By Adeparua Damilola
In my precious write up, the piece centered on ways by which the youths contribute to the societal unrest such as getting themselves involved in banditry, kidnapping, cultism, internet fraud and such like. Nevertheless, it will not be irrelevant to ascribe the youths’ misbehavior to the failure of the parents in nurturing and directing their steps towards the right path.
The parents are laden with the responsibility of making the children responsible, well-mannered and well-behaved citizens of the country, but what happens when they default in their responsibilities to the children? “Charity begins at home”. Some parents do not just default in their responsibility, they also instill bad habits into the children these days.
As it is said that “appearance shows the manner”, some parents are now found in the habit of dressing their little kids like an adult all in the name of birthday “photo shoot”. They don’t just dress the children up in body revealing clothes, they also paint their faces, making them look like prostitutes and this explains the exact reason there are many youths out there who wear body exposing or revealing clothes on the street, institutions, even in religious gatherings due to the fact that they were raised in such a way that they believe it is the normal way of dressing because it is what the parents taught them right from childhood and they in effect believe it is an acceptable norm in the society.
Also, some parents have thrown caution to the wind as they are not showing concern about what their children are watching on the internet and televisions. There are some movies which are X-rated but watched by little children of about the age range of 4-10. Even on the internet, there are so many deprivable sites which are not suitable for little children. There’s nothing bad in giving the children phones to browse through the internet for plays, songs and other academic or educational videos that will aid their learning but then, care should be taken and the phones monitored in order to know the sites these computer age children are surfing through because some children are now fond of watching pornographic music, pictures and movies on the internet. In those days, when movies are X-rated, parents commanded the little ones to vamoose or switch off the television because such movies can make the little ones morally bad and most of the movies produced these days are X-rated, too unsuitable for the young ones because whatever they see on TV, they believe there’s nothing wrong in practicing such but it is disappointing to know that parents no longer stop or prevent their little ones from watching this kind of movies which makes it less surprising to see the rate at which there is increase in rape and prostitution among the youths of nowadays.
Furthermore, parental negligence also contributes to the actions displayed by some youths. I once came across a young boy of about 5 or 6 years who looked so lost, dirty, unkempt and hungry on the street, he sat at a corner in an isolated building. I was moved to tears when a neighbor told me that the little boy’s parents were divorced. He was living with his father before he packed his belongings to his house, leaving only the little boy all alone in the rented apartment with not even a mat to sleep on, talk less of making provision for the feeding or education! That is the exact thing going on in our society today. Parents do not just divorce, they also leave the children to their fate.
What kind of citizen will this little child become in later years? “An hungry man is an angry man” these are the kind of youths who steal in order to feed themselves and if fortunate to get married, may likely believe that children are meant to fend for themselves. This level of parental negligence is just too heartbreaking. Some parents who do not neglect their children, support them in their wrong actions. It is said that ‘”spare the rod and spoil the child”, that only relates to the olden days because some parents do not just spare the rod, they break it, and throw it away. They also do not just spoil the children, they ruin their lives and whoever tries to correct or chastise their children, they see them as enemies. There was a particular case of a boy of 17 years who took some boys of 14 years to the riverbank, put three of them on canoe, conveyed them to the other side of the river and told the other children who refused to board the canoe for fear of falling into the water that the ones he conveyed got drowned on the way. He showed them their clothes and told them not to tell anyone about what happened so that they also will not die. It was after three weeks people got to know that the mother of the 17 years old was the one who told him to take the little boys to his concubine on the other side of the river for rituals. This and many other terrible deeds are what some parents are inculcating in the children of nowadays. Some of these parents are only interested in seeing their children bringing home money, riding exotic cars and building gigantic houses not minding where they are getting the money from.
In addition, children are indeed gifts from God but then, in our nation where there is little or no money, where the rate of unemployment is alarming, where a family of 3 or 4 hardly secures their 3 square meals per day, what is the joy in bringing forth countless numbers of children one cannot cater for? Some parents are still found in the habit of giving birth to 10 or more children when they are underemployed, unable to care for themselves, and talk less of the children. There is nothing wrong in having many children if one is capable of taking good care of them but then, in a situation whereby the parents are quite incapable, why should one have numerous children. A child not well catered for will be hungry, unhappy, feel inferior and in turn become aggressive seeing other children of his/her age who are well catered for. In some cases, after giving birth to these children, the parents shy away from their responsibilities due to their incapability, leaving the poor ones to their fate. It is whatever parents instill in their children that they in turn give back to society.
For the record, parents also make the mistake of gender discrimination in the upbringing of their children. Some parents believe that the female gender is expected to do every house chores while excluding the male counterpart. There is nothing wrong in ordering the boys to sweep, wash plates and tidy up the room. It will even make them independent because these days, women are no longer limited to the kitchen. We have seen women who are pilots, doctors, lecturers, drivers and so on. Limiting the female gender to such chores only instigates gender related violence later in life because there’s no way someone who has been exposed to the wrong belief that it is only women who do house chores will not feel superior over the other counterpart later in life. Also, parents who fight and exchange blows in the presence of their children, do not only create psychological problems for the young ones, they may tend to engage in such too when they get married, having little or no tolerance for the female counterpart or male counterparts as the case may be and this contributes to the increase in marital violence these days.
Our society was not as bad as this in the olden days because parents were up and doing in matters regarding training of their children and even elders who are around in the absence of the parents do not hesitate to correct any erring child but our society has now deviated from how things used to be as parents no longer monitor and cater for the children. This laxity on their part has moved our nation from bad to worse and if care is not taken, if steps are not retraced, the nation will continually get worse because the family is the foundation and training ground for the child. Whatever a child learns from home, he or she takes to the society but unfortunately what the child meets out there also is unencouraging which brings in the issue of Governmental incompetence.
Even though the parent’s laxity contributes a clunky part in the depravity of the youths nowadays, the level of incompetence of the government too cannot go unmentioned and this is responsible for the anxiety and restlessness of the citizens both in the country and in diaspora. This, I will be expatiating on in the Part 2 of this piece titled “Parental Failure Versus Governmental Incompetence”.
Adeparua Damilola can be reached via: [email protected]
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