Mommy Musings

Thin line between loving your child and raising a brat.

February 15, 2016

I have a friend I have known for over 10 years. The second time we met, I was waiting for my cousin outside the Kenchic on University Way and she spotted me leaning on the wall right next to the entrance, devouring a Kebab. It was Friday evening, precisely 5.00pm. She was on her way to visit her boyfriend in Kabete Campus where she would spend the weekend. She came over to me, hugs and kisses were exchanged and she immediately cancelled her trip. Note, this was our second encounter, the first being in 2000 when I had visited my cousin during school holidays. They were roommates and bossom buddies, and they showed me how to paint the town red then. I wanted to be them. I needed to pass my exams so badly so that I can have my own cubicle in “box”, cook my meals in tiny sufurias and laugh the night away with friends as we talked about anything but books. Back then, phones were a luxury only a few could afford and so we communicated through letters sent through the post office. In our last communication, we agreed that I board the 1.30pm mololine matatu from Nakuru (shuttles were not there then). It would take 3 hours to get to Nairobi given the terrible state of the road. My cousin was to meet me at the bus stop at 4.30pm. Her friend, let’s call her Wamz, said that there was no telling how long my cousin would take as they had exams. So she left a note for her with the cashier at Kenchic, a fat middle aged man in a blue shirt with the tag “Kenchic” on the left breast pocket, who was more than happy to receive the note. He seemed to know Wamz well, and my cousin too, as Wamz did not have to describe my cousin. They must be regulars at this joint, I thought to myself. I did not understand how they could afford the 50 bob kebab on the regular though! But maybe they were not kebab fans as much I was. Fries were 30 Bob, quite fair for students.

Fast forward to 2008. I did get my own cubicle alright, first in hall four, then hall six, then the last two years in Chiromo. My friend Wamz graduated, got a job and a baby boy too. This story is really not about my life in campus, sorry to disappoint you hehe. It’s about raising a disciplined child.

Meet 7 year old Brian (not real name), Wamz son. Not your typical seven year old. He once came over to my house and found thehubs having drinks with his friends. He sat with them, with his glass of juice in one hand, and his tablet for playing games in the other, explaining to them how it works. They had all sorts of intriguing conversations, from soccer, to rugby, to golf and politics and he had something to say abouth each of the subjects. He took the last sip of his juice, stood up to take the glass to the kitchen and offered to get someone to refill one of the guy’s drink, and cleared one of the glasses that sat idle on the stool. My daughter was asleep then, and when she woke up, they played with puzzles and blocks. It was nothing like the usual screaming and breaking of stuff that I am used to when my daughter’s friends and cousins come over. After about an hour, it was time for dinner. They tidied up and when they went to her room and found it in a mess, with toys all over, I overheard him tell her “You need to keep your room in order. Let me help you.” He shocks me by the day.

His mom started disciplining him when he turned two. She would literally throw him in the dark room when he did wrong and after minutes of crying, he would ask to come out, apologise and they would hug. She never let any wrong go unpunished. And when he did good, she showed him love and admiration with the same tenacity as she would punish him when he did wrong. Whenever they were in the supermarket and he asked for stuff that the mom felt he shouldn’t have, she would explain to him why it was not possible and he would say “It’s ok, I understand.” When he goes for parties, he always asks for permission before he can have soda or eat cake. Or other sweet things for that matter. He has some allergies hence the reason his mom has to monitor such.

I have tried enforcing discipline in my three year old daughter. I have implemented the exact tactics used by Wamz on her son, but boy isn’t it a struggle. She tries to behave herself, but half the time she drives me crazy! She tests my patience, and plays mind games with me. Which means she totally understands right from wrong, but choses to be a rascal more often than not.

My analysis of the two scenarios boils down to one thing. Concerted effort in disciplining one’s child. See Wamz has been a single mother all along. Her word is final and Brian takes it with all the seriousness it deserves. Because he doesn’t know otherwise. There is no one to water down any efforts that the mom puts in place to ensure that he is well behaved. In my case, my daughter can get away with murder, as long as the dad is the judge. She has him wrapped around her little finger. Sometimes I get mad and tell her that the world doesn’t revolve around her, but I know the dad probably says in his heart “mine does”.

Dear dads our there. We know you love your kids to death. So do we, but we do not want to raise brats. So let’s discipline them together. Let’s punish them when they go wrong, and never forget to complement them when they do good. Let’s have one voice when it comes to disciplining our children.

Sincerely, all mothers out there.

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Photo credit: Thanabster

Joy Dsouza.


Tom Mutua

Its a nice read, but misplaced all together. Parenting is for both parents. Single parent or not, both should play a role. My advise, attend a parenting class by Navigators (its cheap and affordable). Then let us have a conversation after. All the best.


    Thank you for your comment Tom. However, I dont get how this is misplaced as I clearly stated that both parents need to be on the same page with regards to raising their kids. So please let me know what you mean by misplaced. Thanks for reading.


I love this article. I think getting the whole team on board on the proper discipline of a child is very important. I must confess that at times I gravitate along the two extremes especially because my daughter is the master at mind games and cajoling. Great example and hope my efforts henceforth will bear fruits in the long run.


Disciplining a child is a combined effort. Both parents should agree on discipline and one parent’s word should be the other’s word. So the baby knows that if mummy says this daddy will not say otherwise.


Nice piece here. I am not a mother yet but when I do I would like my kids to grow up the right way with discipline being key. Especially the boys. I always feel so nice meeting little boys who are well behaved,who don’t break everything they touch and who arrange and leave things in order.


    Tell me about it. I shudder at the thought of being one of those parents whose kids are uncontrollable. Those that you want to think twice before inviting to your party hehe. Mine is far far from there but still,I guess that’s one of my biggest phobias, second to snakes 🙂 Thanks Joan


I love this piece. Totally agree on the discipline bit but wueeee these little humans can reaally test your patience. I always pray that i get it right not just for me but mostly for them and their later years.And yeahhh, my biggest obstacle right now is daddy!!!! To think that i am the one that carried the babies for nine months (its actually 10) so i should be the softer one….


    I actually think it’s because we carried them for 10 months that we cannot allow them to turn our badly. Because you know how emotionally and physically straining pregnancy can be and those first few months of nurturing them, so you cannot afford to watch them turn into imps!Thanks Eva for reading,we are in this together!


I am a Kenyan living abroad, my son is 14 and I can tell you that raising a child born here and one who only knows this European life is difficult, here’s why:

1. We are not allowed to smack our own children,against the law.
2.They are told at school they can call and they are given the phone number to Childline,a well known children’s charity here.
3.They are encouraged to speak their minds about anything and everything.

As a single mother I can tell you testing my patience is not what I’d call it, a daily fight is more like it!! I have found myself saying to my dear son “if we were in Kenya I would smack you right now”! When we are in public, I use the other common line, “I wish you could understand Swahili”!! Then I end up speaking in Swahili anyway because I am so angry!!

What do I do…………?

A stressed out Kenyan mum


    DFACs will not take your child if you discipline them, they will only take them if you abuse them. I know of a mother who told her child to go ahead and call them and she will see if she likes living with other children and no mummy and daddy. Do not allow your kid to hold your hostage………punish them just don’t beat them…time out, withholding tv time, play time outside, internet etc work very well. All the best remember you are the parent and you pay the damn bills!!


    I feel your frustration ma but don’t let your son hold you hostage as Rossie rightfully put it. Be firm and embrace other disciplining methods that do not involve smacking. Time out, denying him his favourite play item, locking him in his room for a short while etc. Also speaking to him sometimes help. Let him know how disappointed he makes you when he breaks the rules.


Am not a mother yet but I feel you. But remember one thing, back then dads never used to discipline like moms did but with the change of generation I agree with you both parents should do it. I think You should try wamz trick with the little one once she turns 2. As for munchkin don’t forget she has been the only baby for for a while am sure she thinks she get away with everything. But let’s hope she gets better with time, you need to have a serious face lol on the other hand don’t forget how u were back in the days, u got punished but u still did those naughty things. I have the memories wamuhindi but let’s keep our fingers crossed I believe she will change. One of them has to have your characters but I still love my munchkin as naughty as she is ❤️❤️❤️.


    Btw my dad was the one who was totally merciless when it came to disciplining time. I remember when I was once told to go with my folks to school, I waited till the last day of my holiday for dad to go to work in the morning and thereafter informed mom that she was required in school! My mom tells me that Xena is a replica of myself and I should not wonder too much why she is a handful!So I hear you Lilian, I guess it’s payback time but nevertheless, I can’t watch her self destruct. I need her to fear me like I did my dad hehe.


Hahaa, I already feel you on the rascal’s antics. I always thought Wamz was a superwoman for having such a straight son! Maybe you should be scaring Xena with Aunty Wamz.


I admire Wamz… That must be so hard to do, but I believe that it is all but attainable.
Kids test limits just like we adults do. The easiest way is to discipline together as a couple, because having one disciplinarian in the house shall bring what we “kuruhanity” read be at logger heads and feelings of guilt.

And we love you too. #addictedtothisblog


    Yes exactly what I keep saying, couples need to have a united front. But some are just hopeless in disciplining which makes the other party’s job useless. Thanks for being here Jay from way back! We love you too!


Woow, I fall in the category of daily readers, always looking forward to the next new thing on the blog, its always so informative, we are 15 months and I have picked so many ideas from this blog. Thanks a lot for making it easier for us.

Rachel Ombaka

I thought terrible 2s ends after she turns 3 but looks like I am in for another roller coaster ride. I like the bit about concerted effort. I presume the saying Rome wasn’t built in a day would work here. She can really drive me up the wall this one and most of the times i shout so much my voice becomes hoarse. And ignoring their tantrums doesn’t work.Here’s to the challenge of raising her to be a little if not all like Brian*


    It gets worse as they grow older. They’ll move from throwing tantrums to simply defying rules and lying about stuff.And when they become teenagers, the war will be on a different level because then they will think they have a mind of their own and a right to do whatever they please. Hence the reason we should nip those horns at the bud. Before it’s too late.

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