Raising a Child is a Community Effort

By Dennis Mungai

Gone are the days where a child would be punished by the neighbor when discovered doing something wrong. The neighbor would punish the child then go and report the matter to the child’s parent, who would then rain more punishment on the child. Statements such as mtoto analelewa na jamii would be heard almost on every occasion. One would not have to be directly related to the child to instill some discipline on them, whether by words of advice or taking drastic action such as the example given above.

Fast forward to 2024. Dare touch someone’s child in the name of “teaching them a lesson.” You would probably find yourself in the court of law charged with physical assault of a child. The child’s parents would probably cut ties with you, in the name of jealousy or envy, otherwise why would you just find their child on the street and start advising or punishing them?  “ulimguza kama nani? ” they might ask.

The situation has been made worse by the increasing rate of single mothers in the country. Many of the women with children today have opted to raise them on their own, or in other situations, the fathers have neglected their duties, leaving the women all on their own. Speaking of which, where are the men? Like generally men are nowhere to be seen in any forums; gatherings, harambees, churches, schools, in their families. They seem to be missing in almost every sector. Topic for another day.

It is not far-fetched to say we need to go back to the days of old, where a child was raised by the community. Even before that however, the basic nuclear family needs to be complete before going into the society. Single motherhood has is becoming normalized in today’s society. Glorified, even. Ladies on social media, especially the socialities or celebrities are posting on a regular basis their milestones in terms of raising their kids by themselves.

They are making it look like a fancy or cool idea, to bear the responsibility of parenthood all alone. It calls for accountability, not only on the absent or “deadbeat” dads but also the mothers as well. This social media presentation is making the younger generations even decide to avoid marriage in its entirety. One may have heard statements such as ” I’m only interested in having a kid but not getting married.” Such ideas stem from what is posted online, the debates and discussions people have on a regular basis.

These same “big names” need to be at the forefront and leading by example in their life choices. Choosing the right partner is the first step. Proper background check needs to be done. Get to actually know this person. Meeting them in a bar and getting pregnant by them after only a month isn’t “knowing” them enough. Promoting healthy relationships and responsible parenting with both parties involved is just the start to our way back to a safe, secure and prosperous nation. As they say, if you want to know the success of a society, look at how it treats its children.

2 thoughts on “Raising a Child is a Community Effort”

  1. The article is a good read. The author boldly addresses this controversial topic, which is almost unheard of in this day and age. However, I would encourage him to use more statistics and facts, for example, that there has been a significant increase in the number of single mothers from X to Y% between the years 2010 and 2017, as was reported in ABCD Newspaper. This would make his article more credible.

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