The ‘Ukona Kiherehere’ Effect – Part 2

How to Avoid the ‘Ukona Kiherehere Effect as Parents and as Educators

During our first article, we explored the “Ukona kiherehere” effect and how we might be unknowingly shutting down children who have great potential by pointing out their enthusiasm as a negative trait. On today’s post, we will be exploring how parents and educators can ensure that their children do not go through this phenomenon and how their enthusiasm and confidence can be honed as a tool to position them for success in the future.


Here are some tips that you can follow to ensure that you do not cause the “Ukona kiherehere effect on your child.”

1.Make time

Even if you are busy, try and make some few minutes when your child is sharing a new thing that they have learnt with you and make sure that you give them your full attention.

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Call out or caution family members and friends against using phrases such as “Si ukona kiherehere” or “unaongea sana” on your children.

3. Be intentional

Especially about their learning and always follow-up on your child’s teachers to ensure that you can comprehensively know your child’s personality. Teachers spend a great deal of time with students and can be very helpful.

4. Observe

Notice any changes in character and energy in your children and try to get to the root cause of it. A normally enthusiastic child can start getting more reserved due to bullying and other forms of harassment. Once they confide in you, make sure to show them you believe them.

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5. Encourage

Motivate your child to ask questions and ask for their opinions on some matters, for example, what to have for dinner and when you do not necessarily go with what they propose, always try and explain why in a calm and kind manner.



If you see the student who often raises their hand do so but you want to give other people a chance, acknowledge the student and let them know that you will get back to them.

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2. Avoid accusive statements

The use of statements such as “ you speak too much”, “you are not the only one who knows”, “you are nagging” in your classroom environment.

3. Encourage

Encourage students to ask questions and be willing to say you do not know if you are unsure of a response instead of ignoring the students.

These points are not exhaustive so please share some more with us in the comment section.

Remember, in today’s job market one of the most sort after transferable skills are confidence, leadership, and willingness to learn. Although these traits can be taught on the job or learned through coaching, for many people they are tendencies that come up a bit more naturally especially when young and when nurtured, can fully manifest in adulthood. Children have this curiosity and interest to learn about everything and once they do, they are usually excited to share this with their parents or other figures of authority. Honing this habit is what builds up to them being confident and having an aptitude to learn even as they grow older.

We also hope that this article has been helpful and you can share your key takeaways with us in the comments.

Written by,

Mary Wamaitha

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