I once had a party at my house and my friend’s son was being disruptive to other kids and they kept coming to report his behaviour; my friend just sat there and did nothing. The other kids’ happiness was being compromised by this boy. It was my house and I invited people over and had to be in charge. I called my friend aside and went for it: “Sana awukwazi kuqeqesha nqanda umntwana wakho”. (My friend you can’t discipline, please stop your child from misbehaving). Of course this was a bit too direct. Fortunately, things did not get out of hand because she is someone close to me and knows I prefer straight talk.
She did get defensive, but I told her how I felt that it was my place to intervene, as it is my house. We even touched on it at a later stage; she admitted to me that she needs to watch her son’s behaviour because most of the mothers who were at the party left mentioning that there was no way they could have that boy in their house – no more invites for the poor boy.
Parents, in your houses, your rules need to apply. Yes, going for the firm and constructive tone to reprimand the child is the best way, but the parent of the unruly child also needs to know that you are not happy. Children don’t jump on the couch PERIOD!
I have noticed that other parents said nothing. This is an evident shift from how things were done in the olden days where parenting in the African culture was a collaborative effort with any elderly person having a right to discipline any child if they were naughty. Of course, nowadays this is something which could land people in courts for abuse. I have to admit though that I would also not take kindly to someone else giving my child a hiding – you report my child to me and I will do something about the misbehaviour but that is another topic. I don’t just stand there and do nothing when he is out of line.
What really amazes me, is parents who stand there and do nothing when things are getting out of hand. “Ndiyamnqanda, ndimbethe kodwa akeva”, (I reprimand him and also give hidings but he does not listen), is a common statement from most parents, but I do not buy it: perhaps you’re not trying hard enough. In that case try harder. We need to take a stand and play the role of parents. I am not raising a saint, nor am I a perfect mother but we need to take control.
Do you let your friends know when their kids are out of line?
Read more by Masanda Peter
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