Well, when the word parenting is mentioned many people think about taking children to school, paying school fees on time, supporting school programs, telling the kid to clear assignments and commanding them which friend to keep and which to drop.
Parenting has changed. Most of us parents who are raising teenagers today grew up in early 80’s. Then, there was no social media. There were no societal rules hence any parent could discipline any child in the village. Today, things are different. You are causing trouble by raising your teenager the way you were raised, and this is mainly because you don’t understand the generation gap.
Today’s teenagers ought to be encouraged, not told. They ought to be understood, not shouted at. They need to be given facts and figures, not commanded. Daddy, when was the last time you sat down with your 21 year old boy and talked about sex before marriage? Moom, tell me, when last did you sit down privately with your form three girl and discussed about adolescence and virginity? See, most of you are like, ‘How now?’.
‘Sex’ is a topic that many parents feel uncomfortable talking about with their kids. Infact they would not even want to know it. If you tell parents that their form three girl had her first sexual engagement two years ago will they refuse or accept?. Many parents will tell you to go to hell and never come back, others might take you to court on what they will term as defamation of their good and virgin girl, and most will tell you to mind your own business.
One of the recent survey shows that every year, 21% of new HIV infection in Kenya occur among young women aged between 15 and 24. Remember, a 15 year old girl is in form two. Another recent survey shows that we have 98 new HIV infection among teenagers every week in Nairobi alone. Parents, this statistics should tell you something. It is true, you can not manage the sexual life of your kid, but you can help. Instead of telling your campus student to avoid sex. Tell them ‘my child, avoid sex before marriage but if you must do it please use protection’. That is a brilliant parent. He has given his child a command of not having sex before marriage but because he knows he can’t watch over the child in campus he has given the child an option of protecting himself against diseases and early pregnancies. I am a Christian, its good to tell our children the truth rather than watching them die. Hosea 4:6 ‘My people are destroyed due to lack of knowledge’.
Your kids are making wrong and uninformed decisions because they lack information. Who should inform them? Most parents put all the baggage of their children to schools and religious institutions. But the truth is, when a kid is born they first interact with mom, then dad, the family members, the neighbours, the church, then the school, in that order. The child should hear from the pastor what he already heard from the parents because parents were his first source of information long before the pastor or the imam.
As I said earlier, today’s children need to be understood. You need to put yourself in their shoes. You need to give them information based on facts and figures, backed by your true personal experience in relation to the current world. As a mother, sit down with your girl tell her how you conducted yourself when you were her age. Tell her how you used to cope up with adolescence. Tell her how you avoided drug and substance abuse. Explain to her how you avoided teenage sex and early pregnancies. Talk to her in love, she needs to feel you as you talk. Dad, sit down with your boy and tell him how you met his mother. Try this and see how different your relationship with your son will be.
It is very sad for a 44 year old man to fear a 15 year old form two girl who is his daughter. It is disturbing to see a parent who is in her forties blaming peer pressure for her form two son’s drug abuse behaviour. Parents, every problem begins from home. Every addiction begins from home. Every success begins from home.
For parenting, it’s the little things that matter. Don’t lay your hands on your wife when your daughter is watching, it lowers her self esteem. Don’t shout at your husband in the presence of your son, it destroys his confidence.
Stop comparing your kids with neighbours’ kids, stop being so busy when your kids need your attention, stop sending your kids to ‘shosho’ when schools close, stop assuming your 19 year girl is mature enough to make life decisions on her own, stop waiting for the class teacher to call you instead call them frequently to know how your child is fairing on and at last stop sending your boy to buy you cigarette nor your girl to check if the bar is opened.
Why is it that over 70% of the families where parents are teachers will always have atleast 1 child being a teacher too? If you want your girl to be a lawyer let her start being close to lawyers at an early age. If you wish your boy to be a doctor let him be surrounded by doctors. If you won’t care about him and leave him to do whatever he wants with his life, the world will tell him what to do. Mentorship should begin from day 1.
Tell your son you love him even though it sounds awkward. Encourage your daughter and tell her that she can do better even though she’s failing. Teach your child social skills, communication skills, building confidence, firm handshake, spirituality, determination and consistency. Teach them that loosing is part of the game and rejection is a portion of the process. Teach them to focus on progress and not perfection.
Ordinary parents tell, good parents explain, super parents demonstrate while extraordinary parents inspire.
The best inheritance to leave your children is networks, connections and wealth in form of spirituality, finances and experience, not just a degree of Anthropology.
21st century parenting is about attendance, not just presence.
(The Writer is a Youth Mentor).
By Sam VIDAMBU.
Vidambu is an Academic Mentor with over 1900 high schools in Kenya running his academic programs.
His Starting Early Academic Mentorship Programs revolve around Syllabus Coverage, Syllabus Understanding Strategies, Content Mastery, Content Retention, Content Delivery, Proper Revision Techniques, Time Management Strategies, Working Timetable, Study Book, Classroom/Staffroom Intercordination, Academic Cultures, Study Habits, among other great topics.
He is a Trainer of Principals during KESSHA conferences and teachers.
He is the President of Global Student Mentorship Center, He is an author, and a Lecturer.
To Have Vidambu launch their Candidates Academic Mentorship Programs in your school and be a Class Mentor kindly call/text/whatsapp 0743480435 (Sam Vidambu).
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Kindly Forward This Article To Whatsapp Groups of the Teachers, Guidance and Counselling Teachers, Parents and All The Principals you know.
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