While hanging out at a famous bar in Kisaasi, a Kampala suburb on Friday 02nd December, Patience Namulidwa a mother of one witnessed a very unsettling situation.
Namulidwa shares that at around 11pm, while relaxing at the bar enjoying her cold swallow of Bell beer with her colleagues, a group of six young girls who looked like minors walked into the bar skimpily dressed, with wigs on to disguise their ages.
According to Namulidwa, these young girls who looked like they had escaped from home had come to surprise one of their friend’s boyfriend for his party.
“I eavesdropped on their conversation and realized that they were there for a boyfriend’s birthday. One of them ordered the drinks as they waited for the birthday boy and they drank like there was no tomorrow. My heart ached for my little daughter whom I could picture in their eyes,” said Namulindwa.
She also reveals that once the birthday boy arrived, he looked out of place as his body language evidently communicated discomfort. Namulindwa took the opportunity to pull him aside and have a talk with him.
When Namulindwa started probing him, the young man confessed that he was a Boda Boda rider whom the family of the girlfriend uses to do their errands, takes her and picks her from school.
This got me wondering about how much our kids are in danger and what we, as parents, can do to protect them from the danger lurking around the corner.
How can one as parent avoid and control such happenings:
- Startup projects that keep them busy, like agriculture and let them participate fully in the projects, where they are not left idle and without a lot of free time to waste away.
- Encourage them to own their own small projects which they can supervise and monitor.
- When given a challenge and an assignment, pay them at the same rate with the other workers; don’t take their services for free and granted.
- Leave them in charge of some small projects and let them take notes and records to report back on what is working and failing, challenge them to find solutions to those problems.
- Send your maids for holidays too, and let the children do the house chores and reward them with some incentives, alternatively pay them that same salary the maid was getting.
- If one chooses to keep the maid then divide up the duties, such that they participate fully and don’t leave everything to the maid.
- Those of legal age, buy them drinks and encourage them to have them from home, allow them to have one drink or two but not on a daily basis. This will limit chances of them escaping from home and going out to bars.
- Parents should limit children’s contact with service providers such as Boda Boda errand guys, construction workers among others. Choose to run errands yourselves if you can and have an elder around to watch the kids.
As working Parents there is a tendency to get buried in work and forget about the upbringing of these children, it is never just about providing financial support but we need all round up right children too.
There is a need to guide them in the right direction, to do so one needs to dedicate enough time with the children and above all make them your friends but draw a line between parent and child to avoid a lot of familiarity.