Keeping Up with Boi: How Can Parents Discipline Their Children? Mama Majembe’s Story.

Animated African mom and kids

“Mama Boi! Kupotea nayo? Ata kutuma text pale WhatsApp surely!”, Mama Majembe jokingly asked as she sipped a hot cup of chamomile tea. 

“Aki sikupenda kwangu. Lately, I have been so busy taking care of my family and managing my kiosk. Imekuwa kidogo hectic! Nonetheless, I am grateful for both,” Mama Boi replied with a sigh. 

Mama Boi and her two friends, Mama Biko and Mama Majembe have been buddies since high school. They all got married around the same time and have been there for each other through the good and the bad. They are now raising their kids together. Their friendship has come a long way and it is only recently that they decided to start a chama. 

“Ah! Wewe ni mwanamke ngangari! Glad you’ve made it to today’s chama! It’s good seeing you here!”, Mama Majembe commended. 

“Asante sana! Nimefurahia kupatana!” Mama Boi confirmed with a wide smile on her face. 

“Alright, ladies! We are all here, let’s start the meeting. “Mama Biko, who appreciates order, politely asked. This explains why she’s the chairlady of the chama.  

“Last month, we were able to raise Kes. 3000! Tujipigie makofi!”  

“Arrriiirriiirii…”, the women rejoiced. 

“It’s now Mama Boi’s turn to take home the money! Excellent job, everyone for contributing faithfully!”, Mama Biko remarked. 

“On today’s agenda, ningependa kupropose that we open an account with a sacco to help us save and invest wisely.  Mnaonaje, akina mama wenzangu?”, Mama Biko asked. 

“That’s an innovative idea, Mama Biko!” Mama Boi responded enthusiastically! “I think I’d want to save my money with a sacco.” “That way, sitakuwa na easy access to it! Ama aje, Mama Majembe? “ 

“Mama Majembe…” 

No reply… 

“Mama Majembe…Mama Majembe, uko sawa? You seem distant.”, Mama Boi asked frantically. 

“Oh! Sorry, Mama Boi. Ulikuwa unasema?”, Mama Majembe replied as she cleared her throat. 

“Ngoja kwanza, you don’t seem okay. What’s wrong?”, Mama Boi insisted. 

“Just feeling a bit frustrated with my kids and myself. I yelled at them as I was preparing to leave the house and I can’t stop thinking about it. I feel terrible!”, Mama Majembe replied. She was trying hard to hold back tears, but her emotions had been bottled up for a while now. 

“They don’t listen to me when I tell them to do something. Even when I try to be nice, they still don’t listen. Ni juzi tu, I had to walk out of the house because I was angry, and I didn’t want to spank them,” Mama Majembe broke down. “My mum used to spank me a lot when I was a kid and I ended up fearing her most of the time. I really don’t want my kids to fear me, but I feel like I am losing patience. ““Am I a bad mum? “Ni fanye vipi?” Mama Majembe asked. 

“Mama Majembe….tulia. “, Mama Boi replied while rubbing her back.  

“These things happen. I am sorry about that experience. You’re still a good mum!,” Mama Boi tried to affirm her.  

“Sindio, Mama Biko? What advice would you give Mama Majembe?”, Mama Boi asked. 

“You’re a good mum. Always have been. It is a good thing that you are trying to be patient with your kids. It is not always easy, so don’t be hard on yourself! “, Mama Biko replied. 

“I was listening to a conversation on YouTube among three mums about disciplining children, “Mama Biko added. “And I agree with their ways of discipline since I practice them as well. What sparked my interest was that the mums have children of different ages, ranging from 16 months to 10 years. My boys also fit in that age range.,” Mama Biko commented. 

“Let me share with you my key take aways from that conversation: 

  1. Learning from mistakes – including your own. This is what we are doing right now; thinking about what we could have done differently and try to do it next time. 
  1. Keep Calm. Next time, try to teach akina Majembe right from wrong with calm words and actions. It is easier for them to listen to you when you are calm. And if you are too upset, you can take some time out to cool down before you settle the matter with them. Isn’t that a behavior you would like to see in Majembe, Maria and Stella? 
  1. Set limits. Have clear and consistent rules Majembe, Maria and Stella can follow. I try as much as possible to keep my word. That way, my boys know that mummy is serious about rules. Since Majembe is 4 years old and your twins are 10 years old, you could try communicating with them in a way they would understand.  
  1. Hold them accountable. It is not as easy as I had imagined it would be, but I must keep at it since my boys can be naughty at times. So, I try to be calm as I firmly explain the out-comes of misbehavior. For example, I tell Biko that if he does not clean up after playtime, I will confiscate some of his toys. I never take away something Biko truly needs, you know, such as a meal, a hug or spending time together. He loves hugs and pilau! Get my point? 
  1. Time-out. Biko is 9 years old, Kibaki is 6 and Nolan is 4. Time-out durations vary depending on their age. This is how I do it: With Nolan, I give him 4-5 minutes whereas Biko and Kibaki get to lead their own time-out since they are a bit older and understand their actions. I tell them, “Go do time out and come back mkiwa ready to be good boys. This strategy has worked for me, and I noticed my boys are learning how to manage themselves better. “ 

“Those were some of the points that stood out for me! And having implemented them, so far, we are doing okay. I hope I’ve helped,” said Mama Biko. 

“You have, Mama Biko. Thank you, ladies, for hearing me out. I feel much better and now I can go back home ready to try and make things work out with my kids!” Mama Majembe happily responded. 

“Hahaha! That is great! And we are here for you, Mama Majembe, always…,” Mama Boi commented.  

“You could also watch Esme and Roy with akina Majembe on Akili Kids! TV. I recommend the show because of the character, Esme. She is a monster sitter (like a babysitter but for cute little monsters 😊) and her way of caring for the little monsters, especially when they are throwing tantrums is super thoughtful, kind and firm. Ha! Mimi hucopy Esme’s tricks when my litu Keni and Sydo are having meltdowns. And it works. “, Mama Boi advised. 

Esme And Roy

“Really, let me go watch it with my kids! Asanteni sana for the advice, I honestly feel better as a parent. Msiworry, my children and I will be fine!,” Mama Majembe confidently said. 

“Hapo sawa!,” said Mama Boi and Mama Biko. 

“Woi! It’s 6pm. Ebu tumalize chama and go home to our families!”, Mama Biko remarked.  

“Yes, yes…tumalize,” they all agreed. 

Which tip on disciplining your children did you find most helpful? Let us know in the comment section.  

Interested in reading more stories on Keeping Up with Boi? Start Here.