The ‘consolata kid’ has been trending for the better part of the week and it is clear that we are divided in the middle on who is to blame for the child’s demeanor. Who do we point fingers at? Is it the teachers who spend the better part of the year with him? Or the parents who are supposed to teach him how to behave and how cursing is wrong? Or maybe we can blame the child himself for learning the ‘foul language’? Or we can throw the blame on the media for airing what sells and makes them money and gains them viewership?
It is a matter of perspective and looking at the case from several angles. However I will not be speaking on the other angles except the parental one. I am not a parent but I do hope to be one in the future. I am not sure whether I will be absentee parent or a helicopter parent, when the time comes I will know. Despite the fact that I am not a parent myself I believe that I have watched enough parenting from the days of my parents to my friends and relatives today who continue to raise their children.
The manner in which we raise kids differs from one parent to another. One believes that only when they beat as a form of discipline will the child be well behaved and grow morally up right, others believe in being exceptionally strict on their children, others like my mum believe in talks, a firm hand and a bit of disciplining: bottom line they all hope to achieve the same thing, morally upright children. However, there is a new trend of parents, they are called the dotcom parents. The parents who say dialogue is everything with a child and they are not to be caned, those who buy their children tablets at the age of 4 or 5 because they are absentees, and the same who insist that their kids can put on dreads when going to school coz they are cool paros.
I remember growing up in an environment where we were beaten for the slightest misdemeanor. I think most parents had this belt, mwiko, kiboko, slippers or whatever it is they used on standby. You would do a tiny mistake and whoosh your form of punishment was unleashed, the next thing was “lala chini na usiniangalie”.
Don’t get me wrong I am not saying we should raise kids in the same manner but the instilling of discipline of today is quite a joke. We do not talk to our children because we are out there chasing the paper. I do not dispute that looking for money is important but at the same time spending time with your kids is equally important. It is at this moment that you tell them how to grow morally upright, teach them ethics and codes of society but we do the exact opposite. Most dotcom parents are too busy to spend time with their kids and when they do have time they rush them out of the house to a recreation center and abandon them to the swings and water slides instead of talking to them over a meal and finding out who their kids are. Therefore the kids are taught what morals are by society and society is sometimes wrong.
Raising of kids has been left to the house managers who are also scared of offending mama wa nyumba and therefore they will never discipline the children. And when they attempt it, your child who you bought for a phone at the age of 5 will be so quick to call you to report auntie, and you the great parent will be very fast at condemning her and firing her without listening to her side of the story. The worst case is even if she explains herself you will always believe your child and never hear her or him out. Next thing is you fire her and bring in a new one who is after the paper and does not care what happens to your child. The end result is your child will have poor manners and won’t be a good fit in the society.
We live in a world of social media and online content, the buying children phones with no proper guidance and control is the biggest problem we have. Regulation of the content kids see on TV or phones matters a lot. There are platforms that should not be accessed by your child and you should be able to tell when your child is watching the wrong thing. In this hip hop generation we need to ensure that the kids are not accessing the wrong content. Everything is posted on the internet and on social media platforms, as long as your child can access it then they can be able to see what adults see which sometimes is PG 18+. If you have to buy that child a phone restrict it to a point that the child will only access what is necessary.
Parental language is one more thing that children learn from. If you are rude the probability of your child being rude is high, if you curse the probability of your child cursing is high, if you are honest and polite the probability of your child doing the same is equally high. Parents have to have a moral high ground in which they present themselves ethically and morally upright. Parents are the best examples and as adults the kids will always look up to them and copy what they do. We have to sieve our language watch what we say about others lest we inflict poor morals on the kids.
So is the ‘consolata kid’ to blame yes maybe, but the bigger blame will fall on the parents who are accredited to raise him, to the teachers who should have taught him right instead of suspending him, and to the parents condemning him please, ‘look at the log in your eye before you look for the speck in mine’.
So maybe parenting is not rosy, however it is something that should be done exceptionally. Today’s children are tomorrow’s leaders and if you are going to condemn today’s leaders for being inappropriate, unethical and insulting, then raise your children to be a better version of yourself and myself.
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