1. The bad: Corrupt teens
It is unheard of that corruption might be a problem in your children, right? However, this vice that has gripped the country has also got hold of children in schools, thanks to parents. Your child is slowly learning how to be corrupt if the child can only work when they have been promised some material gain.
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How parents influence this: This happens through bribery between parents and the students. It is good to give your children incentive to work sometimes, but when it gets to the point where they cannot work without monetary or material gain, it becomes a problem. It has reached the point where the students will even try to bribe the teachers, asking them, things like, “If I do this, what will you do for me?” So the student is not driven by doing good, but by the proceeds of doing good.
What you can do: Instill in your child the value of doing things for their own good. According to Pauline Mugambi, Principal, Stepping Stone Senior School, Thika it is a parent‘s duty to teach their children to do right because it is the right thing to do, be it physical or academic gain. Teach them that sometimes gains for doing something are not immediate, but will pay off down the road, in the long term.
The good: Motivated teens
There are teens who from the word go were trained to do things from inward motivation rather than outward gain, so motivation for them becomes intrinsic. The thing about teenagers is they tend to do whatever they love to do with their whole heart. Whatever subject they like, they tend to perform well in it, and the same goes if they like a teacher. They will perform well in that teacher’s subject. Even with counseling, if they like the counselor, they take the counselor’s advice to heart and act on it.
How parents achieve this: You can harness this natural teenage passion by noting what your particular child is passionate about, even outside of studies. If they are passionate about cooking, dancing, playing an instrument, or even a particular subject, ensure that you support them in it and reinforce it. What this does is that if you show them that you support what they want to do, they become less resistant to what you need from them. However, if you fight what they love, they will reject what you want as well.
-Pauline Mugambi, Principal, Stepping Stone Senior School, Thika.
2. The bad: Drug abuse
At the worst, many parents are peddling drugs themselves, such as selling weed to make money. Teens see this and to them, it is just their parents’ hustle, that is what gives them money, so to them it is normal. So when a teacher tries to talk to them, the teen is actually surprised that it is something they should not be doing. These kinds of teens are some of those who introduce their peers to drugs.
How parents influence this: What you as a parent do, the child will copy. If you are doing drugs, the habit is likely to be rooted in the child because it is coming from home. If they have access to the drugs they can use them any time, and parents do not realise how much this affects their own child, and by extension other children at school. These children go to sell the drugs you introduced them to, to other children.
What you can do: If you live such a life, separate it from your child’s. If you smoke, the child should not know that you do. Otherwise you lose the moral authority to tell the child that they should not be doing what you are clearly indulging in.
The good: Responsible/self-driven teens
There are teens who do not need to be pushed, do not need supervision or only need minimal supervision in order to do what they are supposed to.
How parents influence this: Such children usually come from homes where they are given responsibility and expected to be responsible for their own actions. The parents are very involved, asking them what they are doing, where they have been, just being very present in their children’s lives. They expect something from their children and therefore monitor their behaviour, and if they are expected to do something, the child understands what is expected of them.
-Evans Mwaniki, a teacher at Kimuuni Day School, Machakos County
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