Jimmy lived with his parents in Mwanza before he ran away. He was an unhappy child because his father would severely beat him, even for the smallest mistake. He was often very scared and decided to run away. Jimmy ended up in Geita and would wander the streets.
When Baba Jimmy realised his 10-year-old son had run away, he reported the matter to the police.
In Geita, Jimmy met Anna, a lady who works to help children living on the streets find shelter. She was sad that Jimmy was not ready to go back home and that he would rather live on the street than return home to his father’s merciless beatings.
She decided to trace Jimmy’s parents and it was easy due to the missing child report Baba Jimmy had made.
Anna had a chat with Baba Jimmy and he was open that he beats his son whenever he disobeys. Anna returned to Geita to convince Jimmy to go back home but he completely refused. They contacted 116 for advice and our counselor first talked to Baba Jimmy about beating his son whenever he makes a mistake. Instead, she advised him to talk to Jimmy and explain the mistake, and give him an alternative punishment once Jimmy understood exactly why what he had done was wrong.
Baba Jimmy agreed and our counselor then talked to Jimmy and he finally agreed to return home. Jimmy is now back home with his family, and last we checked, he was happy.
Parents often resort to beating children for misbehaving. This isn’t the right way because often parents just beat children in anger, which may soothe the anger but only teaches children that they should never ‘get caught’ misbehaving and all will be well. Instead, explain to your child why it’s wrong to do what he/she did from a very early age and set standards for their future behavior even when you are not nearby. It is easier for a child to avoid repeating a mistake when s/he is aware of the consequences not only to them but to other people.
*Names have been changed to protect children and their families’ identities.
For comments and / or inquires please call 116 National Child Helpline. This is a toll free service available across all networks in Tanzania Mainland and Zanzibar. Facebook: Sema Tanzania; Twitter: @SemaTanzania or visit our website: www.sematanzania.org