The last few days have seen parents scampering for cover, the rhetoric? “Children of nowadays are too spoilt”, “The world is coming to an end”, “What is happening!”, “If I catch my son/daughter in anything like this, I’ll kill him/her!”
A whole load of bull
Some few weeks ago I attended a parent teacher consultative meeting for a boy I mentor, in the meeting I heard and saw all manner of ignorance and assumptions. Parents thinking they know more than their kids, know what is good for their kids (not always true, by the way) and those who felt and thought their kids are from some seventh heaven somewhere. Let me break it down for you, you child if 15, 16, 17 or 18 they know more than you do. Period. First accept that then you can now be invited into the playing field and maybe, just maybe be allowed an opinion.
I work with boys. That is my passion. I hear things that would make a parent coil up and die. The playing field of parenting has changed, and you know what they say about change – it’s an unstoppable train. You cannot slow it down and neither can you stop it!
Whatever rules, threats, motivations or manipulation tactics our parents used on us to get us to stay on the straight and narrow path are now absolute. The challenges are more and different. You can’t use urban warfare tactics in a jungle – you’ll need to get yourself some guerrilla tactics. Your children are out in the wild, they know more, are exposed to more and are more risk averse than you will ever be.
So how do you help your teenage daughter or son? Simple, implement ‘Project X –tra in your home. Spend X-tra time with your kids, expose yourself to what they are currently exposed to. Read. Don’t make assumptions!
I hate it when parents write something off just because someone somewhere said something. Don’t even take my word for it. Interrogate everything, on a personal basis with your child. Discover your child for yourself. Just because your kid is easily influenced doesn’t mean he’s a weakling. It just means he’s open to the world, use that as an opportunity to ‘P.A.R.E.N.T’ your kids. Parent – guide and lead your kid. Do so lovingly.
Sitting with your buddies eating choma and drinking and discuss how the world has gone to shit won’t parent your child. Meeting in chamas and lamenting about the moral fabric won’t help much also.chamas and lamenting about the moral fabric won’t help much also.
Kids are not little minions to command around. They have opinions, informed opinions by the way; you should be a sounding board for them. Don’t shut them off because they are kids. When you do that some evil dimwits like the guys behind ‘Project X’ will be there to listen to them and relate to them. Then you wonder what happened to your child a few years down the line.
Parenting is the hardest, most demanding job in the world. Hands down, you are on duty 24hrs a day! Nothing is more important. It’s your little contribution to the future. If you mess up you can bet just like the flutter of the wings of a butterfly, your parenting will have a great impact on the future.
Many parents are probably thinking of shutting their kids down this weekend. No Phone, no laptop and no internet. Bad move…
My advice and opinion, discuss what they think vs what you think. Use reason. Don’t talk at them, talk with them. Be honest and real; do not at any one time try to pretend to have been an amazing child, because they already know all the nonsense you’re capable of.
Bringing up kids is very much like tending to a tree or a flower garden; you cannot expect to reap beautiful fruits and flowers when you never took care of the garden. You get what you put in. If you put nothing in the world in the form of weeds is only too glad to grow and flourish next to the beautiful plants.
And make no mistake in thinking this has been organized by some teenagers. No, this is the beautiful handiwork of an adult somewhere whose parents left to his/her own devises (weeds) and they are here to destroy some more kids. They are giving what has been planted within them.
Our moral fabric is in tatters, we have destroyed ourselves by always wanting more. Always pushing the limits, we share videos on WhatsApp and make jokes of serious moral issues, we mock and laugh in jest. Then one day your child is caught up doing ‘those’ things. Why? Because you never took the time to discuss in an honest and open way what is happening around us. You thought it was funny until it knocked on your door. Research shows that girls are more likely to engage in early sex if they don’t have a father model to love and cherish them – they’ll go looking for it out there.
Boys are more likely to engage in sexual activity as at the age of 13 if they are not actively engaged in physical and challenging activities under the guidance of a male role model.
Those statistics are staggering simply because the world knows that the only way to destroy society is to attack the male species. Corrupt them and expose them to all the evil imaginable. Without positive role models, they will crumble upon themselves and burn society down. As long as we keep on ignoring the boy and his plight we are only inviting trouble into our homes. I’m a father to a beautiful girl; I will protect her and fight for her with everything I’ve got. And I’ll do so by fighting for the boy child because I know if he is under threat, he’ll be the greatest threat to my daughter’s life and advancement.
Who will protect our society? Men will
But we first have to be prepared for the war that is coming. What we need is positive male role models standing up and speaking against such events like ‘Project X’. Not in the public space but in our homes and offices.
Project X is only that because some young men have become creative about destroying lives and having dangerous fun while at it. The energy within young men must be put to good use if we don’t we can be sure they will find ways to ‘play’.
If you have young boys, you know what I’m talking about. Give them a cause, something worth dying for. Show them the possibilities of the future and where they play into it. Give them a challenge, an impossible dream and see what they can do. But they first need positive male models for them to believe in their abilities.
Like Mbuguua of Zuku Fibre say’s, use the powerful tool of the internet to set up your kids for the future. And use it positively
So dad, go home and implement ‘Project X-tra’ in your home.
@EricGitubia is a trainer and mentor on masculinity and leadership. He is the Co-founder and ED of Carpe Diem Consultancy – a firm that seeks to train and mentor young men in schools and corporate work place on what it means to be a man in today’s society and the roles men play