Kenya: Surge in Crime, Other Vices Linked to Fatherhood Crisis

opinion

Stories abound of deadbeat fathers in the country. Cases of absentee fathers have become so common that some FM radio stations have dedicated substantial amounts of their airtime to help abandoned mothers and children get justice.

On these programmes, such men are hunted down on phone and asked to take up their parental responsibilities. Shameful as it may be, some have changed their ways and returned home, as others commit to pay upkeep.

Others have become bitter and even more irresponsible after being exposed on national radio. But what these men forget is that their absence in their children's lives could have adverse effects on the minors.

Research in psychology shows that a girl who grows up without a good father figure in her life is likely to develop 'daddy issues' later in her life. Such issues cause her to establish unhealthy relationships with boys and men, which result in problems such as early pregnancies, early marriages and sexually transmitted diseases.

A boy who grows up without a father harbours feelings of resentment, anger and guilt. Due to the absence of a good male role model in his life, research shows, such a boy is likely to fall victim to his emotions and start acting out.

In schools, some of these boys have anger issues while in the society, they have a tendency to engage in crime.

Take the example of the young man who recently confessed to kidnapping and killing 13 children. His parents separated before he was born and only met his father, for the first time, when he was 18.

While his character could be due to other factors, I believe things could have been different had his father played a more active role in the boy's upbringing.

It should be noted that not all boys and girls brought up by single mothers fall in this category, as we have witnessed the many success stories.

But I just keep thinking the situation in our nation could have been different had all the absentee fathers taken up their responsibilities.

If fathers and father figures had taken their time to mentor their sons and daughters, maybe we wouldn't have 328,000 teenage pregnancies in the past 15 months.

The suspected serial killer represents a generation of ill-mannered youth acting out by engaging crime, drug and substance abuse, rape, violence and even murder.

The current generation needs someone to shape it, and all parents and guardians should take their roles more seriously.

I acknowledge the Bonga Initiative that is encouraging people, including parents and their children, to open up and have honest discussions about life.

Omosa, 20, is a student at Alupe University College.

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