a career path.
    Innovative majors in the arts or humanities are abandoned because of the monetary value of the degree.

    Many more examples.
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    Sep 9 2013: Thato, on a question like this, I like to look for what scholarly research on the subject might shed, because this subject has not been neglected in those circles. Here is one example: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0092656698922401

    I did not check whether you can read the article for free, but often once you have the title, you can search under that and find a version with free public access.
  • Sep 8 2013: I think you are right. We Africans have been unable to get out of the same old stereotype, of go to school, become a lawyer, a doctor, a teacher, an engineer. Our upbringing has been one that you grow up to be employed, make some money, help someone back home. I think we should change that culture, bring up our kids in a way that they are able to think independently and come up with innovations. We need to change our parenting style.
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      Sep 8 2013: Felix,
      It is very similar here in California in my experience. A majority of my university class are pre-med and business majors. Very cookie-cutter like choices.
      Although when you speak to them they aren't as content as they seem. Most admit that social pressures geared them toward it, others see professional degrees as the only road to success even when they have a passion for art or writing. Economic and social pressures play a huge role in at least perceived innovation. Most students are intrinsically creative but have had that drilled out of them.
      My parents were supportive of me studying philosophy and wanting to go into academia, for example, but both my peers and extended family had the all too familiar condescending concern of "How are you going to make money doing that."
      This is a widespread cultural issue. Not only an ethnic one. A problem of the culture of globalization and monetary assessments of value. It's no longer "How great was your education and how has it impacted your identity and how you can contribute to society" but "How much did your degree cost and how much will it pay back. :
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        Sep 9 2013: Could I ask which university you attend, or in roughly which part of California?
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          Sep 9 2013: As of now I'm attending the University of La Verne.
          Why do you ask?
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        Sep 9 2013: I asked because people usually have a much more distinct feel for the culture of the school with which they are affiliated than with other schools or with schools in general. Not all schools have very similar cultures, even in the same country or state.

        I am aware of having a pretty current view of some schools, or some kinds of schools, and very little information about others. So when someone offers a snap shot of his school, I think it broadens my perspective to know which it is or which type it is.
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          Sep 9 2013: Very true. It seems that the generalization I made applies to most public institutions, correct me if i'm wrong. This is not to argue that there aren't tons of humanities students at public schools

          As for private institutions, though, each does have much more of a range of personalities. Liberal Arts schools, from what I've seen, have much less of a cookie-cutter culture. A school like Occidental College in Eagle Rock, California or The Claremont Colleges tend to emphasize that "quirks" and "idiosyncratic" traits among the masses of picture-perfect students on paper hold much more sway. The aforementioned words being directly on their essay prompts for high school admissions.

          I'm not sure that this hurts my claim, though. Couldn't it be argued that demographic tendencies reflect not the college culture in itself, but the types of students likely to apply and be accepted? We have this type of cultivation of culture in other institutions as well.

          There are probably very few profession-minded students applying to Swarthmore or Reed College for example, and the aggregation of these types of students creates a more individualized and humanistic cultural climate in contrast with general student populations at very large or very un-specialized institutions.
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        Sep 9 2013: You go to one small private institution. I think it would take some evidence gathering for you to be able to draw reliable conclusions about schools other than your own, or types of schools other than your own.
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          Sep 9 2013: My school happens to fall under the generalized category I was speaking about.. about 50% business majors and 15 % bio pre med. If anything I'm biased against my own school, I'm planning on transferring In the spring

          I also presented you with 4 liberal arts examples which are pretty much generalizations for all liberal arts schools. I don't know of one liberal arts school that has predominantly business majors. The reason I'm using business as an example is because the original poster wondered about the trend for professional careers rather than creative ones.

          As for data on public institutions, you don't have to look very far for the percentage of students by major.
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      Sep 8 2013: I'm also weary of the impact social responsibility roles within specific cultures.. and this is just incredibly unfortunate..I have friends who sacrificed their high school education because of a perceived obligation to pay for his families bills.. went into the workforce indefinitely. A 4.0 student as a high school junior amd who loved physics.
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    Sep 7 2013: As most of us on TED do not have experience with African parenting, could you be more specific in your description?

    In terms of creative dispositions and creative achievement, research suggests authoritarian parenting is the most destructive.