Parents have totally failed their children
Exactly five months ago, the biggest song in Kenya was ‘lamba lolo’.
While we danced and watched it on our TV stations, made hashtags, our teens apparently took the advice of the song seriously and today we are all acting surprised that the girls are pregnant.
My question is why are we surprised? Isn’t that what happens after ‘lamba lolo’?
Now, I am pretty sure the conservatives are asking where Ezekiel Mutua and his content watchdog agenda are.
Let me remind you all that banning things only makes them more desirable. The more you make it wrong for people to view things, the more they will find bootleg copies and watch them.
These are not the dark ages where the State felt the need to act as the moral police. It doesn’t work. It is a waste of enormous time, effort and debate to even imagine that censorship is the way to go.
It is a good thing to let our teenagers and young people express themselves. It is how talent is nurtured and how culture and societies change. We all speak Sheng today, yet in the 90s we fought it like smallpox.
The other equally silly idea is that parents should be arrested over teenage pregnancies. That is a cuckoo idea. It is insane.
First of all, teenagers having sex is not a matter that can be wholly handled by the criminal justice system. It is a societal and moral dilemma.
The bitter truth is, parents are unhappy when their children are on holiday. The parents flood social media, asking when schools would re-open.
The parents are terrified of their own progeny and are weirdly comforted when children go to school to meet other equally badly-parented children.
Parents are rarely involved in disciplining their children. They are focused on weekends when they buy food and fun rides for the kids and post on Instagram to tell the world what good fathers and mothers they are.
Parents are as alien to their kids as Trump is to science and logic.
Our children grow like wildflowers; untamed and wild. We expect the teachers to be the educator, counselor, parent and sex educator while insisting they should not touch our children.
Teachers then, who have our kids for most of the year, are easily overworked and overwhelmed. If one child is a terror for you, imagine 40 of them!
The amount of care these children receive is invariably minimal and thus they look for it where they can find it: In each other.
Therefore after the basic biology talk on sex, they refer to porn and each other for advice. (Again for the conservatives, banning what they watch won’t work as they will get it one way or the other). This advice is most likely the same as the ‘lamba lolo’ song.
Now because parents have their heads buried deeply in the sands of career, upward mobility and flashy lifestyles, no one realises that these teens are having sex sans condoms and contraception.
Consequently, pregnancy becomes not the exception but the norm. In fact, it is the good girls who we find pregnant because the others simply abort.
This, my friends, is the reality we are all hiding from and which we must now face, before we declare our own children a disaster as the Britons have.
To throw a spanner in the works, with the high unemployment levels, many teens are convinced the easiest path to wealth is to become socialites. They see people, who have nothing to offer in life other than their bodies, fly first-class all over the world.
They are not fools. They know full well that each “socialite” has a rich benefactor and wonder why they shouldn’t follow suit. After all, education is hard; taking pictures is not.
Doubt me? Refer to the “ifikie wazazi” and you will know what I am talking about.
So what is the solution? To me it is simple. First train parents how to love and be there for their children. Get parents to stop acting like their only role in a child’s life is to pay school fees and plan for outings.
Second give the teens condoms and other contraceptives. Let us face the reality and protect them. Third, let us as a society build role models who are not greedy politicians or socialites. Let us celebrate intellect, hard work and diligence.
Lastly, let us do something about the job market to give young people hope for the future. There is nothing more dangerous than a young person with nothing at hand and nothing to look forward to.
People who believe the future is bright tend to take more care of themselves today. If the future is bright, we may just save this country and its future leaders.
Mr Bichachi is a communication consultant [email protected]
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Parental guidanceDisciplineMoral copcriminal justice systemTeenage pregnancy