PARENTING TEENAGERS IN 21ST CENTURY

Is parenting the daddy’s role? Mommy’s role? Community’s? School’s? Church’s? In the 20th century when most of us were raised, parenting was communal because even a stranger would punish you on the road without involvement of P3 nor the police. In the 21st century on the other hand people are more selfish, you can not touch someone’s kid, meaning it is the duty, obligation and responsibility of the parents to ensure the child is raised up well.

Most parents are authoritative but uninvolved. Many parents are too permissive and less of authoritarians.

Let’s face it. The way you handle a teenager at 19 should not be the same way you handled him at 13. Furthermore, the way you raise your 16 year girl should not be the same way you used to treat your 16 year baby boy.

Parenting is a full time job, not a part time occupation. I happen to be a speaker who is invited in many secondary schools in Kenya and East Africa to be guest speaker during parents meetings. From the sharp bends of Nandi hills to the meanders of Mbooni, from the scenic views of Tambach to the long drives of Taveta, from the zoological parks of Transmara to the botanical gardens of Transnzoia, from the beautiful city of Kigali to the amazing Dar es Salaam, one thing is common. During parents meetings, it is more mothers who come than fathers. Are mothers too caring? Are fathers to busy? Priorities.

According to me, we have six types of parents i.e present parent, absent parent, attentive parent, absent but attentive parent, present but absent parent and the last one is present and attentive parent.

In current generation, most parents are present but absent. To them, daddy is just a title and mommy is just a name.

During weekdays, they wake up at 5AM, they leave the house at 6:30AM so that by 8AM they are at work. The child wakes up at 9AM and finds the parents already long gone. In the evening, they leave job at 4:59PM, because of traffic they arrive home at 7PM. They watch 7PM news. At 7:30PM they take a shower. At 8PM daddy is replying WhatsApp messages while mommy is clearing up tasks who’s deadline is the next day in the morning. At 9PM both watch the 9PM comprehensive news. At 9:30PM they instruct the kid to go to the toilet to piss then to go sleep. At 10PM they put on the 5AM alarm, make love, then sleep.

Saturday comes, both parents go to work till 12PM. After work daddy goes to chill out out with the ‘big boys’ while mommy goes to the ladies ‘chama’.

It is a bright Sunday morning, both go to church. In the evening daddy goes to watch English Premier League Football with friends while mommy visits her friend out of town. The child is left at home, alone, again. The cycle continues, day in day out, month in month out, year in year out.

Can a parent determine what their kid will become in future? Definitely. You can do it so easily and so seamlessly without even noticing.

A parent is more of a mentor than a role model to the child. Why is it that most families with parents who are teachers end up having children who become teachers? The answer is so simple. From a young age the child used to go with daddy to the school where daddy used to teach, the child was always carried by the school principal, the child was loved by other teachers, the child felt happy whenever he went to that school with his daddy. The school was the child’s home. The child ended up liking schools so he ended up being a teacher. His mother did not force him, his father did not coerce him.

As a parent, knowingly or unknowingly, you mentor your kids directly or indirectly. If you want your kid to be a gospel musician in the future, you don’t play them gospel music from morning to evening! Just make them to be close to gospel musicians from a tender age. If you want your child to be a computer wizard, you don’t buy them a computer in the house! Take them around programmers and computer specialist from a very young age. If you want her to be an advocate don’t force her into law school, at a young age visit court rooms with her and see how lawyers are arguing out cases. This will help her to understand the language of law, at a tender age.

‘Tabula rasa’ is a latin phrase. It means blank slate. No individual was born with built-in mental content. Everything is learnt through experiences or perception. In his blockbuster book, ‘Outliers’, Malcolm Gladwell talks about the law of 10,000 hours. He says that it takes 10,000 hours of intensive practice to achieve mastery of complex skills. Think about that statement, then relate it to what you want your kid to become.

The pessimists, the naysayers, the careless and the don’t-cares are already saying ‘my child should decide to become whatever he wants to become, I won’t decide for him.’ Well, will you say the same thing when he becomes a criminal? A thug? A user of weed? An addict?

If you will not decide what you want your kid to become, the world will decide for you. And what will the world decide for you? Six feet under. It is not about friends’ peer pressure, neighbors’ bad eyes, village witches or grandmother’s curses. It is about the upbringing. The home setup. The parenting.

Be that present attentive father figure. Be that loving caring mother. Remember, parenting teenagers doesn’t begin at age 13, it begins on day 1.

A Swahili proverb says ‘Mwana umleavyo ndivyo akuavyo’. Another one says ‘Mwana akibebwa hutazama kisogo cha nyinaye’.

Where do you see your 7 year old boy 20 years from now? Your friends will greatly determine your child’s friends. Who you see will determine who sees your child.

Make it count. You are not a bad father, you are just absent. You are not a negative mother, you are just not caring. You can redeem yourself. You can love your boy again. You can forgive your daughter. You can leave a legacy. You can build a family once more.

It is possible.

By Sam VIDAMBU.

Vidambu is an Academic Mentor with over 1900 high schools in Kenya running his academic programs.
His 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 Foundation, Author, and a Lecturer.
VIDAMBU can mentor your kid to become great, WhatsApp him on 0743480435 (VIDAMBU, Mr)
To Have Vidambu launch their Starting Early Candidates Academic Mentorship Programs in your school and be a Class Mentor kindly call/text/whatsapp 0743480435 (Sam Vidambu).
His Website Is www.samvidambu.com.
His Facebook Page is Sam Vidambu (The Previous Articles By Him Are Found On His Facebook Page).
Kindly Forward This Article To Whatsapp Groups of the Teachers, Guidance and Counselling Teachers, Parents and All The Principals you know.
To Be Added To His Whatsapp Group Full of Principals and Teachers To Receive His Motivation, Stories and Mentorship Kindly Whatsapp His Number (0743480435).

You Are Blessed.

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