For those of you expressing anger, shock and disbelief from the #ifikiewazazi exposé on Twitter, I would like to warmly welcome you back to Kenya. It appears to me you have be away for too long.

I hope when you left you never denounced your citizenship; otherwise, it will be useless for me to welcome you back!

First, let me start for saying an obviously ugly fact: if you thought #ifikiewazazi exposes the rot in our children, you are wrong. It is only be a small tip of the iceberg!

Our psychosocial support work with teens in high schools have taught us many things about the challenges of growing up in our present day society. As we rush to demonize those kids, yes, I call them ‘kids’, let us also do some reflecting as parents.

Majority of the children in high schools are telling us that the biggest challenge of growing up is not schools fees, shoes, or fancy clothes. It is unfortunately, absentee parents!

As parents, we are absent physically, emotionally and spiritually. This is the root cause of all the problems with our children today.

Most parents think that paying school fees, buying smartphones, and ‘handkerchief’ and trouser torn on all the wrong places in the names of clothes is what the kids prioritize. They are wrong.

What they want is your attention. They want parenting, just as our parents did with us. They want parental love and parental guidance.

Please do not jump into blaming me for supporting the kids. I have spent enough time listening to their psychological and emotional problems and it has been heartbreaking to say the least!

They have told me, and our team of psychologists what they have always wanted to tell you as their parent but you are never present in their lives.

When you started ‘M-parenting’ with Mpesa, SMS and emails from you mobile phone, your child also found himself/herself an ‘I-parent’ in the internet from the smartphone you bought them.

Today, the kids go online to learn how to navigate life ‘without’ parents. In the process, they go to all the wrong places online and that is how #ifikiewazazi was born, a few years back not this week!

Have you asked yourself why these kids have come out fighting and don’t give a damn about the expose’? They are just wondering, you want the image ifikie mzazi gani?! The M-parent of I-parent? Both of them do not give a f****, if I can borrow from their vocabulary!

Now you know why I will not be sharing those images on twitter because it is futile to do so. Secondly, these are minors who have no idea what negative impact those images will have on their future.

Paying school fee is not equivalent to raising children. Parents, including myself need to do more. We need to take all our parental responsibilities more seriously, and we know them. We learnt from our parents.

 PDO is running psychosocial support projects in prison and schools in Nakuru County.  admin@pdokenya.org

Absentee parents partly to blame for the rot in our children

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