Friday, February 4, 2011

African Infant Precocity...Blame your Parents

Developmental Psychologists have carried out researches and have proven that at infancy, Africans develop faster in mental and motor skills than their western counterparts. This continues until early childhood where the reverse becomes the case. Eventually western children catch up with the same developmental quotient as africans and eventually surpass us. This has been known as African Infant Precocity. Precocious: unusual rapid development. The cause is still debatable but I have insights.

If you grew up and schooled in Nigeria then you are probably going to be familiar with the passage, "Edet lives in Calabar. He is 8 years old. Every morning he goes to school but in the afternoon he stays at home. He likes to read..." After the passage there were questions that followed, due to the innate curiosity of children those were not the questions we needed answers to. I remember saying to an adult once, "I want to visit Edet in Calabar because he is my friend." Instead of the adult to be honest with me and provide an answer that would aid my abstraction with fiction. I was constantly being told, "Edet has gone to school and that's what you should also be doing". With my current level of awareness I can make a tentative statement that the drop of the growth rate in African's developmental quotient is due to the adults around us [especially our parents]. Instead of embedding knowledge that would enable children cope in this world they imbibe selective ones that would enable us cope in their world [and make their lives easier].

I remember asking once, "How come people become dumb?" The reply I got was, "When everyone is born they are given specific number of words they can say in their lifetime. If you talk too much you use of all your words and become dumb." In other words all I was being told was to stop being a talkative and it worked. For the next couple of weeks or more I was quiet and well behaved. My peers would be 'making noise' and I would say, "You are wasting your words, do you want to become dumb?". I remember I [foolishly] asked the same person why people become deaf and the reply was, "When people do not hear what that were told to do and start misbehaving they become deaf. There are specific number of times a person can misbehave by hearing the wrong things and that was the outcome once when they exceeded it." That was also said to make me 'behave'. I could guess what the answer would have been if I had asked why some women were barren.One fact is children are inquisitive and parents can not always provide answers and in most times they end up providing one that was wrong and not intellectually stimulating. The human brain grows the fastest during childhood and stops growing by the age of five so it is necessary for adults to utilise this by providing the children with adequate information. I had a discussion with few friends about those questions children ask and answers they got and it became evident, if you leave learning to parents you'll not learn. When a five year-old girl ask the parent 'Where did I come from?' and the mum talks about fairies and garden. Don't be surprise if the daughter walks up to you and talks about how she allowed a boy to play in her garden.It's sad enough Nigeria is a developing country but intelligence has no boundary. Even if the society deprive us parents shouldn't. Just the way generations ago enriched the minds of their children with stories, parents today should provide everything necessary to stimulate their children's mine. Let African precocity exist till death.


  1. Africa should discover the real reasons why we dnt stay ahead all through


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