NAIROBI, June 23 – Parents were on Monday urged to play a more pro-active role in guiding and counseling their children to prevent them from engaging in vices, such as drug and alcohol abuse.
The Kenya National Association of Parents Secretary General Musau Ndunda pointed out that most parents are more preoccupied with their careers and children end up abusing drugs and alcohol undetected.
"Our Kenyan parents have become so irresponsible. It is so bad that we are so much obsessed in pursuing our careers leaving our children unattended. There is no proper guidance and counseling," said Ndunda.
His comments follow the release of two new studies, which have revealed that school children as young as 11 are falling prey to drug abuse.
Experts are warning of major economic costs and loss of the country’s workforce if urgent measures are not taken to reverse the trend.
The studies also show that children whose parents are highly educated were most at risk.
About 43 per cent of students whose parents had completed university education abused alcohol compared to 23.6 per cent whose parents had just a high school education, according to the study.
The researchers concluded that highly educated parents were too busy with their careers to give attention to their children. They also give them a lot of pocket money and allow them to go out without supervision.
The experts called for renewed efforts by parents, the Government and players in the alcohol industry to tackle the worrying trend.
The KNAP Secretary General added that this lack of parents to pay attention to their children has intensified the alcohol abuse problem being faced in the country.
He advocated for the inclusion counseling on alcohol and drug abuse into the school curriculum.
"I quite agree with the study where they have recommended that we need issues of drug abuse to be introduced into our curriculum. That is something that we are advocating for," Ndunda stipulated.
It was not until four years ago that the country’s alcoholic beverage manufacturers stepped up efforts to encourage responsible drinking.
The industry has since then invested millions of shillings annually in an effort to curb underage drinking, over consumption of alcohol and drunk driving.
Self-regulation has therefore become inevitable in an industry that has registered soaring growth over the years.
Some of the initiatives include bartender training, billboards and advertising campaigns, media workshops, forums for underage drinking and bottle messaging.
Partnerships between the manufacturers and the outlets have also been boosted, especially in relation to underage drinking.
National Alcohol Beverages Association of Kenya (Nabak) and Pubs Entertainment Restaurants Association of Kenya (Perak) have been collaborating on various fronts to guide the drinking habits of Kenyans.