The Effect of Parenting on Nation Building

By Hajia Rukayat Jumai Hussein

Being a paper presented at the monthly general meeting of Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA) NBA Gwagwalada Branch Forum on Friday, 17th June, 2022, at the Magistrate Court Complex, Gwagwalada Area Council, Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.


Nation building is an encompassing activity which requires the contribution of all citizens. It is common belief that good citizenship births nation building. Since family is generally accepted as the basic unit of the society therefore, it has a huge role to play in ensuring better citizenry. The family can only contribute to nation building where the role of the family is properly carried out and this largely revolves around good parenting. This work therefore looked into effect of parenting on nation building with a view to unraveling the role of parenting in the development of a nation. In carrying out this work, doctrinal methodology was employed which include using of primary and secondary data such as statutes, dictionaries and encyclopedia on the one hand and journal articles, newspaper publication and textbooks on the other hand respectively. The research revealed that good parenting has enormous role to play in nation building and development. It is recommended that Nigeria should take the role of parents as critical towards ensuring better society.

Keywords: parent; parenting; nation building

Who is a Parent?

The term “parent” appears simplistic but could somehow be problematic. It is simplistic in the sense that we may easily conclude that it is “a term used to refer to couple, or FATHER and MOTHER who have offspring”. As correct as this is, parent is not limited to couples, fathers or mothers. In our traditional settings, parent can easily mean “any sane Adult that has the requisite capacity and competence to care, and correct any child, whether old or young whenever he/she deviates from the norms of the society.” This latter definition shows how difficult it is to limit the meaning of parent to biological father or mother or even couples. It therefore, requires a holistic understanding of the legal definition of parent before proper appreciation of the term or concept as it is.

In England, Section 576 of the Education Act 1996 defines “parent” as:

  • All natural (biological) parents, whether they are married or not;
  • Any person who, although not a natural parent, has parental responsibility for a child or young person;
  • Any person who, although not a natural parent, has care of a child or young person.

From the foregoing, three kinds of parent exist to wit:

  1. Natural or biological parents of a child: this include fathers, mothers, couples, single parent;
  2. Any person with parental responsibility for a child or young person; and
  3. Any person who has the care of a child or young person.

The key distinction between the “b” and “c” above are “parental responsibility” and “care”.

In Nigeria, the Compulsory, Free Universal Basic Education Act, 2004 states thus: 

“Parent” in relation to any child means the person who has the lawful custody of the child and includes a guardian or a person having the care and custody of a child.

The above definition of parent in Nigeria includes guardian, person in lawful custody or person having care or custody of a child.

A person enjoys parental responsibility when he or she assumes all the rights, duties, powers, responsibilities and authority that a parent of a child has by law. These may include being appointed a guardian, foster parent or minder of a child; being named in an emergency protection order (although parental responsibility in such a case is limited to taking reasonable steps to safeguard or promote the child’s welfare) or adopting a child.

What is Parenting?

The Encyclopedia Britannica defines parenting as: the process of raising children and providing them with protection and care in order to ensure their healthy development into adulthood”. The American Psychological Association added its voice when it elucidates on parenting thusly:

Parenting practices around the world share three major goals: ensuring children’s health and safety, preparing children for life as productive adults and transmitting cultural values. A high-quality parent-child relationship is critical for healthy development.

Parenting is the capacity or the activities of bringing up a child as a parent. Parenting is a very tedious and crucial job, most people are ill prepared to undertake properly. Globally parenting is very pivotal in all family setting and by extending building a nation. Hence for any nation to succeed parents have important task to carry out. Parents are to teach, direct, instruct, mode and inform for effective parenting.  Effective parenting goes beyond successful education, career achievements etc of the child hence we have successful parents who has failed in parenting. 

Globally there are different types of Parents and parenting styles which varies from place to place. The factors that determine the variations of Parents and parenting styles include cultural belief, religion, education, economics etc.

Parents by Personality

There are different types of personalities who become parents and the nature of these persons ultimately impacts on the kind of parents they become. From different studies of the personalities of parents, the following kinds of parents have emerged.

  • THE WARD AND JUNE CLEAVER PARENTS: This parent have perfects pep-talk with their children always, it is a mode use to brighten their days. They always teach their children life lessons end up with hugs, there is always strong love and bond between the children and this type of parent.
  • THE PARTY PARENTS: This are happening Parents. They are good at organising and attending parties at the expense of their children and family. 
  • THE WORKAHOLIC PARENTS: These are very busy parents. They are not always around especially in the day time. The children don’t know their parent lifestyle because they leave home very early and return late. No attention and time sacrifice for the children.
  • THE HELICOPTER PARENTS: These are very over protective parents; they desire to know every bit of their children activities, what they do, who are their friends, their school’s activities. This parent are very caring, the design their programs to accommodate their children’s daily activities as well. The feel empty with their children’s absence.
  • THE AWKWARD PARENTS: Usually there should be limit to what parent discuss in the presence of the children. These parents discuss everything in presence of their children. The do things in extreme, especially discussion, their children are not usually proud of them.
  • THE BESTIE PARENTS: They are their children’s best friends. They are very close to their children. There is perfect bond between the parents and the children. Children report all happening and confident is instill in them.

Types of Parenting

Generally, parenting styles are influence by factors such as personality, differential, inheritance, societies, laws, norms, values and Era. The elements that influence parenting include cultural, religion, personality, socio economic background.  Parenting styles include the following. According to children psychologists such as Diana Baumrind, Eleanor Maccoby and John Martin, there are four styles of parenting:

  1. Permissive Parenting 
  2. Authoritative Parenting 
  3. Uninvolved Parenting 
  4. Authoritarian parenting

All these types of parenting have effects of what the child or children turn out to become in the society and ultimately, the type of citizenry the society enjoys.

Permissive Parenting Style:

Parents are warm but lax. They fail to set firm limits, to monitor children’s activities closely or to require appropriately mature behaviour of their children. Children raised with this parenting style tend to be impulsive, rebellious, domineering, aimless, aggressive and low in self-reliance, self-confidence and achievement. Permissive Parenting is also known to as indulgent parenting.

Authoritative Parenting Style:

This parenting style is democratic. The parents are nurturing, responsive and supportive, they give moral, spiritual, social and economic liberty but yet set firm limits for their children. They attempt to control children behaviour by explaining rules, discussion and reasoning. They listen to the children view point though they don’t consent always. Children raised with this style tend to be friendly, energetic, cheerful, self-reliant, self-controlled, curious, cooperative and achievement- oriented

Authoritarian Parenting Style:

They children are expected to obey, strict rules set by parents without giving them reasons. Any attempt for the children to derail from set rules will subject them to harsh punishment without thinking of the consequences. Parents’ expectations are usually very high of the demand on children to excel in all areas of the children’s life. The parents lack the patience to accept and counsel the children whenever the children fall short. Authoritarian parenting styles have negative effects on the mental health of the children. 

Uninvolved Parenting Style:

This parenting style is and hands off, neglectful or dismissive parenting style. Parents are unresponsive, unavailable. Children raised with this parenting style tend to have low self-confidence and seek the assistance of outsider, peer groups, strangers abducting  them as role models to substitute for their neglectful parents.

What is Nation Building?

Nation Building is the creation or development of a nation, especially one that gained independent. Nation Building are important part of modern society. Nation Building don’t just happen by accident, it is a task must be carried out by exemplary men and women with visions and focus. And sustained by institution that promote good governance and socio- economic development. 

Role of Parenting in Nation Building

I am sure some persons among us might be wondering why the choice of this topic. The reason is not farfetched. Nigeria, after 6 decades of its independence has continued to deteriorate from its real form to what I cannot explain. Over the years researchers have identified that certain challenges are contributing factors that hinder nation Building in Nigeria. These challenges are commonly grouped by researchers into 5 main heading, which include; Challenges of History, Challenges of Socio-economic Inequality, Constitutional Challenges, Leadership Challenges and Challenges of Building Institutes for Democracy Development. 

While all the above mentioned challenges affect our growth and development as a nation, an important component of nation building is always left out which is patriotic citizenry. There cannot be patriotic citizenry unless there is purposeful and productive parenting.

At the second national character parenting summit with theme, ‘Nation Building: The Economic Clause Vs. Deliberate Parenting’ organised by Royal Characters and Values Limited (RCV), a social capital development and management company, in 2016, the convener, Mrs. Bosede Olusola-Obasa, said in her remarks that “since parents are crucial to nation building, there is need for them to recognise the responsibility which rests on their shoulders.” She further stressed that:

The quality of every nation is a direct reflection of the quality of her citizens and the quality of her citizens is determined primarily by the quality of the families they come from and the quality of families depends on the quality of parents.

According to Muriel Tillinghast, “the means of stepping up “nation-building” through quality parenting include:

  1. Secure as strong an education for the child as possible giving insight into other cultures and economic circumstances around the world; also, strong in the sciences and mathematics.
  2. Having the child become a master of several languages not just verbal, but with higher level writing and reading capabilities.
  3. Encourage travel, and supervised stays, not as a tourist, but as a volunteer in some program which teaches skills and provides service to a community in some part of the world.
  4. Encourage a broad knowledge of other places, their history, religion and culture with a deep knowledge of selected.
  5. Encourage friendships across racial and cultural lines locally.
  6. Take the child to public forums which will expand his or her insights.
  7. Accustom the child to speaking in public, delivering speeches and asking questions of officials and those responsible for organizational direction and outcomes.
  8. Help him or her to develop a high level of comfort in being around, studying and working with different types of people, people from different places and circumstances.

For proper nation Building, parenting must be taken seriously because exemplary men and women who has the responsibility to build a nation must have good up bring from their home before they are expose into the larger society. 


We shall not have the great nation of our dream in this country unless we have a positive change of attitude by investing heavily in the development of children. This is the most appropriate time, more than ever before, for all and sundry i.e. government policy formulators, academicians, entrepreneurs, philanthropists and business barons to deliberately concentrate efforts and resources on holistic moral, academic, medical and social as well as scientific technological development of every child. We should no longer look down or pay lip service to the issues concerning the development of our children and their welfare. The worth we place on our children determines the kind of investment we place on them.

Children have a part to play in making Nigeria great; they should not consider themselves as too young to contribute their own quota to nation building. They should see themselves as leaders of today and not only of tomorrow, in their schools, homes and among their peers. To achieve this, it must start with positive family life education. As parents, we are to help our children grow in the fear of God so that they can make Nigeria a great country. We are also to help these children embrace national patriotism by mentoring them to become good citizens for nation building.

Thank you.



  • The Child Rights Act
  • The Education Act 1996 (England)
  • Compulsory, Free Universal Basic Education Act, 2004

Journal articles, newspapers publications and internet materials


1 thought on “The Effect of Parenting on Nation Building

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *