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Parenting is not a PR exercise: Instill discipline

By Ainea Bolingo | September 21st 2021

As a man in his bamba 50s, I am old school. I thank the almighty for giving me a good life. I have said before that I come from a background where we were disciplined by both my parents and neighbours. Add to this teachers in school and even college. Most of my age mates can confirm this. Our parents and elders never spared us the rod.

It was common for your neighbour who was your elder to cane you when they found you misbehaving. One had to pray hard that they didn’t inform your parents since that meant double punishment. In our days, we used to have approved boarding schools where children who were indisciplined would be sent.

That option was never far off from your parents and if you misbehaved, they would remind you about it every day. In college, if a lady got pregnant both she and her boyfriend had their studies deferred for one year and that meant responsibility by both parents. If one made a habit of missing lectures, they were made to either repeat the semester or were expelled.

The other thing that made us disciplined was the fear of God. We used to know about hell and heaven. Religion was part of us and nearly everyone knew the 10 commandments by heart by the age of 10. I will say it really helped our elders, as no young man would want to go to hell. Nowadays, the children have the option of going to church and even some parents have questioned the existence of God. Ask my age group and you will be told no one could even think about non-existence of God.

What is the real issue nowadays that we have kids who argue with their parents? Others run away from school to go stay with their boyfriends by age 15 while others start taking alcohol at an early age.

We have also witnessed incidents where children in school uniform walk around while drunk without any shame.

My friend Robert Burale, whom we refer to as a coach, shared how New Age parents have spoilt their kids.

For example, a kid will demand meat if he finds none in the dinner menu.

The parents will apologise and plead with the baby. “ Please baba... Please boi... Just eat and I will buy you pizza tomorrow.”

Burale argues that kids are getting away with too much and that explains why they can’t handle life’s pressures once they become adults.

In our days, there was a specific menu for the whole week. What was served is what everyone was expected to eat. There were no excuses.

Today, the worst punishment for kids is ‘ Go to your room’ or ‘ No Wi-fi.’

No wonder when they are pinched in school, the kids almost go into high-level stress. In our days, our dads were the bad cops and mums the good cops. The dads only used to discipline you when your moms told them you have become a headache. Reason when your dad caned you, one used to cry calling the mum.

Parents should balance being a parent and a friend.

“Sometimes, when your kids call you cool is a clear indicator that you are failing,” concludes Burale.


[email protected]; @AineaOjiambo


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