Document Type



This qualitative study describes the childrearing practices among the Igbos of Eastern Nigeria, and offers implications for social work and educational services for African immigrants raising families in the United States. First objective for the study was to ascertain how rural Igbos of Eastern Nigeria raise their children from birth to age eight years of age. Second objective was to determine parent's concept of reward and punishment, how gender role is communicated, and what constitutes parental expectations from successful parenting. Method: Focus group discussions with 400 men and women in 20 villages from five rural Local Government Areas (counties) of Eastern Nigeria between July 1994-August 1995. Results: Four major themes emerged from interview analysis as follows: Nurturance practices; child rearing concerns; control practices; and desirable qualities in a child. Proper feeding was used to convey affection and love, but mothers do not praise their children in public. Control practices were scolding, calling of names in anger, and facial expressions. Spanking/ caning is used when the child is older. Parents believe that spanking causes no harm; rather, it prevents the child from losing focus in life. Parenting is viewed as a responsibility of the extended family group, and not for the immediate biological parents. Children are taught to be obedient, respectful and to abide by the mode of the culture. Conclusion: Parenting style of new African immigrants may create family tension and conflict in a Western society where group parenting is not practiced, and where children are raised to be assertive and independent, and where caning and spanking might be defined as child abuse.

Publication Date


Journal Title

International Journal of Global Health





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©2003 International Journal of Global Health



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Public Health Commons



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