Parenting

Teenagers and Sex: How Young Is Too Young To Be Having Sex?

Hello Parents, your children are having sex!

Surprised? Shocked? It’s happening. That lanky, innocent faced teenage son is getting some from a sweet faced teenage or younger girl somewhere.

But how would you know if you are a busy parent, who leaves the house by 6 am to beat the jam and gets back at 7 or 8 pm after being stuck in traffic for hours?

How would you know when you firmly believe that your children could not be exposed to sex at their young ages?

How would you know if you consider our parliamentarians to be working for the devil, for suggesting that the age of consent be lowered to 16 and not the usual 18?

Did it ever occur to you that an underage boy child can end up charged for defilement, for sleeping with a girl child who is equally underage and that the suggestion stemmed from a desire to protect the boy child?

But do you care anyway? After all, it is your underage daughter whose innocence was taken so this underage boy deserves to pay, doesn’t he?

Parents and especially Kenyan parents, you need to wake up and smell the kahawa!

Image courtesy of Stanford sexual health peer resource center

Image courtesy of Stanford sexual health peer resource center

When your 15 year old daughter ends up pregnant yet she has been in a strict boarding school for the better part of her life, in addition to residing in a gated community, where the watchman knows every resident by name and you realize the father is a clueless 15 or 16 year old boy from the neighborhood, then you will know she wasn’t raped as she would like you to believe.

She had actually been engaging in unprotected sex with the said young man while popping emergency pills afterward until sh&t happened, the pill failed to work and she is now expecting your grandchild. What more proof do you need that your children are getting it on like there’s no tomorrow and are none the wiser, on what precautions to take while engaging in sex?

Parents, forget the parent lock on the DSTV channels you consider too mature for your children to watch. Forget the forwarding of sexual scenes you actively do when your children are in the vicinity. These children know much more about sex than what you and your spouse have known in your 20 or so years of marriage.

Your teenage daughter could as well be sexting with a teenage boy who is actively looking up pornographic material. I once mentioned that an increasing number of Kenyans are addicted to pornography on the blog. A percentage of this number are teenagers. How do I know without statistics? Most people admit to coming across porn material in their teens. Many were not even actively looking for it but someone in their circle of friends was and shared with them.

Parents, do not for once be fooled by those innocent faces. Children as young as 12 are engaging in consensual sex. Note, consensual sex. So stop crying foul that your underage daughters have been defiled by boys, who didn’t know better when you discover that they are sexually active.

Since most African parents would rather die than listen to their children confessing to have broken their virginity, these children could be doing it with the utmost level of secrecy. And while many including myself consider teenage-hood or younger to be too young to be having sex, I’m not completely closed off to the idea that an increasing number of teenagers are having sex only taking it a notch higher in campus. And in campus, that is where all the sex happens, since they now consider themselves young adults with less supervision.

We are not talking about campuserians today, but the young boys and girls in high school and primary school in your houses. The ones you leave all day long over school holidays with dodgy househelps and distant cousins. Quite a number of boys had their first sexual encounter with the mboch. Yes, and they never reported the incident to you.

Others had male relatives give them unsolicited sex education that involved experimentation with girls in the neighborhood. Some girls ended up pregnant while accompanying the randy mboch to her weekly trysts. Plus the parents of nowadays are buying phones that can access the internet for children as young as 10, 11 or 12. This is where all the sexting and exchange of nudies is taking place.

So when you hear of teenagers nabbed while engaging in orgies reminiscent of the Roman times, do not be shocked. We have sexually active 16 year olds with raging libidos in our midst. And no amount of beating, teen service on Sunday, paraffin in boarding school food to kill libidos and exorcising of fornication demons, can change the situation unless we sit down and have a heart to heart talk with our children. Parents you need to do much more hands on parenting than what you are doing nowadays. Let the househelps do the washing and cleaning but do the raising of your own children for Chrissakes!

Dating nowadays among teenagers is not about exchanging pretty harmless love letters, in bad English with song dedications as a sign off. Dating nowadays among teenagers involves proving your love  lust by agreeing to let this boy or girl make his or her sexual fantasy a reality.

So if you are talking to your pre-teen or teen child about sex, it is time to cast African societal norms aside and ask the hard questions. Is he/she dating? Is he/she having sex? When exactly did they start having sex?  It may be the most unfathomable thing to do or believe, but it is much better to have a knowledge of what you are dealing with, than a horrible surprise of a sexually transmitted disease or pregnancy.

An Increasing Number Of Kenyans Are Addicted To Pornography

I know the title of my post today is going to set tongues wagging but I state the above with good reason.

I’m a frequent guest of cyber cafes. I have been a blogger for close to 3 years now. Actually, I clock 3 years of continuous blogging on different blog sites and this particular blog next month. And in all that period, I have frequented cybers and logged into computers for public use, several times only to be accosted by images of naked men and women. Meaning that the previous user(s) was/were viewing some pornographic material online. Forget the warnings of “No viewing of pornography sites” that many cyber owners like to paste on their walls. An increasing number of Kenyans are addicted to pornography.

Now I’m not trying to be a moral judge and point fingers at people. On average, I think all Kenyans have come across images of near naked men and women alike in addition to simulation of sexual acts in mostly raunchy and risque music videos, soap operas and movies. Born again Christian or not, Muslim, Jew or Hindu, if you are a user of our matatus sometimes the screens overhead showcase all kinds of risque music videos which you have probably glanced at, albeit unwillingly. It is a fact of life that sex is believed to sell and therefore, entertainers maximize on their sexuality.

Anyways, this morning was no different for me. I log into a computer and see one of the sites being surfed by a Kenyan was a pornographic site. It is an observation and a worrying observation. And while some people may choose to argue that pornography has no grave effect on a person and may even spice up sex in a relationship, I tend to slightly disagree. I’m not going to dictate what my fellow countrymates should watch or shouldn’t. It is a personal adult choice.

However, I am going to state that an addiction to pornography leads to feelings of guilt, shame and often an addiction to sex. In this era when HIV/AIDS is a reality in addition to numerous life threatening STIs, an addiction to sex is a road I doubt any normal functioning human being would like to take. Pornography addiction often fuels a lack of respect toward the female gender. Most of these female adult movie stars tend to be violated by the opposite sex in the movies. It might be for show but for the viewer, it only does a good job of instilling the sexual stereotype that women are sexual objects and should be treated as such. Many sex offenders have been known to have a secret addiction to pornographic material. Sex in these movies is often depicted as a sense of dominance by a man to a woman.

Bestiality acts are a constant feature in some pornographic material. Kenyans may laugh and create memes mocking individuals who have been caught red handed having sex with animals and maybe beaten to death by irate residents but in reality, this is a sad situation. For a normal human being with sexual desires for a fellow human being to end up choosing to have sex with animals, something in his psychology must have been previously corrupted by something else. I refer to a he, because in all the incidences Kenyans have heard concerning bestiality, the perpetrator is often of the male gender. However, I state again that I’m not using my post to judge but to enlighten.

Paedophilia stems from pornography addiction. Children have been molested by guardians and adults who are charged with protecting these children. Children have been lured into shooting pornographic material for perverted individuals, who only care about feeding their warped sexual desires in addition to making money in whatever unscrupulous ways. Nobody wakes up one morning deciding to molest a child. He/she must have gotten molested in the past as a child or corrupted gradually to the point where the act being committed does not seem warped to him or her anymore.

Lastly, pornography is breaking marriages and relationships. Forget the belief that it can be used to revive an otherwise dead sexual aspect of a relationship. Pornography will only give an individual unrealistic expectations for his/her partner. The saying of “I want a lady in the streets but a freak in the bed” further proves the kind of unrealistic expectations we are setting for our partners. Of course sex needs to be enjoyed but expecting your wife to do what you saw some woman paid to do it for entertainment on a blue movie, is in reality unfair. Rape happens in marriages and all because we allowed our minds to be drawn to pornography and we are now on a path to sexual self destruction.

The most vulnerable are our children of this generation who are growing up in a technology fueled era where they can access all kinds of gadgets. If you are already a parent, it is time to check if your young son or daughter is already being exposed to pornographic material. It might save you future heartache.

Do You Treat Your Domestic Worker Well?

Opposition leader and former Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga’s daughter got herself in some hot soup sometime last week. Winnie Odinga in a “hit the nail on the head” kind of post, lashed out at Middle Class Kenyans, for the poor pay they give their househelps and suggested a salary of around 50,000kshs. A small section of the Facebook post from Winnie read;

Middle class Kenya needs to wake up. Every time you pay someone less than 50,000 shillings a month you are responsible for creating a home in the slum. Surprised? Or did you think 12,500 would afford your househelp a chalet in Muthaiga?
 www.domesticworkersupport.info
We call them Mboches (Domestic worker/househelp) in Kenyan urban slang. The ladies we usually employ in our houses to take care of our children and home affairs while we are away on job duties.
Currently in my country, more women are career oriented therefore, they cannot really skirt around the idea of whether they should employ a househelp or not. If there are children involved and mummy has to work, then definitely a househelp HAS to be employed.
An article on The Business Daily Website dated October 7th 2015 and titled Number of Kenyan super earners shrinks as income gap grows states;

Only 68,676 or 2.89 per cent of formal sector employees in Kenya earn more than Sh100,000 per month, according to newly released data, showing a widening income gap in the country. The data from the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) shows that more than half of formal sector workers (64.5 per cent) are living on low wages of between Sh20,000 and Sh49,000 that have barely increased in the past 10 years, eroding the wage earners’ purchasing power.

In the Informal sector with all its unpredictability, the figures of super earners in relation to the moderate to low earners could be worse. No wonder the kind of uproar from quite a large number of Kenyans, who got the chance to give their two pence worth on what Winnie Odinga had bashfully proposed.

With such a kind of statistics showing the percentage of Kenyans who are earning between 20,000 kshs and 49,000kshs per month, it would be unfathomable for a Kenyan falling in that category, to be able to comfortably pay their househelp 50,000kshs even if they would have wanted to.

However, there was equally the argument that Winnie was referring to middle class Kenyans (whom in essence, could be earning between 50,000kshs to 80,000kshs with bills to pay and school going children). So indeed her reasoning still sounds a bit too farfetched if you choose to look at it in such a manner.

The question of how well you treat your domestic worker is a rather contentious one. Sometime last year, a Ugandan clip surfaced on the Internet, of a househelp thoroughly beating a hapless toddler who had been left in her care.

The clip elicited a lot of negative emotion and especially from mothers who can relate well with the uncertainty, of leaving a child in the care of someone, who could as well be a stranger to your family.

Househelps have been known in the past, to often times take out their frustration with their employer on the children and somehow, manage to get away with it. In this case, justice was served and the househelp jailed thanks to the secret nanny cam, that the employer had wisely thought of installing in the home.

This of course brought about the debate of whether nanny cams were indeed a viable option for employers to take. And would installing a nanny cam in the house ensure that the househelp was indeed tamed while the parents were away?

Assuming a Kenyan could indeed afford to pay their househelp 50,000kshs a month, give her a comfortable bed to sleep in, treat her with utmost respect, ensure that she ate and dressed but still installed a nanny cam somewhere in the house, without the househelp’s knowledge. Wouldn’t the househelp feel curtailed in her movements or as if her rights to freedom of being infringed if at all she found out about the installed cams watching her every move?

In another scenario, a Kenyan pays their househelp 4,500kshs. What that Kenyan can afford but still gives the househelp a bed to sleep in, food to eat, clothes to wear and treatment of the utmost respect but without any nanny cams installed. Then this househelp perhaps in a sense of ingratitude, decides to mistreat her employers kids. Would her actions be tied to the kind of treatment she received from her employer?

Now I’m not trying to imply that all employers are saints. There are indeed quite a number of employers who are actually devil incarnates. Who wouldn’t spare a thought for a domestic worker in their home. Who would gladly pay her peanuts and watch with glee while she worked to the bone day and night just to keep the home running and the kids organized. Whose husbands would prey on the hapless domestic workers in the dead of the night for despicable sexual favors. Employers who would not think twice about delaying or withholding a help’s salary.

You might be very surprised that some of the domestic workers in such homes, can actually work diligently for their employer for many years irregardless of the kind of treatment being meted out. Even more taken aback by the fact that a domestic worker, being treated well by an employer might decide to just up and go one day, without giving any notice to the employer.

The question of how well you treat your domestic worker should well be answered by the Kenyan who wants to employ one for whatever reason. It is time that Kenyans started looking at the mboch as a human being with needs such as ours. However, a Kenyan should equally be clear with the househelp during employment, on the amount of money that he/she will be in a position to pay. If the househelp is not willing to take the amount then she should equally be clear in her refusal to take the job.

Indeed regulations have been put by the government in the recent past, on what should be the minimum salary that a househelp should take home. However, just to be fair, few Kenyans can afford to pay a househelp a salary of 10,954kshs per month. Not with the kind of salaries many Kenyans are taking home in addition to the high cost of living and responsibilities to be attended to.

Winnie Odinga might have truly had a good point in her argument but I think she fell short of understanding the reality on the ground. And the reality on the ground is that only a very small number of Kenyans can afford to pay a help 50,000kshs. Equally, the treatment of a househelp is not measured by how much you choose to pay her. It is actually measured by an employer’s integrity and therefore bashing middle class Kenyans is uncalled for.

 

 

 

Why I’m All For Hands On Dads

I’m totally awed by fathers who are completely involved in the upbringing of their own children. Seeing a father gently carrying his infant son or daughter always seems to blow me away. It just goes a long way to prove to me that there is indeed that very gentle, protective side to what is expected to be a manly, tough exterior in the male gender.

In times when quite a number of fathers have a reputation of being absentee dads, the few remaining out there who still burn the candle of proper fatherhood, only serve to maintain that all is not lost.

There is a lot that comes with fatherhood. The actual decision to father children is indeed a crucial one that needs some level of maturity in the male. Being a father is not only having little carbon copies of yourself running around in the house but rather, being aware of the developments and milestones in your children’s lives, in addition to having them in the first place.

They say a father is the first man that a little girl looks up to and that whatever standards he sets in his parenting style, is what she will subconsciously use to gauge all potential dating partners in her life in future. Indeed, quite a number of women have ended up getting hitched to men, who came across as quite alike to their own dads.

According to an article on http://www.huffingtonpost.com titled The Important Role Of Dad and dated June 12th 2014:

Girls will look for men who hold the patterns of good old dad, for after all, they know how “to do that.” Therefore, if father was kind, loving, and gentle, they will reach for those characteristics in men. Girls will look for, in others, what they have experienced and become familiar with in childhood. Because they’ve gotten used to those familial and historic behavioral patterns, they think that they can handle them in relationships.

But what is a father’s role in a son’s life?

The same article goes on to state;

Boys on the other hand, will model themselves after their fathers. They will look for their father’s approval in everything they do, and copy those behaviors that they recognize as both successful and familiar. Thus, if dad was abusive, controlling, and dominating, those will be the patterns that their sons will imitate and emulate. However, if father is loving, kind, supportive, and protective, boys will want to be that.

However, the above does not completely justify the choice of a young man becoming a wife beater just because his own father was one. Neither does it completely justify a woman ending up with an alcoholic as a hubby just because her father was one. I’m of the school of thought that, being equipped with what we know are wrong as well as good patterns of behavior as adults, then we can decide to make a personal choice, to deviate from what is considered the norm yet detrimental.

Still it is not an easy feat per se, as sometimes human beings act subconsciously. Indeed the article further explains;

Human beings are social animals and we learn by modeling behavior.Those early patterns of interaction are all children know, and it is those patterns that effect how they feel about themselves, and how they develop.

So irregardless of whatever schools of thought we allude to, the importance of a father and the particular role he portrays in a child’s life goes a long way in modelling how that child will grow up to view life. Like it or not, daddy issues are real. They could have been avoided though, if many more fathers stepped up to their roles rather than absconding their duties or adopting tyrannical stances with their own children.

Once one decides to become a father, there is no turning back. It is a lifelong decision with an implication that someone is and will always be dependent on you as a figure in their lives. It doesn’t matter whether your children grow out of diapers, go to college, get careers and start their own families. If you were the father who chose never to be involved in their upbringing, it shall forever impact them negatively. Sadly, it may impact the men and women they choose to start their own families with in future too.

One important feature I think women ought to look out for while choosing a potential mate is whether this man is in essence, able to step up to his fatherly duties, should you get pregnant by him. Will he be involved in his children’s lives whether your relationship survives the test of time or not? It doesn’t matter how happy or giddy with excitement this man makes you feel. Question is, is he up to raising the kids he will have with you in tough times or good times?

Why Having Many Children Still Raises Eyebrows

And by many, I mean 5,6,7 children and over.

Children have always been considered a blessing. A source of wealth in African society. If a couple lacked children, then that particular aspect tended/tends to be a source of great misery for the couple. In the past, let’s say about 25 years ago, having many children was considered normal.

My parents for example, come from fairly large families. My father and his siblings total 11 children. On my mother’s side, it was a bit reasonable. Together with her siblings, they total 7. For my maternal grandfather, together with his siblings, they total 15 children. Two died in childhood.

Further afield in the West, renowned Country Singer Dolly Parton comes from a family of 12 children. Celine Dion comes from a family of 14 children. Quite a number of Americans and Europeans born in the 50s and 60s came from families with children totaling over 10. So from this, we can tell that having many children was not really a big deal globally at some point in time.

However, in recent times and with increased awareness of contraceptive use and family planning methods, a possibility of regulating the number of children you got as a couple was created. Having more than 4 children started to seem a little too unwise for a couple.

If a couple intended to give their children a better life than what they had themselves, then the number of children they got had to decrease significantly. In some countries in the world for example, there was a need to restrict the number of children a couple got just to have a control of the population.

One such country which had a more than 35 year old one-child policy was China. Currently, the Chinese are allowed 2. Still restrictive in my opinion, despite the fact that China is considered one of the most populated countries in the world. However, to restrict a couple from having the number of children they would have initially liked to have, does not sound quite appealing to me irregardless of demographics and economic planning.

Just the previous evening, I happened to be a part of a conversation which ended up transforming into a criticism of a certain couple that I have not been acquainted with. According to one of the story tellers, this couple was still in their mid twenties yet already had 4 children. So in jest, she wondered if sex was the only thing on their minds.

It might seem thoroughly unwise or stupid even for this young couple to keep on bringing children into the world but if we decide to be rational for a moment, how many children a couple decides to have is really none of our business as third parties. In recent times, too many children in a family is a sign of poverty and not wealth as it was in the olden times in Africa.

Poverty stricken couples have always been associated with large numbers of unkempt young children tottering around without diapers and with unsightly running noses. The argument has always been if you can barely afford yourself as individuals, how then can you afford children bordering on the tenth number?

Some denominations equally restricted their faithfuls from engaging in the use of artificial family planning methods but rather to rely on the often unpredictable natural method of family planning. The end result, quite large numbers of children in such families that followed their religious denominational rules to the latter.

So when Pope Francis mentioned something bordering on the “Catholics don’t have to breed like rabbits” lines, it was sure to elicit some form of reaction and especially from the conservative Catholics who have in the past stuck to natural modes of contraception. However, it should be noted that Pope Francis’ statements were aimed at addressing responsible parenting.

In my view, if a couple can afford to give their children the very best then the number they decide to have should not be of concern to outsiders. It should equally not be associated with stupidity on their part. There are people who have a preference for large families and equally people, who have a preference for smaller families.

American author Danielle Steel has nine children herself. One unfortunately took his own life as a result of the bi-polar disorder he suffered. Steel grew up as an only child to surprisingly Catholic parents, who decided to have only one child as opposed to staunch Catholics who were known to have many. It should be noted that Steel deciding to have nine children was a personal choice and she was in a position to provide equally for them all.

The famous Kardashian family is a family of six children. Kris Jenner decided to have four children with her first husband Robert Kardashian before adding two more with her second husband Bruce (now Caitlyn) Jenner. Funnily enough, not so many fingers have been pointed at the Kardashian brood for being a large family. I attribute this to the fact that they have spent quite a significant amount of time in the limelight and have firmly imprinted in the minds of their viewers, that they are a family capable of catering for its needs.

However, in my opinion, it would be unreasonable for a couple to have so many children if they can barely provide for them all. If they can take breaks in between just to improve on their livelihood before adding another family member, then that would be less strenuous on their part. But as much as I may think that way, the choice of the number of children to have remains solely with the couple irregardless of whether they are monied or not.

Pointing fingers at a couple for having a number of children YOU consider to be many, is basically judgmental really. So the fact that it still raises eyebrows is quite baffling. Isn’t it time that we minded our own businesses and stopped bothering with why the next couple has 6 and not 2 children?

The Innocence Of Children

I accidentally got to eavesdrop on a conversation between my neighbor and his daughter sometime this week.

Daughter goes something like, “Daddy si utaenda kwa bank utoe pesa ya trip!”

(Daddy, you shall have to go to the bank and withdraw money for the trip).

I gathered there was an already planned educational trip at school and this child was definitely eager to go.

An obviously amused dad went, “Alafu nikienda kwa bank?”

(Then what happens when I go to the bank?)

“Ah, si utawaambia tu wakupee pesa alafu waandike hapo trip. Hawatakataa. Alafu utapea teacher!”The daughter reasoned.

(Ah, you will tell them to give you the money then they note down ‘trip’. They won’t decline. Then you give the teacher!)

From that small bit of conversation I overheard, I came to several conclusions;

  1. This little girl assumed her daddy had so much money which could be withdrawn at anytime from the bank. So playing the “I’m broke” card was definitely not going to work for him. He just had to pay for the school trip whether he had the money or not judging from the finality in his daughter’s voice.
  2. For this little girl, her daddy was obviously her knight in shining armor who could grant her anything in the world. Check.
  3. Children can be so humorously innocent in the way they reason at times. Especially the part where she says the bank should note down “trip” as the purpose of the money withdrawn. I mean for children things can be so easy. Not so for us adults!

Anyways, hope she does get to go for the trip. I know daddy wouldn’t dream of letting her down now, would he?

 

What Would You Do If Your School Aged Daughter Told You She Has A Boyfriend?

wallpapersinhq.pw

wallpapersinhq.pw

 

“Mum there’s something I want to tell you. Promise me you won’t get mad.” Your pre-teen or teenage daughter implores one day. Being the good, modern mum who doesn’t fancy resembling your own mum on how she handled communication with you while growing up, you sit down patiently and nod your head in encouragement for your daughter to go on.

“Well, you see mum_that boy who lives next to that grocer’s whose mum you are friends with_” Your daughter stammers. “Well, we kind of really like each other.” BAM! She finally drops the bombshell. Something you didn’t quite expect to happen this early for her and weren’t the slightest prepared on how to deal with it. What do you do about it?

I once spoke to a mother of a 16 year old who rambled on, on how she and her daughter had this amazing mother-daughter relationship. She mentioned how her daughter could tell her anything and how she in turn impacted her wisdom to her daughter. This mother seemed pretty sure that her daughter wouldn’t fall by the wayside seeing how perfect their relationship was.

Then I spoke to yet another mother who was every bit the African (the first one was Asian) and she equally mentioned that she encouraged her daughters to talk. Both of her daughters are pre-teens and she is the modern Kenyan mother who conforms to the school of thought, that you should be friends with your children. It was quite interesting listening to her as we children of the late eighties and prior did not have that kind of open minded mothers.

Our parents weren’t very equipped to give us that sex ed and most of the things we learnt about sex later in life, we figured out by ourselves or through watching movies and experimentation. They were also not the kind of mothers who fancied being friends with us. They were disciplinarians where the slightest form of truancy from you elicited a beating. However, I do not blame them for the old fashioned way they raised us.

According to an article on the Ceasefire website/ Radar reports dated October 7th 2014 and reported by Susan Yara from Mombasa, Kenya;

Kenya has seen an alarming rise of teenage pregnancies forcing thousands of girls to abandon their education early and spurring a debate over the causes and repercussions of the issue.

Susan goes on to list probable causes of  the rise in teenage pregnancies in Kenya as early marriages, broken families, rape, peer pressure, inadequate sex ed and alcohol and substance abuse.

So being a knowledgeable mother aware that your daughter is experiencing raging hormones, already has confided in you that she has a boyfriend and is in need of thorough parental guidance and not anger, how would you go about it?

Quite a number of mothers may be tempted to conclude that friendship with their children is needed at this point, so that their children can be open with them at all times. That way, they figure it would be much easier to keep track of their children’s activities and therefore, avoid the worst from happening.

Rather than being this overly strict mum who comes across as tyrannical and in the process scares away her children from opening up, why not act like a friend your kids can confide in about anything? Some mothers tend to reason.

However an article on the website http://www.modernmom.com titled BE YOUR KID’S BEST PARENT, NOT THEIR BEST FRIEND! tends to disagree and expounds why. A section of the article states;

 

A parent should be the one person a child feels he can talk to about anything, while at the same time being the person who sets the rules, boundaries and expectations for behaviors.

This structure is what provides children with a sense of safety and belonging.

If done well, this is how an open relationship between parent and child is established. When a child breaks the rules, boundaries and expectations (as they are sure to do – this is how they learn), it is the job of the parent to give the child consequences for those behaviors, while using the experience as a teachable moment.

How can we learn from this? How can we do better next time?

Our job as parents is to prepare our children for life. To be able to talk with our children about real issues, with the intention of teaching them life skills so they, and we, will feel confident that when they go out on their own, they will be best able to make the safest and smartest choices. “Friends” do not have that type of relationship; active parents do.

So as a mother, who wants to be a best parent and not a best friend, how will you handle your daughter dating or wanting to date in her pre-teens or teenage years?

 

Monsterhood Seems To Be Replacing Motherhood.

Quite recently, I was walking with a friend on a busy street and suddenly, a woman passed by. There was nothing extra ordinary about the woman. However, a few meters behind her was a small child, around 3 or 4 years of age whom I believe, was her child.

I remember reacting immediately with shock at the sight of a mother leaving such a small child to follow her behind, on a busy street teeming with humanity, vehicles, tuktuks and motorcycles, all the while seeming oblivious to the danger that posed to her child.

What if some reckless driver or rider hit the child? What if the child lost sight of her mother and got lost? My friend, who obviously has since gotten used to such scenarios of careless mothers, assured me that this was not an isolated case. So I let it slip. But not for long as I’m still recounting this tale, several days later, to you my readers.

I mean, even elephants take better care of their offspring!! They do not leave them behind to be attacked and mauled by predators while the elephant mothers stroll breezily ahead.

fineartamerica.com

fineartamerica.com

I am reminded of how my own mother raised me back then when I was still a small child. If we were walking in town, she would always say, “Pita mbele yangu ndio nikuone, ukikaa huko nyuma sitakuona” (go ahead of me where I can see you, if you lag behind, I can’t see you). She was a fast walker and I always seemed to be dragging my feet and complaining quickly of fatigue.

One day I did not heed her instructions. We were heading somewhere and with her fast walking nature, as soon as she turned the corner, I lost sight of her. As absurd and hilarious as it may seem, I got lost. I simply could not tell where my mum had disappeared to down the corner. For some minutes, I walked back and forth, obviously in the wrong direction, trying to figure out where she had gone to.

Eventually, almost on the verge of tears, I gave up and ended up standing by the street with some male strangers, who seemed genuinely concerned I was lost. My mother must have realized that I was nowhere to be found because in less than an hour, she was back on the same street and found me standing with the good Samaritans.

If she had initially been worried sick by my brief disappearance, she did a very good job not to show it by instead laughing it off. Then warning me afterward sternly to always walk ahead of her. I had learnt my lesson so now I knew better not to lag behind.

This particular memory came flooding back to me the minute I saw that woman breezily walking ahead while her small daughter followed behind. I’m not a mother yet but I already have full knowledge that a mother needs to be careful.

In one of the recent issues of The Nairobian, there is an article of a woman being arraigned in court for sexually abusing her own daughter. Apparently, her daughter’s crime was going out unattended to borrow a book. And this insane woman decided to insert her fingers into her daughter’s private parts, injuring her in the process, as punishment for such a petty issue.

Well, we can dismiss her as a deranged bar maid for that is her profession but I beg to differ. I have full knowledge that even mothers engaging in prostitution would not let their daughters enter the same profession. It is ingrained in mothers to always want better and the best for their children.

So if this so called disgrace to feminism, wanted to prove a point to her daughter, that there are sex pests out there who can do just the same to her if she goes out unattended, I think she ended up missing the whole point and acting like a child molester herself.

As per my knowledge, motherhood is a choice.

It does not matter whether it was a one night of drunken passion that got you pregnant, if the father chose to stay in his child’s life or not or if you are struggling to raise those children and barely making it. The minute you made a conscious decision to keep the pregnancy and not to abort it, then it automatically became a lifetime choice. A choice that needs to be embraced whole heartedly.

Therefore mothers who take out their frustrations in life on their children are actually hardened monsters who have failed dismally at parenting. Remember, a child does not choose to be born. A child is totally innocent irregardless of whether the parents concerned are getting along or not.

As much as religion clearly states that children should be disciplined, there also happens to be a limit to the kind of discipline that parents met out on their children. Nowhere in the Holy Books has been written “thou shall douse thy child in paraffin and burn him or her alive for stealing or for disobedience.”

Instead there are instructions as to how a parent shall bring up a child.

If there is a mother out there concluding that her own children are her source of misery, then she probably has an underlying psychological problem that needs medical or spiritual intervention. Mothers are supposed to love, nurture, support and guide their children.

It is the reason why God gave us the necessary threshold for pain while bringing forth life. He knew that despite the intensity of labor pains, we would still have that ability to unconditionally love our children. For a woman to give birth to a baby only to later damage that child, shows that a section of mothers got confused along the way.

They forgot about their responsibilities or were simply looking for scapegoats to blame for their denial to be responsible. If we truly want to be good examples of feminism, then we better start with how we parent our own children as mothers.

Motherhood is not an unpleasant chore – Borrowed Quote

Are men dangerous or simply different??

This is a question i have been asking myself for a while. And the reasons as to why that particular question popped up in my head, stem from a couple of observable factors over time.

I would like to speak from an African perspective.

As most African women already know, their mothers placed a lot of emphasis on how their girl children should dress. While growing up, we were told to cover up because that is what is indeed acceptable for a woman and especially if there happened to be men in the vicinity (mostly our fathers), we were required to dress with dignity. A girlfriend of mine would tell us how she and her sister would always tie a lesso (African wrapper) over their jeans trousers as soon as their father arrived before he caught sight of them. This was mainly because she was a pastor’s kid and the rule of the house was that as girl children, they were not supposed to wear trousers of any kind. Surprisingly enough, as soon as she left home for her semester in campus, jeans trousers, shorts, chino pants…you name it, automatically transformed into her daily wear. I myself have had to run for a lesso to tie on top of something i was wearing one time when my uncle showed up at the house without notice and i had been cleaning in a pair of jeans short shorts. It wasn’t something that had been imposed upon me to do then, rather i found myself doing it as a reflex action because i knew it would have been highly inappropriate for him to see me in such attire at his advanced age.

I schooled in a mixed boarding school for my high school education where discipline of the highest standard was upheld. One time, a certain school that also happened to be a mixed boarding school visited and the teachers were appalled upon realizing that we were mixed girls and boys on the same table in the dining hall, physics and chemistry labs as well as classes. In their school, despite being mixed, the girls had separate classes from the boys and sat separately in the dining hall. Well, you should have seen how our school administration gloated afterward over the fact that our school had managed to uphold the highest level of discipline without having to completely separate the boys from the girls. Don’t get me wrong my readers, my school was the best and i don’t ever regret being there. As a matter of fact, i still have very fond memories of that place.

However, you couldn’t help but notice that there were some of those rules that were actually made with regards to the fact that there were boys in the same school. For example, we were only allowed long skirts that were kinda baggy, we weren’t allowed to wear earrings and to style our hair in any way except tying it back if it was permed or cutting it short. I had short hair in form 1 then grew it and permed it so as to make it manageable for the 3 months i was away from home during the term. Boy-girl relationships at school were also highly forbidden and it could earn you a suspension if you were found out. As for those who decided to make their school skirts tighter, it was trouble all the way with the one in charge of girls’ discipline because HELLO! there were boys in the same school. To top it all of at the beginning of each month, it was mandatory for all the girls to undergo a pregnancy test organised by the school much to the glee of the boys who snickered at us while we got called from class by the prefects for it. To make up for the fact that we couldn’t even wear studs on our ears to school, most of us girls who had pierced ears resorted to the common practice of wearing tiny dry grass sticks to prevent the holes from closing up.

Anyways, i have no problem with any of the things i have highlighted above. My only problem comes in when the real message behind all those measures is not communicated clearly to the recipients. When African girls grow up believing that men(including their fathers) cannot be trusted and therefore they have to undertake certain measures to protect themselves. They have to cover up because if they reveal too much, men somewhere are going to lust after them. They have to refrain from interacting with the boys in teenagehood because all these teenage boys want from them is to get into their panties  :p  Never mind that both the teenage boys and girls are at an experimentation stage. Most African women will agree with me that the real message behind all those measures that were being put in place to protect them from the men while growing up, actually wasn’t communicated at all. The only purpose the measures served was to instill in them a certain fear toward the opposite sex. That if you got too close to your father as soon as you hit puberty and experienced all these bodily changes, he could end up sleeping with you and that dressing in a certain way implied that you wanted men to look at you. And the men know that there is that fear instilled in women concerning them and they use it to their maximum advantage. Never mind that it is infact a baseless fear.

Let me make it clear that a father who lusts after his daughter is actually a pervert and lacking in integrity. It has nothing to do with how close she is with him or how she dressed in his presence or whether he noticed she was becoming a woman or not. If he cared enough, he would have asked her gently to change into something more appropriate, if he noticed she wasn’t appropriately dressed because that too is his job as a parent and not for the mother only, as some African men would like to believe. As a matter of fact, a girl who is growing up should actually be encouraged to dress decently for her own self respect. She should be made to know that she is now becoming a woman and there is nothing to be ashamed of regarding whatever changes are taking place in her body. And as a result of that, as a way to uphold her dignity as a woman, she should dress appropriately so that she will in turn be accorded her respect by men and women alike and not because if she dresses inappropriately some man is going to look and notice and follow her around and get her pregnant or rape her.

The message that should be communicated to this girl is that men are wired differently from women and it is the reason they may act in certain ways that are not similar to how women act. One thing for sure is that men are visual creatures. It is their nature to look. They may look at other women even in the company of their own girlfriends and wives. Surprisingly, sometimes they are just looking at the face in a restaurant because the other woman comes across as pretty and not because of something she is even wearing. It is the same way they noticed you who is in a relationship with them. They looked at you and something in you caught their eye. Men’s first attraction to a woman is actually physical before they start noticing other deeper traits in her. As for the rapists, blame it on their perversion levels as well and their lack of respect for women and not on how the unwilling victim was dressed.

And it is for these sole `fear factor’ reason in women, that i think a section of men feel like they have the right to strip a woman who is supposedly dressed inappropriately in public, because she was dressing for them. She wanted them to see her curves and her cleavage and to turn them on in the process. She should have covered up knowing that men are `dangerous’ and they therefore want to prove to her how dangerous they can be by stripping her in public for all to see what she wanted to initially show them. How come the African men in the olden days never considered their bare chested women as `naked’ or `indecent’? It is because they appreciated the fact that those particular women were dressing the way their environment and culture could allow them to and not because there were men around that they wanted to see their boobs and thighs. I’m almost 100% sure that if those women knew about bras and blouses to cover up, they would have gladly embraced them because they would indeed have seen the logic behind covering up what they used to feed their children and to make them feminine. But all they knew about were leaves, reeds and skin as clothing.

Pretty black woman in tight dress smiling-community.allhiphop.com

Pretty black woman in tight dress smiling-community.allhiphop.com

Let me make it clear to men that how a woman chooses to dress depends on her levels of self-respect. It has nothing to do with the opposite sex. But society has since made it to look like how a woman dresses has a direct effect on the male gender. As a matter of fact, we have no mandate whatsoever to try and impose our religious beliefs or integrity on other people who are of a different ideology and belief from us. And it is for this reason that people in Western countries don’t even seem to bat an eyelid when a curvaceous woman walks around in a booty short. It is because they have embraced everyone else’s beliefs and are not trying to act judgmental of others like we do back here. They have also grasped the concept that how a woman dresses is not because of the male gender but for herself. They also know that if they harass her, they will get into trouble with the law because the law allows for a freedom of dress and expression.

As an African female, i just feel that girls growing up in our society should be taught to do certain things in a certain way, like dressing appropriately for example, for themselves and not because the men cannot be trusted in the presence of an indecently dressed woman. If the girl deviates in adulthood from what was initially taught to her, then that is up to her and not to anyone else. We teach our girls to fear men instead of understanding how men are and that is why some end up getting pregnant in teenage hood because what they know is that all men are after one thing. So she gave in, unfortunately got pregnant and she blames herself for giving in while knowing how men can be dangerous. I mean, what does a teenage boy know? He’s no different from a teenage girl. Wired differently yes, but still a teenager. What this girl should have been told is that with raging hormones, sex can be inevitable at times and therefore she needs to consider her dreams and goals in life first before she decides to give in to sex. We teach women to fear their sexuality instead of embracing it and protecting it for their own self-respect. No wonder some will ask, what is the point in covering up because of men? If i dressed the way i wanted with legs showing, cleavage showing, what will happen? What will the men do? And the men know how much we fear them and attack that particular sexuality just to further confirm the legibility of that fear to us which ends up confusing us women more.

If you are parenting a girl child, don’t simply tell her that men are dangerous therefore she needs to do this and that to protect herself. Explain to her the difference between men and women and why she needs to respect herself in light of that.