Gashumba and daughter controversy, a reflection of family breakdown and parenting crisis in Uganda!

Frank Gashumba and his daughter Sheila Gashumba (PHOTO/Courtesy).

Frank Gashumba and his daughter Sheila Gashumba (PHOTO/Courtesy).

There has been a trending audio in which socialite Frank Gashumba raised complaints regarding her daughter Sheila’s conduct.

Whereas this may sound a small issue, the future of any society depends on how it nurtures its children. Without children, the future of any society is doomed! The attention that a society puts on its children can either ruin or guarantee it’s future!

For the children to attain the desired future, they must be prepared through parenting.

Unfortunately, as Ugandan society transforms from a traditional society to a modern society, the role of parenting has been abandoned by parents! The role of religious institutions, immediate & extended family and community in parenting has been left to Television, smart phones, schools, kindergartens and maids!

In elite families where both parents work, children join day care at 6 months where they are fed on powdered milk, by 3 years they join kindergarten and by primary one they join boarding school and stay away from their parents for the rest of their lives hence missing an opportunity to learn from their parents about their culture, values, language among others.

When these children join boarding, they interact with matrons/patrons, teachers and staff most times who have no skills or experience in parenting. Some times these are paid poorly paid not motivated and handle many children beyond their capacity.

Therefore, the children are not taught any skills, including personal care because even their beddings are washed by machines. They meet their parents for a few hours on visitation days where they are being questioned about poor performance!

For the expensive schools, children are exposed to weekly outings, watching movies, swimming, partying where they invite the likes of Winnie Nwagi and Sheebah etc, to these children life is about enjoying! Things get worse when the schools help them to cheat exams because parents need first grades, and virtually children don’t know the value of hard work, they know that everything will find them on table!

A few holidays that the children get, they are either confined in their fenced homes as prisoners, they don’t interact with neighbors or relatives, their life is about books and luxuries, or at worst escaping to do some clubbing. In upper classes, children start studying during holidays hence becoming permanent residents of school. Life remains like that until they join University; here they are in charge of their lives, there is no school authority to control them, they are like prisoners who have broken a prison and want to enjoy all that they missed; unfortunately they haven’t been taught about working hard, they don’t know the value of money because they have never made money on their own, and sadly they are going to spend all their University years being taught theories without practical!

At Universities they either give in sex for marks to lecturers or hire other students to do coursework for them, upon finishing school their parents are connected and get them jobs, but what kind of output do you expect from such people?

I worked in some school as an administrator and majority of the students who had unwanted behaviors had parents who weren’t staying together either as a result of the nature of jobs or family break down. A child misses a lot when she/he misses one of the parents because people have different parenting styles, it becomes worse when children are left in hands of people who are not mindful of their future!

Teachers are not trained to be parents, maids, security, matrons etc. are not interested in your child’s future, they have their own problems to deal with, why do you think they will prioritize your child?

To make matters worse, some parents, especially women stop their children from doing any domestic work like cooking, washing clothes, cleaning the home etc., and leave it to the maids. When these children finish school and they can hardly find any job, they resort for kyeyo where they have to do the odd jobs they once despised.

To you dear parents, you want to work and gather as much money as possible, but who will inherit the money & wealth that he or she doesn’t know how to make? You abandon the children because you are working for them, they mess up your wealth because you never trained them, what do you gain by saving for your children and lose them in the process? Parents, take your parental responsibilities!

The author, George Muhimbise, is a social and political commentator, 0787836515, muhimbiseg@gmail.com

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