I have seen extremely loving and caring parents, always there for the kids, set the right example for the kids ending up with really indisciplined kids. Kids who break their hearts. Kids who spend time in and out of a rehab.
I have seen very tough parents, parents who don’t tolerate nonsense end up with spoilt kids who make them surrender.
Parenting is a tough job. There is no formula or a one-size-works-for-all style to parenting.
There is an element of luck with how all of us turn up.
But progressively, each generation of parents gets worse and worse. Even worse the internet, readily available drugs(by 2030, all drugs will be legal) and a laissez-faire approach to virtually everything means we are headed to interesting times.
I remember when we were kids we always weighed the consequences of our actions. You tripped once and you were screwed. Growing up, unwanted pregnancies were unacceptable. Only about one in 20 of young female relations succumbed. Currently the number may be nearly half of them.
We have made parenting academic and political.
This is made worse by the fact that marriage is no longer a functional institutional. You will be shocked that more than half the families are being run by single mothers(absentee dads, dysfunctional fathers, widowed, divorced, single by choice). So, it means nearly half the children are being raised without fatherly presence and as we have seen from America the ramifications of absentee fathers in African American families are too far-reaching.
I don’t know how we will get more men to participate in their parental responsibilities. Women can only do so much. I have to emphasize that this statement is not an attack on the ability of single mothers to be good parents. They are doing everything in their powers and doing a good job. It is more about calling men to pay their fair share of their dues of parenting.
Secondly, for millennial parents like us, we have a challenge of looking for the bred. We hoped that a two-income house hold will help but increasingly we are drained because two-incomes are enough. Thus, it gets to a point where parenting is draining and some folks simply give up.
I have noticed that down the line, one parent pulls out(often a man) and increasingly women, and it is not healthy for one person to raise the kids. Pulling out or tuning out can be mental or even physical.
Thirdly, though not perfect, religion used to pump sense into us. Some of our adulthood restraints are because of the church. We are a generation that has totally given up on church.
Meaning children have no source of moral compass. I know there are strong arguments against this, but time will tell which is better.
Fourth is the country we live in. Kenya is a violent country. We are violent to each other. We have no spaces to let off stress. An entire town like Kitengela can spring up, house a half a million people but no park, or anything for recreation, other than bars and bars.
Generally, we grow kids in concrete entrapments, and they have little in terms of leisure activities.
We are a strange country, maybe the only one in the world where as a mid-30s adult the only recreation is alcohol and nyama choma.
The city has only two functional libraries, the main park is a hawkers den, and very little space for arts and appreciation of arts.
Hence we turn to alcohol and drugs to numb our pain.
Lastly, we no longer have anything to look up or forward to. The church is no longer a paragon of virtue. Our political leaders are super uninspiring. There are no jobs.
When people have no sense of future, hedonism becomes their only choice as they wait upon death.
To change all these, there is a lot that needs to be recalibrated. Sadly, nobody got time.
By S N via FB